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VMblog Expert Interview: Tony Craythorne of Bamboo Systems Talks Newly Launched B1000N Series, ARM Technology, and PANDA Architecture

Interview Bamboo 

Bamboo Systems is a provider of transformative Arm-based servers, and recently, they announced the availability of its newest systems, the B1000N Series which is based on a revolutionary new system architecture, Bamboo PANDA.

To learn more about this interesting announcement, VMblog went straight to the top and spoke with Tony Craythorne, the company's CEO.  

VMblog:  Bamboo recently announced the B1000N Series.  Can you provide an overview on the new product?

Tony Craythorne:  Our B1000N Series is Bamboo's transformative offering to the data center marketplace; Arm-based servers that are unlike anything currently on a data center floor.  A fully configured B1000N Series consists of 8 servers providing 128 cores, 16 DDR4 memory channels to 512GB DRAM, 24GB/s to 64TB of NVMe storage, fed through 160Gb/s network bandwidth - all in a single rack unit - acquired at approximately 50% of the cost of a traditional Intel-based server. 

VMblog:  Let's talk about Bamboo's emphasis on Arm technology.  You've built a company around it.  Why?

Craythorne:  We expect Arm servers to take a significant market share over the next 5 years. We've noted in early 2020 that server revenue of x86 servers has decreased 9.1% over this time last year, while non-x86 servers sales have increased 38.2% over the same time frame. As the market matures, we think Arm servers will take a significant, double-digit share in the enterprise market.  Arm servers can run any open source software that x86 servers can, in fact, more cost-effectively. After decades of server evolution, the market is ready to be disrupted, and we are poised to lead that disruption.

VMblog:  What is PANDA?  What's the value prop there for potential customers?

Craythorne:  PANDA stands for Bamboo's proprietary Parallel Arm Node Designed Architecture.  PANDA provides more memory bandwidth per core enabling faster data processing, increases security by separating IO and Management from application, delivers more performance in the same space using less energy than large power-hungry traditionally architected servers as well as the TCO benefits of converged platforms without impacting application performance. Bamboo PANDA-based systems are uniquely architected to meet the demands of both modern parallel software structures and the challenge of energy-hogging data centers.

VMblog:  How do you envision this server changing the face of the enterprise data center?

Craythorne:  At Bamboo, we have reimagined server architecture, to deliver high throughput resulting in up to 10 times the level of typical compute density, using as little as 25% of the energy of comparable systems. Our Bamboo B1000N uses embedded systems methodologies and carefully selects the processor, and all the components, to match the thermal density required. Our approach to configuration is unique.  For a look under the hood, we utilize embedded systems methodologies removing unnecessary components and making the application processor run much more efficiently to enable us to run much cooler than traditional server architectures, in turn enabling us to deliver compute at previously unseen densities. Our approach is different and saves data center floor space, money and resources that negatively affect the environment.  That's how we're changing the face of the enterprise data center.

VMblog:  You previously announced that some customers were utilizing a Bamboo Server in an early access program so they could provide comments and feedback to Bamboo.  What feedback did you receive?

Craythorne:  The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic derailed many Q2 initiatives for businesses of all shapes and sizes across the globe.  Bamboo's Early Access Program was impacted, too.  We felt the response would have been better if our potential customers were not embroiled in learning how to get whole workforces online and securely working from home.  However, we did work with several companies to which we provided remote access to our lab in the UK. Most of those customers were interested in seeing if it would be easy to port their software from Intel to Arm. It was.

VMblog:  You've been working up to this moment, to bring this revolutionary architecture to market.  Any bumps along the way?

Craythorne:  We just mentioned COVID and Bamboo was impacted like so many other companies with shifting priorities and getting workforces settled and comfortable in WFH situations. Another "bump" from our point of view has been having technology that is ahead of the marketplace.  That means it is a market that has to be introduced, conditioned and convinced of the value prop your technology is introducing. Traditional server architecture is not evolving fast enough for modern, agile, highly parallel workloads, straining data centers to the breaking point.  It has taken time to convince the market that there is something better, much more agile, more cost effective, better for the planet and it is here.  We look forward to the next months and year as we bring the B1000N Series onto data center floors.

VMblog:  How is the B1000N Series sold? 

Craythorne:  Entirely through the channel, through our partner Climb and other channel partners to be announced in the near future.

VMblog:  Now that the B1000N Series is GA, what's next? 

Craythorne:  We plan to continue to innovate. We already have additional new systems in development that extend our architecture for even more benefits, so keep an eye on Bamboo! And meanwhile check out the B1000N Series, that can save up to 50% of acquisition cost, 75% of energy consumption, and 80% of the rack space for an equivalent workload!


Published Monday, June 29, 2020 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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