News & Insights for the AI Journey|Monday, December 16, 2019
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AMD Gains Design Win for Tencent Server 

Tencent, the Chinese cloud giant, said it would use AMD’s newest Epyc processor in its internally-designed server. The design win adds further momentum to AMD’s bid to erode rival Intel Corp.’s dominance of the global cloud and datacenter server markets.

The partners announced this week that Tencent Cloud’s new servers will implement AMD’s “Star Lake” platform based on the chip maker’s second-generation Epyc “Rome” processor.

The design win follows an announcement last week from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) that it is expanding its partnership with AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) with new Azure cloud instances based on Rome processors. Microsoft’s public cloud rivals, Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), also have announced support for AMD silicon based on its 7-nm process technology.

Tencent (OTCMKTS: TCEHY) is among a second tier of public cloud service providers that include IBM, Oracle and Salesforce. Tencent continues to chase Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), China’s largest cloud provider, according to market tracker Synergy Research Group.

“Outside of some niche services and geographic regions, this is a game where scale of operations, geographic footprint and global brand are key competitive advantages,” said John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group.

Nevertheless, AMD noted that Tencent is among the fastest growing cloud providers in the global infrastructure services market with more than 1 million servers in its network. Hence, the partners are touting scalable cloud performance and energy efficiency in Tencent’s server design.

Suresh Gopalakrishnan, general manager of AMD’s cloud business unit, noted in a blog post that its Star Lake server platform would meet 98 percent of Tencent’s cloud application workloads. The upstart chip maker also is claiming a 35-percent performance boost in Tencent cloud instance services using its latest Rome processor.

While AMD did not specify which Rome processer version will be used in the new server design, Tencent said this week its Xinghai cloud server would incorporate a “deeply customized CPU” within AMD’s Rome family. The result would be top-of-the-line single-core performance. Along with improved cloud instances, the Chinese infrastructure vendor said the combination boosted video processing speeds by 40 percent and graphics transcoding by a comparable amount.

The server architecture also supports NVM Express storage networks, HDD storage and cloud applications up to high-performance workloads.

The partners also noted that the new Tencent server utilizes new heat dissipation technology to improve maximum energy efficiency by 50 percent.

Tencent is among a growing number of infrastructure service providers targeting emerging cloud applications such as database management systems. As cloud infrastructure becomes the default platform for databases, market tracker Gartner Inc. (NYSE: IT) lists Tencent among the group of fast-growing cloud database providers that includes other Chinese cloud vendor Alibaba and telecom equipment giant Huawei.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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