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AMD EPYC™ Processors and VMware® Continue Delivering Performance, Security Features, and Value

raghu_nambiar
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2021 marks the seventh year of an epic journey that began with AMD architects and executives projecting the ongoing need for ever higher compute performance across diverse workloads and creating the AMD EPYC™ processor portfolio to address those needs. It also marks another year of our ongoing strategic partnership with VMware®. Our joint mission has been—and remains—to deliver the performance, security features, and value our customers need.

Apps are where businesses are adding value and building customer brand awareness, engagement, and loyalty... and the pace of application development is getting faster and faster. This rapid evolution requires businesses to adapt and scale their infrastructure on the fly. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is replacing legacy siloed equipment with standard servers that combine compute with storage and software-defined networking to support application development and deployment without many of the bottlenecks found in previous datacenter architectures. A common management product, such as VMware vCenter® further enhances flexibility by spanning on-premise and cloud-based resources.

Today’s customer needs performance, security, and value.

Let’s start with performance. VMware provides the free VMmark® benchmarking tool that measures the performance, scalability, and power consumption of virtualization platforms. The VMmark 3.x results for recently published VMware vSAN Storage and Top Overall Score demonstrate the powerful performance advantage of 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors over the competition. This advantage is a direct result of the collaboration between AMD and VMware. VMware vSphere® 7.0 U2 includes AMD EPYC CPU-specific optimizations that deliver near-optimal performance using out-of-the-box options and configurations. VMware tested performance in 7.0 U2 across multiple workloads with the scheduler-related optimizations turned on and off. This extensive evaluation shows that the vSphere 7.0 U2 CPU scheduler can deliver up to a 50% performance improvement compared to vSphere 7.0 U1 on AMD EPYC CPU-based platforms in certain instances.

AMD EPYC processors feature the Infinity Guard suite of hardware-based security features such as Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV), Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Enhanced State (SEV-ES), and Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Pages (SEV-SNP). AMD and VMware are working to ensure that the entire software stack can support confidential computing for enhanced security. vSphere 7.0 U1 added SEV support for virtual machines, and vSphere 7.0 U2 extends this support to containers. VMware Photon™ OS 3.0 and later include SEV-ES support out of the box. Going forward, security will remain top of mind for AMD and VMware alike. Attackers are not standing still, and neither are we.

Customers demand and deserve the highest value for their technology investments. Integrating SEV-ES support into vSphere 7.0 U1 and the performance-enhancing EPYC optimizations found in vSphere 7.0 U2 increases value to customers by enhancing security and boosting performance, respectively. The high core counts found in AMD EPYC processors drive further value by bringing single-socket systems to the forefront. 1st Gen AMD EPYC processors started the single socket revolution by providing up to 32 cores in a single socket. 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors boosted this to 64 cores and 128 threads with 128 PCIe® 4.0 lanes. Single-socket systems can offer significant TCO savings compared to dual-socket systems. That said, dual-socket systems do offer twice the memory capacity of single-socket systems, which can be useful for memory-intensive workloads.

It takes a village to raise a child and a robust ecosystem to successfully bring new technologies to market. The longstanding relationship between AMD and VMware yields ongoing innovations that are carefully tested and qualified to meet and beat the challenges posed by the next generation of workloads and customer needs. OEMs integrate VMware on EPYC CPU-based platforms into their marquee solutions, thereby enabling EPYC to dominate in a variety of market segments.

AMD collaborates with VMware to introduce industry leading features, jointly validate silicon and solutions, optimize for our joint customers, align with datacenter and cloud releases, and maintain a strong technical/business relationship to take this partnership to the next level. As a result, we have a strong track record for delivering on EPYC, with VMmark world records in several categories and a keen eye on what’s next in the minds of our customers. This ongoing collaboration between AMD and VMware will continue developing new ways to the deliver performance, security features, and value our customers need.

AMD is a proud sponsor of VMworld 2021, which runs October 5-7, 2021. Please register and join this online global experience. During the event, be sure to watch the “VMware and AMD: Solving Our Customers’ Most Challenging Problems [APP2907S]” panel discussion.

Raghu Nambiar is a Corporate Vice President of Data Center Ecosystems and Solutions for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

About the Author
Raghu Nambiar is the Corporate Vice President of Datacenter Ecosystems and Solutions at AMD. In this role, he leads engineering teams and their collaboration with ecosystem partners. Raghu has more than 20 years of technology industry experience across a number of engineering organizations. He was previously the CTO of the Cisco UCS business and played an instrumental role in accelerating the growth of the Cisco UCS to a top data center compute platform. He has spent his entire career working on software and hardware ecosystems for data centers, both on in research and business use cases.
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