AMD's EPYC 9004 "Genoa" Reference Board Runs The Open-Source OpenBMC

Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 10 November 2022. Page 1 of 2. 22 Comments

For as exciting and performant as AMD 4th Gen EPYC "Genoa" series processors are with up to 96 cores, AVX-512, and the other impressive Zen 4 enhancements, there was something else subtle that got me really excited with Genoa... AMD's "Titanite" reference board for Genoa is running the open-source, Linux-powered OpenBMC!

With the "Titanite" 2P reference board for 4th Gen EPYC, AMD opted to ship the open-source OpenBMC baseboard management controller implementation rather than a proprietary BMC software stack used by their prior reference boards. Other hardware vendors also have traditionally relied upon proprietary BMC software for their reference platforms, but there has been an ongoing -- and very welcome -- trend toward OpenBMC.

Going back a few years now AMD has been dabbling with OpenBMC including getting it up and running on their Daytona reference platform used for Rome and Milan, but there it only came after the fact. AMD also worked on OpenBMC for their older Ethanol reference platform, but again to this point has mostly been experiments and getting OpenBMC up and running post-launch while shipping the reference boards with the conventional, proprietary BMC software.

For Titanite they are using OpenBMC from the start. OpenBMC as a refresher is effectively a Linux distribution for baseboard management controllers that is backed by the Linux Foundation while originating from Facebook and being backed by IBM, Intel, Google, and other industry players mostly for their hyperscale needs.

OpenBMC makes use of Yocto and over the years has been built-up with additional features to hit parity and rival the offerings of proprietary BMC software stacks. OpenBMC is notably used already by Raptor Computing Systems with their Blackbird and Talos II servers, but aside from that finding OpenBMC use pre-loaded has been rather rare outside of the hyperscalers. Finding OpenBMC running on the EPYC Genoa reference board was a wonderful surprise.

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