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AMD and Microsoft Support Open Source on Azure

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I have been an ardent proponent of open-source software throughout my career and recently had the opportunity to present at Azure Open-Source Day 2022. This conference discussed the latest developments and capabilities of using Linux® on Azure® and included tips and best practices for getting the most from this combination. This was a great opportunity for me to showcase how the technical partnership between AMD and Microsoft helps the open-source community develop new technologies. AMD is deeply committed to supporting open-source development that continues to play a key role in shaping modern software systems across the entire stack from operating systems to applications.

Open-source code is licensed in a manner that frees users to use and/or modify that code, either alone or integrated into other products. This freedom promotes innovation by facilitating the open flow of individual and community-driven ideas that advance the state of the art. This is the exact opposite of proprietary licensing that restricts how users can access and employ a particular piece of software. In fact, the open-source community supports the proprietary software ecosystem because many businesses sell proprietary products and services that are built on top of open-source technologies. The open-source movement is one of the largest single reasons why modern software continues to push the envelope of what is possible.

AMD actively helps advance the state of the art by developing and implementing open standards and task-driven computing that help developers boost performance and help other teams conduct ongoing research and development into future relational databases, big data analytics, high performance computing, and more. From an AMD EPYC™ processor ecosystem perspective, our two largest areas of effort are operating system and compiler enablement.

On the operating system front, AMD collaborates with multiple OS developers and vendors to create open-source distros that support AMD EPYC processor features. We contribute dozens of features and patches to each new release of the Linux kernel and collaborate with multiple partners to back-port code into OS releases where needed. These features help ensure OS support for AMD EPYC processors while also helping boost performance. We have dedicated people constantly developing and merging code into ongoing Linux kernel updates that occur roughly every 10 weeks. These people are supported by individual and corporate partners who are making their own contributions to this ongoing effort.

AMD makes contributions to the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) and other open-source compilers that offer performance enhancements that improve application performance from version to version. We also add flags that allow the compiler to build for the specific processor installed in that machine. For example, the ‘zenvr3’ flag tells GCC to build for a system powered by a 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processor.

AMD continues to invest in open-source projects in areas including supercomputing, exascale, HPC, advanced memory technology, machine intelligence, and improved energy efficiency. Please visit the AMD Research page to learn more. And, of course, be sure to use the latest operating systems and patches to help ensure optimal support for systems powered by AMD EPYC processors.

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.