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Facebook Intros Intel Xeon D Microserver 'Yosemite'

Facebook this week unveiled a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) server solution based on Intel's new 14-nanometer Xeon D processors for "heavily parallelizable workloads" in the data center.

Facebook introduced its SoC microserver platform, code named Yosemite, at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit in San Jose, Calif., where the social network also announced open low-level motherboard management software for BMC processor-based systems called OpenBMC.

The Yosemite SoC platform is at the heart of a newly designed server card code named Mono Lake, which can support up to four independent servers. Facebook collaborated with Intel "for over 18 months on Yosemite," according to a news report from the OCP Summit.

Facebook has helped develop micro-server SoCs in the past—in addition to using Intel's x86-based processor technology, the company has been working on data center solutions based on ARM's 64-bit instruction set.

Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, said Intel's new Xeon D line should prove attractive to big Web companies like Facebook.

"In essence, the new family is the first Intel design to incorporate Xeon business-class RAS features in an SoC form factor, and it also delivers significantly higher performance-per-node and performance-per-watt than Intel's previous Atom-based SoCs," King said. "As a result, Xeon D silicon is a highly compelling and competitive solution for companies like Facebook which are exploring or planning microserver deployments."

Yosemite is Facebook's first data center platform using Intel's Xeon D, but analyst Patrick Moorhead said there's been some confusion about Yosemite being presented as the company's "first ever" SoC compute server.

"Facebook is essentially using Xeon D as one of its choices for an OCP motherboard. It's not a new SoC and I don't understand why they are calling it a first as they have used SoCs before," said Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy.

Meanwhile, in other OCP Summit news, Hewlett-Packard introduced a new cloud service platform for hyperscale IT service providers called HP Cloudline; Broadcom made its Broadcom Open Network Switch Library (OpenNSL) available to OEMs, ISVs, and network operators; and Mellanox announced a new OpenOptics MSA-contributed specification that "enables data to be streamed at terabits per second over a single fiber."

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