Gartner welcomes IBM move to AMD Opteron servers

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Gartner welcomes IBM move to AMD Opteron servers

Industry analysts have welcomed IBM’s recent decision to add to its established Intel Xeon-based server offerings by developing machines based on AMD's Opteron processors.

Industry analysts have welcomed IBM’s recent decision to add to its established Intel Xeon-based server offerings by developing machines based on AMD's Opteron processors.

IBM's announcement brings it in line with the market. IBM customers should consider the AMD-based servers as “viable alternatives” to boxes based on Intel’s CPUs, noted Gartner.

Gartner’s endorsement comes after IBM’s move, on 1 August 2006, to add three new AMD-based servers to its xSeries line, and two new AMD-based servers to its BladeCenter line. Before this announcement, IBM offered just one AMD-based xSeries server and one AMD-based blade server. Gartner observed that IBM did not aggressively market these servers, a decision that the analyst firm believes was made to avoid upsetting Intel.

“AMD-based servers are here to stay, although we don't expect AMD to outpace Intel in server installations in the near future. Rather, AMD's accomplishments have nudged Intel forward, resulting in better products and more choices, sooner, for customers,” a Gartner research note, written by analysts Jane Wright and John Enck, stated.

The report noted that IBM has arrived relatively late to the AMD Operton party, “Other server vendors have avidly promoted AMD-based servers and blades, and for good reason – servers based on the AMD Opteron processor have demonstrated better performance over Intel Xeon processors for some applications, especially in four-way server configurations.”

IBM rivals that have produced Opteron-based servers include HP, which has six AMD-based servers and blades, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu, which has supported AMD options in its servers.

“Dell does not yet offer AMD-based servers, although it will undoubtedly adopt AMD more fully soon. IBM's announcement, therefore, serves to bring IBM in line with the market. IBM does offer its customers the ability to upgrade in the field from a two-socket to a four-socket blade server, but we await benchmark results to determine if this capability delivers scalable performance,” Gartner stated.

The analyst advises enterprises to consider the Opteron-based xSeries or BladeCenter servers where they provide superior performance or superior power/cooling management over Xeon-based servers.

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