Page Two

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2003-04-21 Print this article Print

The second task was that AMD had to persuade operating system vendors to produce Opteron-optimized versions. Its obvious that a processor without an operating system is less useful than a doorstop. Thats about where the Opteron was just over a year ago, when AMD had no operating system vendor backing it up.

AMD did a haphazard job aligning the operating system vendors with its cause. In fact, Intel, with its size advantage, did a much better job getting Itanium commitment, even though the Itaniums EPIC (explicitly parallel instruction computing) architecture was far more costly and difficult to optimize for.

It wasnt until Comdex Fall 2002, however, that AMD showed a prototype of 64-bit Windows running on Opteron. And even with this, it still wasnt clear until recently that Microsoft was committed to Opteron. Microsoft is on board, although it looks now like its a reaction to the Linux distributors 64-bit Opteron-optimized distributions. Result: AMD barely makes it.

The third task was to persuade server vendors such as Dell and HP to carry Opteron. So far, there have been rumors that Dell might have an Opteron SKU, but theres no official word. The Compaq side of HP would likely be a candidate, since it is usually an aggressive server vendor. However, HPs commitment to Itanium puts major kinks in any mass movement.

That leaves AMDs partnership with Newisys, a company that makes 64-bit AMD systems, to strike some deals. The way it looks from here, though, is that only second-tier server vendors are latching on to Opteron. Result: AMD bungles it—so far.

Had Intel created Opteron, it would have performed these three tasks in parallel and succeeded. AMD, although technically nimble, executed these operations in serial, leaving Opteron up in the air.

AMD had a golden opportunity to succeed here, but its poor execution over the last year has hampered its chances for success. The result: AMD is going to get at most 10 percent of the market, just slightly better than it always has, even though the Opteron design has many worthwhile advancements.

Latest AMD News
For more on Opteron, check out our .

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel