RealTime IT News

AMD's Ambitious Growth Goals

Remember the TV show "thirtysomething"? That might be an appropriate name for AMD's longterm goals. The chipmaker aims to improve its share of the market for business desktops and servers to 30 percent by 2009, according to AMD's vice president of commercial business, Ben Williams.

AMD believes market share figures from IDC due later this month will show its share of the server market has already grown to about 10 percent, more than double what it was a year ago. Mercury Research reported last month that AMD had an 11.2 percent share of the x86 market for servers in the second quarter (the research firm did not include servers based on other processors such as Sun's Ultrasparc).

Still, a jump from 10 percent to 30 percent by 2009 is ambitious since AMD will have to go through Intel to get there.

To reach its goal, AMD will have to enlist more partners like HP. IDC's server report in May showed HP was able to sell enough servers based on AMD's Opteron chip to become the only top systems vendor in the 4-way x86 server space to grow revenue year-over-year.

Another factor will be the expected growth in server blades . In an interview with, Williams, said AMD is poised to take its market share for blades above the 18 percent it currently holds worldwide. HP, IBM and Egenera offer AMD-based blades. Egenera has established itself with sales to Wall Street companies.

IDC believes blades, which cost less, and consume less power than traditional box-based servers, could account for as much as 20 percent of the overall server market by next year. Williams said Operton-based blades stack up well versus Intel alternatives. In one case he said a customer compared installing AMD Opteron-based blades versus blades based on Intel's Xeon and found it took 600 Xeon blades to match the performance of 400 Operton blades, he said.

Part of AMD's growth strategy is to focus on specific markets. "We already are known in the oil and gas and digital media industries," said Williams."Now we are going after transportation, telecommunications and manufacturing."

Williams said AMD will work with experts in these areas to get AMD a bigger presence and mindshare and also invest more with system integrators that sell to those markets. This is the latest move in AMD's quest to garner more of the lucrative enterprise space after years of largely focusing on the desktop consumer market.

In other AMD news, AMD announced SimNow, a 64-bit simulator that provides software developers with access to features of AMD's next-generation processor technologies, including AMD's virtualization technology, code-named Pacifica. The news came out of the LinuxWorld trade show.

Pacifica is AMD's plan to run software in its computer chips to forge virtual partitions that can render multiple operating systems and applications on one computer.

SimNow is designed to enable software developers to emulate single- and dual-core AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron processor -based systems that run commercial operating systems and applications, and to allow them to write and test software in advance of the commercial availability of processors implementing the features.

"The SimNow simulator is a significant factor behind superior SUSE Linux support of the AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron processors," Eric Anderson, vice president of engineering for Novell, siad in a statement. "Not only does it allow us to develop for new chip designs prior to their physical creation, it also provides us with important debug capabilities, accelerating the process."

Pacifica is not expected until the first half of next year. SimNow is slated to be available for download August 22. AMD's chief competition in hardware virtualization is Intel, which will offer its own brand of Virtualization Technology (formerly called Vanderpool) later this year ahead of AMD.