AMD teaming up with ARM to offer new 64-bit processors

AMD CEO Rory Read
AMD CEO Rory Read fires up the crowd

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced Monday it will be partnering with ARM to develop 64-bit ARM processors for servers in order to meet the growing demand for high-paced data centers.

AMD's President and CEO Rory Read talked about the company's ambidextrous strategy during a San Francisco press conference, saying AMD will be the first company to offer both 64-bit ARM and x86 server processors.

The 64-bit ARM processors should begin to make their way into the marketplace in 2014, but the chips will have something a little extra.

Based on ARM architecture, AMD's chips will be of the Opteron line if server processors, combining the best of both companies.

Cloud is the 'killer'

AMD has traditionally made its bread offering x86 processors, but the company has struggled in that market lately.

It comes as no surprise that the company started to look to more cloud-based solutions for new business opportunities and growth.

"The cloud truly is the killer app that is unlocking the future," Read said at a San Francisco press conference.

"We're going to open up a next level of computing with ARM 64, transforming the server area into a whole new opportunity."

A 'historic day'

Read called it a "historic day" as he said the partnership will disrupt the status quo and drive the industry to where it needs to go.

He said the new product will inspire the competition to go into a new direction and give users an unprecedented amount of flexibility to tackle their server solutions.

Read celebrated the new partnership, calling it a a good match as both have innovation as part of the collective DNA.

Solving global issues

Lisa Su, AMD's senior vice president and general manager of global business units, talked about the challenges of the modern data center. She said these centers were being inundated with massive amounts of data.

"There has to be a way to do it more efficiently, in smaller space with less power at a better cost point," Su told the crowd.

"That is the problem we are trying to solve together as an industry and that is what we are trying to lead at AMD."

Since ARM is known for its low-energy processors, it's no surprise AMD sought it out as a partner.

A fabric for freedom

Su also said there is no longer a good "one size fits all" solution to answer the problems of modern servers.

Companies need to find the right solution to each workload, and it's for that reason AMD will continue to offer x86 support along with the new ARM 64-bit processors.

A main theme of the press conference was AMD's SeaMicro Freedom supercompute fabric. Earlier this year, AMD bought SeaMicro to acquire the "Freedome fabric" to knit its servers together.

The technology allows AMD to link together several low-power CPUs into a cluster, then link that cluster into a larger network.

The networking keeps a steadier flow of data to each CPU core. The fabric is the "secret sauce" that will give AMD the competitive edge, according to Su.

The new deal may be able to buoy the struggling AMD as last month its revenue fell 25 percent year over year. Last week, AMD announced it would be cutting 15 percent of its workforce.

Though the company announced the product and partnership Monday, the ARM 64-bit processors are still quite a ways away with a 2014 launch date.

We'll see if the coupling can help AMD keep afloat in the mercurial waters of the tech industry.