AMD Names Extreme Networks Exec as Head of Server Business

Suresh Gopalakrishnan, who also had worked for HP and Sun, will oversee AMD’s Opteron efforts.

Advanced Micro Devices has tapped an executive from networking vendor Extreme Networks to head up its server businesses.

The announcement June 21 of Suresh Gopalakrishnan as corporate vice president and general manager of AMD€™s server business is the latest move in a series of executive changes CEO Rory Read has made since taking over the company in August 2011. Gopalakrishnan is coming over from Extreme, where he had been vice president of engineering.

He also has been with several other tech companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

Under Gopalakrishnan, AMD€™s server business will continue focusing its efforts around performance, energy efficiency and cost, according to Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of AMD€™s global business units and the person Gopalakrishnan will report to.

€œToday€™s data center operators and enterprises need to reduce cost and power consumption while increasing performance, and AMD has been working hard to meet these needs with our AMD Opteron processor family and SeaMicro fabric technology,€ Su said in a prepared statement. €œUnder Suresh€™s leadership, we will accelerate our disruptive server strategy by leveraging our broad IP portfolio to deliver superior products designed to offer the world€™s best performance-per-dollar and power efficiency.€

AMD is looking to regain momentum in the server space, which is dominated by larger rival Intel. In 2011, Intel grew its dominant share of the server chip market to 94.5 percent, while AMD saw its share drop 1.5 percentage points to 5.5 percent, according to analysts with market research firm IDC. AMD in November 2011 launched its much-anticipated Opteron 6200 and 4200 server processors based on its new Bulldozer architecture. In the first quarter of 2012, Bulldozer-based chips accounted for more than half of all AMD server chips sold, Rory told analysts and journalists in April.

The company also is looking to be a larger player in the cloud data center space with its $334 million acquisition of SeaMicro, a company that sold microservers, very small and power-efficient systems. Buying SeaMicro also enabled AMD to tweak Intel€”as SeaMicro€™s systems are based on Intel€™s low-power Atom processor platform.

At the time of the acquisition, Intel officials downplayed the significance, saying they considered buying SeaMicro but passed.

Intel is looking to press its advantage in the server space. The company in March released its Xeon E5-2600 Romley chips aimed at environments like cloud computing, and on June 18 unveiled new branding around its many integrated cores (MIC) strategy. The new Xeon Phi coprocessors, due later this year, initially will offer more than 50 cores that will be able to run parallel-computing workloads in high-performance computing (HPC) environments. The Xeon Phi chips will help Intel address the growing use of graphics cards in hybrid computing environments.