The Palo Alto, Calif., company also has entered into a multi-year development and marketing agreement with AMD that will lead to future innovations based on AMDs 64-bit technology, the company announced on Tuesday.
Reports of HPs Opteron strategy began to trickle out last month, and company officials confirmed those plans at a press conference from Houston.
Scott Stallard, senior vice president and general manager for HPs Enterprise Storage and Servers group, said the decision to embrace AMDs Opteron technology was fueled by customer demand for 64-bit capabilities in its ProLiant systems.
Stallard also reiterated that the move to Opteron systems would not impact the companys future plans for its Integrity line of high-end systems based on Intel Corp.s 64-bit Itanium chip.
"Our commitment and plans for Itanium havent changed," Stallard said. "Theyve actually been strengthened by this plan."
Later in the first quarter, HP will introduce a two-way ProLiant server, the 1U (1.75-inch) DL145, followed in the second quarter by the four-way, 4U (7-inch) DL585 targeted at helping enterprises running 32-bit applications constrained by memory limitations, such as databases and Microsoft Corp.s Exchange software.
In the second half of 2004, HP will ship an ultra-dense, two-way blade server.
HPs announcements add to a rapidly changing 64-bit computing landscape. A year ago, AMD executives, in Sunnyvale, Calif., were preparing to launch Opteron, with industry observers wondering from where they were going to get their major OEM support. Since then IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and now HP have signed onto the chip, which features the ability to run x86-based 32-bit and 64-bit applications. That compatibility was a key difference between Opteron—which initially was being marketed against Intels 32-bit Xeon chips—and Itanium, which is a different architecture from x86 and could only run 32-bit applications via emulation software.
Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., changed the game with its announcement last week that starting in the second quarter, it would begin offering Xeons with 64-bit extensions, a move that was embraced by all the major OEMs except Sun.
At Tuesdays press conference, Stallard reiterated that HP plans on upgrading its ProLiant systems with the new Xeon chips as they become available.
Much was made of the relationship between Intel and HP, which co-developed Itanium. But John Enck, an analyst with Gartner Inc. who was invited by HP to attend the press conference, said the idea that Opteron would catch or that Intel would 64-bit enable its Xeon chips should not come as a surprise.
"Theres a need in this market for 64-bit extensions, and theres room in this market," Enck said.