AMD Claims Better Way for Server Upgrades

By Michael Singer (Send Email)
Posted Mar 1, 2005


AMD is turning up the heat on rival Intel with a new hardware interface it claims will simplify server upgrades. The company claims its new Open Platform Management Architecture trumps IPMI by targeting the interface between the server platform and its management subsystem.

The company released its Open Platform Management Architecture (OPMA) for motherboards running its 64-bit Opteron and Athlon processors today.

Originally outlined in a December 2004 announcement, the specification defines a common hardware interface between the server platform and its server management subsystem, including the connector, electrical, mechanical, and firmware interfaces.

OPMA-compliant management subsystems feature cards will be known as mCards, the company said in its licensing information.

In the past, AMD said platform hardware manageability in servers was "treated as a premium, OEM-specific value-added feature." One of the biggest challenges is that IT managers, server OEMs, and motherboard manufacturers lack common interface standards for embedded system management.

Currently, the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) firmware and Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) command interfaces to the host and remote systems are clearly defined and widely accepted. For example, IPMI defines common interfaces to "intelligent" hardware used to monitor a server's physical health characteristics, such as temperature, voltage, fans, power supplies, and chassis. Intel, HP, NEC, and Dell have thrown their support for the IPMI standard.

AMD said hardware management is evolving into a standards-based, "must have" feature found in the majority of enterprise-class servers. In contrast, the company said proprietary manageability hardware subsystems can result in inconsistent designs and a complex upgrade path.

"We embrace and promote a collaborative, connected business model," Marty Seyer, corporate vice president at AMD said in a statement. "The OPMA specification is just one more example of how AMD innovates within industry standards to provide real solutions to real problems. Open standards puts the power of choice back in the hands of customers."

The OPMA connector provides the interface between manageability components, including BMCs, network interface controllers, and standardized system busses between sensor devices and the system microprocessors. AMD said OPMA feature cards contain BMC firmware that communicates with software such as BIOS drivers, manageability software suites, system management frameworks, and operating systems.

The chipmaker said it will be approaching partner businesses that develop, test, and market server platforms and management subsystems such as IBM, HP, and Sun Microsystems.

AMD's biggest sell, however, may remain with the largest vendor of x86 systems. Dell CEO Kevin Rollins said last week that his company had completed its review of AMD's processor lineup and has recommitted itself to Intel's architectures instead.

AMD said its OPMA also helps free up the PCI slot commonly used for keyboard, video, and mouse over Internet Protocol (KVMoIP) feature cards while improving the performance of the remote graphics console.

Peppercon, out of Zwickau, Germany, which makes embedded KVM-over-IP modules and subsystems for remote server management, said it is shipping daughter cards based on AMD's OPMA specification.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

Page 1 of 1


Comment and Contribute

Your name/nickname

Your email

(Maximum characters: 1200). You have characters left.