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AMD Business

2 Posts authored by: raghu.nambiar Employee

We just celebrated the one year anniversary of the introduction of the AMD EPYC processor. As exciting as it is to look back, in this industry we must continue to look forward.

The world is undergoing unprecedented change driven by technology advances that are connecting billions of people to the internet and to each other, creating enormous amounts of data in the process. These connections and data represent an opportunity for companies to improve their business, create new revenue streams, even invent whole new models to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

Whole industries are being transformed as state-of-the-art software running on innovative processors demonstrate both the collective and personalized power of analytics harnessing big data. Healthcare systems that leverage the totality of medical data for personalized diagnosis; recommendation systems for targeted marketing to better serve the customer; transportation systems that reduce traffic and improve routing are just a few examples. There are many more: education, smart cities, genomics, drug discovery, energy efficiency, safety, security, etc.

Many of these systems use services that are now easily accessible to anyone through cloud providers. These providers run huge storage and server farms all built on a foundation of massive compute power with the flexibility to handle a wide variety of workloads.

The revolutionary AMD EPYC processor has gained significant momentum in the industry this year. It is truly exciting to see it being adopted by major server vendors and cloud service providers. With its high core count, large memory capacity and memory bandwidth, and vast I/O density, AMD EPYC is helping customers meet their performance needs without breaking the bank. By offering a choice in x86 architecture, AMD EPYC provides the flexibility, performance and security for the evolving needs of modern data center applications translating directly to more performance per dollar.

Partnerships are critical to bringing the potential of EPYC to anyone who wants to leverage its unique blend of performance and features. Big Data Analytics (BDA) are now commonly used on-premise, in the cloud, and in hybrid environments. An integral part of BDA is the Hadoop ecosystem.  At AMD, we’ve been working diligently to expand our software ecosystem partnerships with the industry leaders in this space: Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR and Transwarp. Today, we are focusing on partnerships and reference designs, both single-socket and dual-socket, with these partners providing the flexibility, performance and scalability needed to meet the requirements of modern data processing.

The “no compromise” single-socket design ensures you are only paying for the processing power the application needs. Single-socket servers support all of the I/O and memory bandwidth available to a dual-socket server without the extra cost. The versatile dual-socket design offers the highest available AMD EPYC core density and memory capacity, enabling our highest performance. Comprehensive offers based on these reference designs will soon be available from our server partners.

The advent of big data has revolutionized analytics and data science by allowing enterprises to store, access and analyze massive amounts of data of almost any type from any source. The AMD EPYC processor family has arrived at the perfect time as the underlying hardware solution to provide the perfect mix of flexibility and scalability of resources. I look forward to continuing to work with our ecosystem partners to bring the AMD EPYC processors to their customers.

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There might not be a better example of a synergistic technology relationship than AMD and the Linux community. Back when AMD was the first to make the transition to a 64-bit instruction set architecture (ISA), Linux support was immediate and broad. The now widely known AMD64 architecture would not have taken off as quickly and as successfully if not for the groundswell of support from the Linux community.

 

When AMD delivered the truly innovative EPYC processor last year, the call went out yet again to the Linux community and they responded in kind. These high-performance CPUs have tremendous potential to reshape the landscape of the datacenter and the enterprise, as much or more than the AMD64 architecture. Setting aside the obvious need for choice in CPU suppliers and operating systems, AMD went the extra mile and delivered to Linux supporters something truly unique and perfectly suited for the modern datacenter. AMD built a specific set of security features directly into EPYC processors, and these features are now supported in Linux. Specifically designed to encrypt data in a virtualized environment, these features address a critical need for any company working with sensitive user data and/or considering moving their infrastructure to the cloud.

 

Secure Memory Encryption (SME) implements a simple and efficient method for main memory encryption that is flexible, integrated in the CPU architecture and does not require any modifications to the application software. By encrypting DRAM and non-volatile memory technologies, SME helps protect against physical access attacks like cold boot or platform reset, or even hardware probing.  SME can encrypt all memory when enabled directly in BIOS or can provide page-level control when enabled in the OS (Linux 4.14).

 

Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) integrates main memory encryption capabilities with the existing AMD-V virtualization architecture to support encrypted virtual machines. Encrypting virtual machines helps protect them from physical threats, other virtual machines and even the hypervisor itself.  SEV guest support is in Linux 4.15 and hypervisor support in 4.16.

AMD is committed to working with our Linux community partners to deliver innovative solutions that meet the needs of modern datacenters. The AMD Software Ecosystem and Alliances team has regular technical reviews with the Linux distribution providers to align our hardware roadmaps to their releases. As a result, support for SME is now available in Red Hat 7.5; SEV guest is available in Ubuntu 18.04. Watch this space closely as SEV host capable operating systems are expected to become available later this year.

 

Details of the EPYC line of processors and the highly differentiated value proposition they deliver have been well documented in our blogs, including earlier this month when AMD demonstrated the new Dell PowerEdge systems at Dell Technologies World.

 

For a more complete picture of the integrated security features built into AMD EPYC processors, including SME and SEV, please download the Pathfinder Research whitepaper.