AMD's tier one partners sing homage to Barcelona
It's history, perched on a fence
Analysis Vendors, vendors everywhere: Yep, all the major players turned up in Barcelona at the EMEA launch of AMD's so-called "native" quad-core Opteron processor chip. Well okay, nearly all.
Perhaps significantly, Microsoft was missing from the European arm of the jamboree that some observers have described as an incredibly important, make-or-break launch for AMD as it scrambles to pull back market share in the $40bn a year x86 tug of war with Intel.
But there were plenty of other tech giants present flexing their marketing muscles and touting a combined total of some 50 new products expected to flood the market over the coming week.
IBM, Dell, HP, Acer, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Novell, Sun and VMWare were all heavily preoccupied with fostering their relationship with Intel's bitterest rival.
Unsurprisingly, most remained securely on the fence, choosing their words carefully as they trumpeted what they saw as the positive aspects of the Opteron chip.
Skipping the fact that AMD has launched the chip that was originally code-named Barcelona six months late and at only 2Ghz performance, many of the firm's first tier partners instead sang the praises of virtualisation, energy efficiency and something the chipmaker dubbed as "investment protection".
Dell bigged up AMD's latest chip offering by confirming that it will release what it claimed will be the industry's first two-socket 2U virtualisation-optimised server in an exclusive platform partnership with the chipmaker.
El Reg asked Dell's EMEA servers and solutions director Eric Velfre how its relationship with AMD compared to Intel?
He said: "Competition is a good thing... But I think we've made a clear point here that right now AMD offers the platform of choice for us."
Strong stuff indeed.
Getting Dell's sales team, which has undoubtedly been grappling with the computer maker's recent decision to indirectly flog its PCs via the channel, to determine the benefits of Intel and the benefits of AMD is a constant focus, said Velfre.
"We are leading the market in terms of quad-four adoption… We won't rest in our position. More than 50 per cent in Europe are quad-core sales, of course these are mostly Intel. But the good news for AMD is that Dell has confidence in the technology it is offering."
Elsewhere, IBM cautiously touted what it considered to be the merits of Opteron including telling the gathered audience of hacks and partners that it found memory output to be 27 per cent higher as well as seeing better power efficiency over Intel's equivalent offering.
IBM system x and Bladecenter vice president Stefan Buerkil said: “I think it will extend our leadership position and IBM is fully supportive of quad-core technology.”
Acer said at the event that it was not really interested in datacentres and that it will instead be focusing its attention on coughing up servers for SMB customers. It said the benefits Opteron offered the firm was in its ability to "future proof" platforms.
Acer product business director John Roberts said:
"Six-month platform changes are not good for the channel, they can cause a big disruption to our customers. The mechanical failures have been much improved with Opteron and we're very happy with what we've seen there. A single management interface, remains common and constant. That way no one needs to go out and reinvest in training."
But by far the most entertaining presentation came from operating system giant Novell, whose representative decided to tear up the script and appeal to the hearts and minds of anyone who cared to listen.
The firm's partner technology manager Lowry Snow told the press that if there was one message we should deliver to all you readers out there then it had to be for us to personally thank AMD "for rejecting mediocrity."
Comparing AMD to individuals in history who had walked away from the status quo, Snow said the firm should be applauded for "looking at the technology landscape and saying it's time to change things."
Perhaps by that point cabin fever had set in. Right now it's impossible to know if history will indeed be kind to AMD. ®