AMD joins Facebook’s Open Compute project

By Kristin Bent on May 3, 2012 7:24 AM
Filed under Hardware

Launches 'Roadrunner' motherboard specs.

AMD yesterday launched a set of server motherboard specifications, codenamed "Roadrunner," as part of the Open Compute project initiated by Facebook last year.

The project was launched to encourage the development of sharable, open standards for data centre infrastructures that would drive down energy costs.

AMD’s Roadrunner platform, which was introduced at the Open Compute Summit taking place in San Antonio this week, is a single motherboard configuration that can support storage infrastructures for both high-performance computing and cloud-based services.

It supports traditional rack and "Open Rack" (Open Compute project's specification) infrastructures, and leverages AMD’s Opteron 6000 series of low-power processors.

The Roadrunner platform is optimised specifically for the financial services industry, AMD said. Aligning the platform with feedback it received from customers in the finance space, the chip maker designed Roadrunner so that it can be leveraged for a range of storage models.

"[The financials industry] have a variety of workloads and what they really wanted was a platform that was flexible enough to be deployed in a variety of places, allowing them to reduce management costs through commonality," said John Fruehe, director of product marketing for enterprise products at AMD.

"Roadrunner can be deployed for general IT, storage, cloud and HPC, all areas that the financial industry is deploying servers today."

With the launch of its Roadrunner specifications, AMD became an official member of the Open Compute project, about one year after the initiative was launched by social networking giant Facebook. AMD said customer demand drove its decision to get on board.

"We joined Open Compute because there was a demand from our customers for AMD solutions in the program," Fruehe said. "Customers see the value in Open Compute and they want to see the value that AMD brings to initiatives in that space."

Other major tech vendors including Intel, HP,, VMware, and Dell are members of the Open Compute project. Intel has also launched motherboard specs based on the project’s Open Rack standards, and both HP and Dell have announced storage designs – code-named "Project Coyote" and "Zeus," respectively – that also meet the standards.

According to Frank Frankovsky, founding board member of the Open Compute project who spearheaded the launch of the initiative last April, the project’s goal of applying open-source software standards to the hardware industry is well on its way.

He said open and collaborative conversations between hardware vendors and customers, such as those that will take place at this week’s Summit, have been a key driver of the project’s success.

"Last April, when we open sourced a set of server and data centre designs under the name 'Open Compute project,' we weren’t sure what to expect. It was our hope that we could inspire the industry to be a little more open, a little more innovative, and a little more focused on energy efficiency," Frankovsky wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

"Today, as more than 500 people converge on San Antonio for the third OCP Summit, I think we can safely say that we’ve already achieved much more than that."

Frankovsky also announced in his blog the launch of an official Open Compute project solutions provider program. He said solution providers including Hyve, ZT Systems, and Avnet have already expressed an interest in participating.

The aim of the program is to open up new channels for selling and using storage technologies based on Open Compute project’s low-power standards.

This article originally appeared at

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