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.

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing