HP loads ProLiant with Opteron

Growing demand from end user organisations forces computing giant to add AMD’s latest processor to its server range.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  April 1, 2004

|~|Brunswick_m.jpg|~|AMD’s Pierre Brunswick says the HP partnership will help the vendor establish itself in the region.|~|HP has incorporated AMD’s Opteron processor into its two latest ProLiant servers as it looks to give local users greater choice when it comes to chips. The processor provides the DL145 and DL585 boxes with HyperTransport technology and integrated full-speed memory controllers, which improve 32-bit performance. As with all Opteron-based machines, the latest ProLiant products also boast 64-bit memory addressability, which is designed to help end users more easily migrate towards 64-bit applications. According to Samer Karawi, product-marketing manager for the Enterprise Systems Group at HP Middle East, the vendor expects there to be significant demand for the AMD-based units in the coming months, especially in high performance computing (HPC) environments and among companies running 32-bit applications that now need additional computing power. “Opteron really makes a difference and it addresses a real need in some businesses. This means there is a real business opportunity for AMD to breakthrough in the Middle East,” he says. AMD is equally as bullish about the success of the Opteron-based servers and sees its tie up with HP as an extension of its strategy to enter the high end market through the tier one server vendors. “HP’s commitment to AMD further validates the AMD Opteron processor’s acceptance in the enterprise,” says Jan Gütter, AMD’s public relations manager. “As the world’s number-one server provider, HP becomes the third of the four recognised global tier one server OEMs to embrace the AMD Opteron processor since the product launched only 10 months ago,” he adds. According to Pierre Brunswick, AMD’s regional sales manager for EEMEA, the HP deal will also give the chip manufacturer a much needed boost in the Middle East, where Intel has long dominated. “It is important for us in the Middle East to have more multinational offerings available because it helps drive our 64-bit technology into the local market,” he says. Although HP has used AMD chips in its products before, the adoption of Opteron at the higher end of its server range raises interesting questions over the computing giant’s dedication to Intel’s 64-bit Itanium product line, for which HP has long been a champion and effective mouthpiece. However, HP is keen to play down any talk of a defection to AMD’s high end platform. “Although a large company like Intel would like to have a partner like HP on an exclusive basis, it is not possible. Intel does understand that there are other technologies on the market that users will demand. They understand that we have to partner with other people,” explains Karawi. “Our relationship with AMD is not new and we have always had systems based on the AMD architecture. Our partnership with Intel has not been affected and we are committed to the Xeon [processor] and Itanium,” he adds. Evidence of this ongoing relationship is HP’s decision to add Intel’s Xeon 64-bit extensions to its ProLiant servers later this year. By utilising the extensions, users will be able to run 32-bit applications with increased performance and memory, while also beginning the migration to true 64-bit computing a la Opteron. “It is midway between the actual 32-bit platform, the Xeon platform and Itanium. It will help them [users] migrate slowly to the 64-bit platform,” explains Karawi. In addition to taking Intel’s Xeon 64-bit extensions to market, HP continues to co-develop products with the chip giant and locally the duo continue to target the region’s key verticals with Itanium-based machines. As a result, Ferhad Patel, strategic relations manager at Intel Middle East & North Africa, is confident the AMD announcement will have little impact on its business with HP. “HP’s investments in processor co-development [with Intel] are extensive and it is telling that HP’s highest performing systems, the first to break 1,000,000 tpcc results on Windows and Linux, are all Itanium-based,” he adds. ||**||

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