AMD is also increasing the processors' ability to move virtual machines between physical servers that use different generations of Opteron processors. Intel, which released its six-core 7400 series Xeon processors in September, also included a similar feature.
"They [AMD] are positioning it [Shanghai] as a virtualization server, which I think is smart because they are not just coming out with an iron story, saying we have great performance or we finally made it to 45-nanometer," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "By talking about optimizing the chip for virtualization, they can talk about it as a chip for the data center of the future."
Matt Lavallee, director of technology for MLS Property Information Network, a real-estate property listing service in Shewsbury, Mass., said his company has been using AMD Opteron processors for a number of years. However, Lavallee said that he has been using Opteron in combination with Hewlett-Packard's eight-socket ProLiant DL 785 servers to support the company's Web infrastructure as well as virtualization and consolidation projects.
While Lavallee said he saw AMD take a fair share of criticism for the problems associated with the 65-nm Opteron chip, he said he still remains impressed with Opteron's architecture, especially its AMD-V virtualization technology and features such as HyperTransport interconnect. When the 45-nm Opteron processors are released, Lavallee said he plans to have HP upgrade his company's servers to the new processor.
"We really appreciate the architecture, and I think features like the HyperTransport make for a much more fluid design, and the ability to drop in and replace processors is huge," said Lavallee. "That's where Shanghai plays in. We have this beautiful infrastructure based on Barcelona, and so next year, when we start looking at loads and where we want to reprovision things, we can take out Barcelona and put in Shanghai and not have to change the infrastructure."