Feeds

IBM falls in love with Opteron all over again

More servers this time

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Only the wizards inside of IBM can answer why the company went whole hog with Opteron at this juncture.

You can understand the decision on four-socket systems where Opteron still beats the heck out of Xeon. Even Dell gave Opteron the big squeeze on the four-socket front.

But Intel just released the Woodcrest version of Xeon to customers, shipping a product that trounces Opteron on many benchmarks. So why has IBM now decided to have Opteron-based systems compete against its mainstream Xeon-based gear? Xeon is finally where it needs to be.

"The short answer is that AMD is clearly here to stay and, if you're going to be a full-service shop you need to sell both Coke and Pepsi," said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata.

But why now? Why didn't IBM go ahead and buy into Opteron sooner given its obvious market share gains?

"That's a tougher one," Haff said. "My take is that they weren't sure how things were going to pan out and didn't want the cost and complexity of adding a full-boat Opteron product line if they could avoid it. But HP and more recently Sun's successes with Opteron changed their mind."

IBM's server GM Susan Whitney kept saying that new Opteron servers fit under IBM's Enterprise X umbrella, during the press conference. As evidence of IBM's Opteron technology investment, she pointed to advances such as IBM's pass through memory module that provides near linear performance on four-ways and delivers 30 per cent performance per watt improvements. Whitney also flagged some patent pending technology called accelerated memory that provides access to all DIMMs at 667MHz. "With systems from other vendors, once you go beyond four DIMMs, you revert back to 533MHz access," Whitney said. IBM expects customers to see 25 per cent better memory access throughput on larger servers.

These investments, however, don't match up to the hundreds of millions that IBM spent creating the X3-based Xeon servers.

AMD's CEO Hector Ruiz, present at the New York event, was more than happy to overlook IBM's past Opteron reluctance. IBM has freshened up AMD's Opteron story at a pivotal moment for the company. Right when Woodcrest seemed to have crushed Opteron's momentum, IBM stepped in with a delivered a big customer win to AMD.

Of all the Tier 1s to save Opteron now, IBM may have seemed the most unlikely. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.