Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Pigs Have Flown

As I watched the Live 8 concerts last fall (and later the DVD from the worldwide broadcasts), I was struck by a sign being held by a fan in London's Hyde Park site as Pink Floyd played its historic reunion set: "Pigs have flown."
Of course, Floyd fans know there's a double entendre to that sign; the band was infamous for carting around a giant inflated pig on some of its tours, dating back to its 1977 trek for the Animals album. But it obviously also refers to the once-unthinkable actually happening, and that's kind of how I feel about Dell's long-awaited decision to offer servers with 64-bit Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices driving them. The news caused some ripples on the stock market, notably to Intel's price, which dropped off in the wake of more news of real competition from the upstart AMD. I think that particular cause-and-effect is just a temporary tick--no need to run right out and sell all your Intel holdings, you know?

But the ripples in a couple of other ponds are more noteworthy in my opinion. One is the effect this may have on Dell's own fortunes. The company could use a jolt to its server revenues, which took a year-to-year 2 percent drop in the first quarter of 2006, according to Gartner. We're not used to seeing Dell miss a beat in any of its business areas, but it's been happening lately, and it's possible that the AMD decision may be the cup of coffee that the company could use right now on the server side.

My real interest, though, is in the added choice it'll give to you, the server customer and administrator. Granted, it's not as if you had no way to get a price-competitive AMD server before this. But bringing Dell into the picture virtually guarantees that you can customize a crankin' server for your enterprise, or as many as you need, without killing your budget. And Dell's move into this market segment will also force the competition to be more nimble and inexpensive. The result for you? More power, better efficiency for your business's IT, and all for less outlay.