AMD's enterprise foray

The arrival of the Opteron processor signals a viable entry into the lucrative enterprise market. However, it remains to be seen if AMD will succeed in a market that is dominated by Intel.

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By  Angela Prasad Published  May 8, 2005

It is fair to say that Intel is to the chip market what Microsoft is to the software market. Intel chips are as globally ubiquitous as Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, and it is virtually impossible to evade an enterprise IT department anywhere in the world that is not using some form of Intel technology forming the bedrock to its IT operations. With one company holding such a stranglehold in the marketplace, coupled with the fact that there is a paucity of chip manufactures in general, the arrival of a challenger poses some interesting questions. AMD can already boast a strong market share in the consumer desktop market and it intends to keep that market share. As far as entering the enterprise market through Opteron — originally codenamed ‘hammer’ — the company kick started the process in 1999. It took almost four years to make it happen. Today, vendors such as IBM, Fujitsu Siemens, Sun Microsystems and HP among others have already signed up for Opteron. AMD claims the partnerships are solid and long-term, as the vendor’s enterprise program manager for the EMEA region, Dr Ulrich Knechtel explains: “They all wanted to form strong and long-term partnership with AMD,” he says. From the vendors’ point of view, the partnership is not a case of taking the Opteron processor and building a box, it is also about delivering an end-to-end solution. Knechtel cites the support of both IBM and Microsoft for the 64-bit architecture of the new operating system, with the former also announcing that it wants to use AMD chips in developing servers. He also says Sun is targeting industry standard servers based on AMD Opteron. AMD has also teamed up with HP. “This was in many ways a very strong offer for us,” he states. “Because HP has, in many cases, the largest market share for industry-standard servers and has the broadest range of servers right now.”

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