Oracle Cloud Floats AMD Epyc Compute Instances

By Doug Black

October 23, 2018

Even as a press report yesterday declared that Intel has abandoned its current effort to produce a 10nm chip – a report denied by Intel – looming rival AMD and Oracle today announced the availability of the first AMD Epyc processor-based instance on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Announced at Oracle OpenWorld 2018, the AMD Epyc processor “E” series will lead with the bare metal, Standard “E2”, available immediately as the first instance type within the series. “At $0.03/core hour, the AMD Epyc instance is up to 66 percent less on average per core than general purpose instances offered by the competition and is the most cost-effective instance available on any public cloud,” AMD said in a press announcement.

AMD, of course, has been mounting an aggressive price/performance effort to grab business from Intel in the red hot data center x86 server processor market. Although the latest numbers from Mercury Research put AMD’s market share at 1.3 percent, up from 0.5 percent earlier this year, the company has speculated that it expects to reach around 5 percent by the end of this year. Intel itself has indicated that AMD could seize significant revenues in the sector; in a memorable quote earlier this year during an interview with an Instinet industry analyst, former Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company’s objective is to limit AMD to between 15 and 20 percent of the server market.

AMD said the Standard E2 instance offers 64 cores per server and up to 33 percent more memory channels than comparable x86 instances, making it “ideally suited for data analytics workloads that demand higher cores and memory bandwidth,” adding that on a complete 10TB Terasort run benchmarked by Oracle, “the AMD instance demonstrated up to 40 percent savings in cost per Terasort as compared to other x86 instances.”

These instances are generally available in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s U.S. East-Ashburn region today, London by the end of October and will be available in other U.S. and European regions by the end of the year.

As of launch, Oracle offers the 64-core bare metal instance as well as 1-, 2-, 4-, and 8-core VM compute instances. The 16- and 24-core configurations will be offered in the first half of 2019.

“At greater than 269 GB/Sec, the AMD Epyc platform, offers the highest memory bandwidth of any public cloud instance,” said Clay Magouyrk, SVP, software development, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “Combined with increased performance, these cost advantages help customers maximize their IT dollars as they make the move to the cloud.”

AMD and Oracle are positioning the Epyc offering around memory bandwidth-demanding use cases such as weather modeling, computational fluid dynamics, simulation and crash analysis in aviation and auto manufacturing, along with oil and gas exploration. On another Oracle benchmark test, a 14M cell Fluent CFD simulation on a winged aircraft solved on four nodes, the Epyc processor-based instance delivered up to a 30 percent reduction in total cost, coupled with reduction in overall run times, according to Oracle.

Other public clouds that have deployed Epyc include Microsoft Azure and Baidu (announced in December 2017), and Packet, a bare metal cloud for developers (rolled out in February). In addition, SkySilk, a new public cloud provider that launched last month and provides Linux instances, also offers Eypc hardware.

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