John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server, embedded and FireStream products at AMD (,

Why are AMD Opteron processors useful in today’s enterprise data centers?

As today’s IT environments encounter increasing demands for more efficiency, driven by a need to reduce power while simultaneously increasing application performance, server technology has needed to adapt dynamically. AMD Opteron processor-based servers meet these needs by delivering the right balance of price, performance and power consumption regardless of whether you have one server running your small business or thousands of servers powering your mega data center. With the AMD Opteron 4000 Series platform, for 1P and 2P server environments, and the AMD Opteron 6000 Series platform, for 2P and 4P server environments, AMD is able to offer simple, yet strategic, options for data center managers who can rest assured regardless of what they choose it will come with consistent set of full features.

Where should AMD Opteron processors rank in terms of overall priority in the data center?

Ultimately, all of the technology within a data center must work together in harmony to deliver the greatest efficiencies, therefore it is impossible to have one completely outrank another, it is always most important to match your platforms to your workloads. However, as the processor is essentially the brains of the server, and the server is the essence of the data center, AMD believes you cannot underestimate choosing a server based on the right processor. And, in making that choice, need to consider a variety of factors beyond just raw performance. The key for any deployment is a balanced system.

What are the biggest challenges for data center and IT managers when it comes to identifying the right server configuration?

Oftentimes, it can be a struggle to accurately calculate the cost of a server and how that relates to both capital expenditure as well as operational expenditure. Meaning, when choosing the right server configuration and considering cost, there is much more that comes into play beyond just the sticker price. It’s critical to have a clear understanding of how the server will perform over its lifespan and what the power and management costs will be. We believe the efficiency that AMD Opteron processors deliver in the data center offer an immense amount of value from an operational standpoint and deliver outstanding ROI.

How can data center and IT managers overcome those challenges?

It’s vital that IT managers look beyond industry benchmarks to understand the performance of a server and qualify how the server will perform in their real world environment. This is the only way to have an appropriate gauge on the kind of price, performance and power considerations to take into account. Look beyond the vendor hype to understand your own environment and how your applications behave. While AMD Opteron processors do deliver significant performance advantages, customers really need to look at their the right blend of processor, memory and I/O in order to determine the best platform to meet their needs.

What advice can you give to IT and data center managers that have a plethora of similar solutions to choose from?

In addition to taking a very hard look at how the server will perform in your real world environment, it’s important to plan not only for your business needs today, but what those needs will be in 3 or 5 years. AMD architects its server processors to allow businesses to scale. Customers can either scale out (buy more servers over time) or scale up (buy a larger more powerful server and grow your utilization within that box). This is a critical factor to keep in mind. In addition it is critical to make sure that the platforms you purchase will easily integrate into your existing environment. AMD Opteron processor-based servers are available from all of the leading OEMs like Dell, HP and IBM, as well as others, helping to ensure that the investments that you have already made in your data center can continue to be leveraged. With the same chassis designs, service spares, management tools and other components, the time that your team has spent learning their existing platforms can be easily leveraged for continued efficiency when adding AMD Opteron processor-based platforms to the data center.

At the processor level, there is a growing interest around the idea of more cores, and what is the appropriate amount of cores for your data center. As a matter of fact, with each new generation with higher core count, customers are making that transition quicker than the previous transition. Today, AMD offers 12-core processors and soon will offer 16-core processors, more than any other x86 processor vendor. While some may think that many cores aren’t necessary for their workloads, as noted above, AMD believes it’s important to plan for the future and account for how computing is changing. Meaning, workloads such as virtualization, cloud computing, database and HPC benefit greatly from having more cores and more memory. If your business is using virtualization today, or considering it, having more cores will drive significant efficiency for you.