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HP To Offer Opteron Systems

It will offer ProLiant servers with the AMD processor in the second quarter, followed by a two-processor blade server in the second half of the year.
Hewlett-Packard has joined server competitors IBM and Sun Microsystems by saying that it will offer systems based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s 64-bit Opteron microprocessor.

Tuesday's announcement came less than a week after the company also pledged at Intel's Developer Forum to offer servers based on Intel's upcoming Xeon microprocessors with 64-bit extensions.

Providing servers based on both AMD and Intel x86 architecture-based processors with 64-bit instructions "lets customers run multiple operating systems across a range of systems," Scott Stallard, senior VP and general manager of HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers, said during a conference call.

HP plans to offer ProLiant servers featuring the Opteron processor, including the ProLiant DL145, a two-processor server, and the DL585, a four-way system, in the second quarter. In the second half of the year, HP plans to ship a two-processor ProLiant blade server using Opteron.

HP said last week it would offer ProLiant servers and workstations based on the Xeon processor with 64-bit instructions beginning in the second quarter.

"This is not AMD versus Intel," Stallard said. "Competition makes us a better company. It forces everyone to step up and deliver better solutions. It's not a situation where we have had a falling out with Intel."

Gartner analyst John Enck said during the conference that he believes there's a need in the market for 64-bit x86 systems, and "I don't see it as displacing [Intel's] Itanium or as a RISC-killing technology." The use of Opteron and 64-bit Xeons will be particularly useful in running "memory-hungry applications such as Microsoft Exchange," he said. Systems based on the processors should find a sweet spot in one- to four-way configurations, with those needing greater performance likely to turn to Itanium.

The Opteron processor, as well as the 64-bit-capable Xeon processors scheduled to begin shipping in the second quarter, have the ability to handle both traditional 32-bit x86 instructions and applications and 64-bit. In addition, the 64-bit-capable devices can address larger memories.

Although HP executives say they've been working on the Opteron for more than a year, HP follows both IBM and Sun in revealing its intent to provide systems using Opteron.

HP said it will provide performance benchmarks of systems using Opteron and the 64-bit Xeons as they're introduced.

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