AMDs New Capabilities
The new capabilities being offered by AMDwhich is scheduled to bring new processors to the market in the middle of this year when it releases its rev F lineupand Intel dovetail with the functions HP puts into its Systems Insight Manager and OpenView management software that are designed to help the servers run more efficiently, Potter said. Jay Bretzmann, manager of product marketing for IBMs xSeries systems, said the moves by both Intel and AMD, in combination with system-level features IBM already offers and its Enterprise X-Architecture, will enable the OEM to adequately address customer power and heat needs into the future."[Intel] got the religion of power conservation now, and thats very good now," Bretzmann said.He said power concerns among IBM customers in large part depend on where theyre located. Those in the power-hungry Northeast tend to have a different viewpoint that those in the Midwest. "In the scheme of things, theyre not as concerned about the cost of power, but that power is consuming so much of the cost of their operations," Bretzmann said. IBM will continue to focus on air-cooling, thoughlike HPthe company does offer a liquid cooling device that fits onto a rack. Water offers a 10-fold improvement over air in cooling efficiency, but "customers still have a visceral reaction to using liquid or water in the data center," Bretzmann said. "Well try to stay with air-cooling within racks as long as we can." In its systems, IBM offers Calibrated Vector Cooling, a technology that directs cool air through the machines. For their part, Dell officials say that while some customers are concerned about power and heat, more pressing are such issues as total cost of ownership. "Its very important to a small segment [of customers]," said Jay Parker, director of worldwide marketing for Dells PowerEdge servers. "Were excited to get performance [in Woodcrest] ratcheted up at a near leadership level, but a lot of issues are more important to customers than power and cooling." Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, has stayed firmly in Intels camp and to this point has not rolled out AMD-based servers. Parker pointed out that despite this, Dell continues to gain market share in the server space, an indication, he said, that while those issues may be growing in importance, they havent been enough to drive many people away from Dell to vendors selling AMD-based systems. "The conversation [with customers] is rarely around power and cooling and processor cooling," Parker said. Instead, those conversations tend to revolve around ownership costs, Parker said. That said, the release of the next generation of Dells PowerEdge systems will be tightly aligned with Intels launch of Woodcrest, Parker said. They also will offer features designed to address the need to reduce the cost of owning the systems. Key among those will be better image management, Parker said. Managing software images can cost time and money if users are forced to manage too many different images, he said. Dell current offers a consistent software image across its two-socket PowerEdge 1850, 2850 and 2800 systems. Starting with the new server lineup, there will be a consistent image among all the single-socket systems and another in the four-socket servers. Another way to keep customer costs down is to ensure that its blade systems will be able to fit in the same chassis even as the number of cores on a chip grow from two this year to four next year, Parker said. "Thats a cost-of-ownership savings," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.