Since server is the most profitable side of AMD's CPU business, flat or losing marketshare is not good for the bottom line..With a resurgent Intel grabbing mind share among the world's x64 server makers this year and very likely a few handfuls of market share, too, AMD's been in a tough spot.
If the company's third quarter numbers are any indication of performance, though, AMD's getting some traction with its Opteron 6100s and is looking forward to a ramp on its Opteron 4100s
Given the aggressiveness of the Intel launches in March - the six-core Westmere-EP Xeon 5600s for two-socket machines and the eight-core Nehalem-EX Xeon 7500s for larger servers - and the enthusiasm with which server makers adopted and pushed boxes based on these chips, just holding steady is winning for AMD at this point.
And with the company losing server market share in the second quarter and probably slipping again in the third quarter when all the market data is fudged up, AMD is looking to grab that share back starting in the fourth quarter.
AMD's twelve-core Magny-Cours Opteron 6100s came out swinging in March for two-socket and four-socket boxes, with very aggressive price/performance compared to the Xeon 5600s and Xeon 7500s, but server makers took their sweet time getting systems out the door.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but mainly it came down to Intel not requiring a chipset or socket change with the Xeon 5600s, which just plugged into the same Xeon 5500 servers. It was easier to put a refreshed Xeon 5600 box into the field than it was to design a new Opteron 6100 machine with AMD's own chipsets, which were not socket compatible with the prior Opteron 2400 or 8400 processors.
In that time, IBM has grown tepid with Opteron-based machines, and only sells one box. Oracle has killed off Sun's Opteron-based servers and is now only selling Xeon-based machines in the Sun Fire line. Fujitsu, meanwhile, has stopped developing new Opteron machines.