AMD Targets Cloud, Virtualized Workloads

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2011-09-15 Print this article Print


The news of the shipping of the Xeon E5 chips comes a week after rival Advanced Micro Devices announced that it had begun shipping the first of its Opteron server processors based on the company's new "Bulldozer" architecture. AMD officials said they began shipping the 16-core Opteron 6200 Series "Interlagos" processors in August and that OEM systems based on the platform will begin appearing in the fourth quarter.

Like the Xeon E5, AMD's Interlagos processors also are targeting cloud environments and virtualized workloads. In an interview with eWEEK at a hotel near the IDF conference, John Taylor, director of client product and software marketing at AMD, said while the company is shipping Interlagos now, the official launch will come later this year. An announcement on the upcoming Bulldozer-based "Valencia" Opteron chips, which will hold six to eight cores and will be aimed at one- to two-socket servers, also is in the works.

AMD's efforts around Opteron are designed to dovetail with enterprise trends toward cloud and HPC, and the shift in corporations' focus away from capital costs and onto operational costs.

Intel's Skaugen said that even as the chip vendor grows its Xeon offerings, it will continue developing its Itanium platform. The company is still on target to release the next generation of the chip-dubbed "Poulson"-next year, which will double the performance of the current Itanium processor. Two years after Poulson will come "Kittson," which will double the performance of Poulson.

He also noted the continuing efforts to enable Itanium and Xeon-though based on different microarchitectures-to share features, including 25 common reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) capabilities. The result is two strong high-end server platforms, giving enterprises a wide number of options when looking at their workloads.

"It's really about operating system choice," Skaugen said.

Intel's plans for Itanium became the subject of debate earlier this year when Oracle officials announced Oracle would no longer develop its software for the Itanium platform, claiming Intel would soon be ending development of the technology. Intel executives, including President and CEO Paul Otellini, quickly refuted the claim, saying the chip maker had a roadmap that will carry development through the end of the decade.

Officials with Hewlett-Packard-by far the largest consumer of Itanium processors-called Oracle's decision a cynical move in hopes of boosting the flagging SPARC hardware portfolio it inherited through its $7.6 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Oracle became the third major software vendor to end support of Itanium, joining Microsoft and Red Hat. 


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