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Is There A Santa Claus?

AMD always does well when LinuxWorld rolls around, and this week is no exception. The first major upgrade of its flagship mid- and large-market server processor, the Opteron, sees AMD well on the path to quad-core processing. And it guarantees that 2007 will be the year of 4x, as both AMD and rival Intel vie to get you to toss out relatively inefficient and energy-draining single-core machines in favor of quads that will cut your costs in energy and time.
Which means plenty of back-room pitches and frontal media assaults in San Francisco as I write. Certainly, AMD rolled out its forces to explain what you're getting with the new Opteron, and Intel is making its case as well. Plenty of you are there now, gathering information for what may be a trickier decision than many think. Did I say a mere three weeks ago that you wouldn't be able to resist the allure of the four-core processor in your servers? Yes, and indeed I meant that. But I also understand that your overall business has to be healthy for your CEO and CFO to give the go-ahead on major new spending. The old saying is that you have to spend a buck to make a buck, and I still maintain that this is one case where that's true. But the complete corporate outlook is ultimately going to determine whether you get to make the changeover, you're still going to have to compete for resources with every other department in your building, and that's all assuming that you want to put yourself through another round of upgrade hell.

I've said many times on this blog that the server market is not an insulated piece of IT utopia, but part of the general economy -- and even a signpost for it. There's still a war on (and plenty of people who seem to want another), a gas crunch that doesn't want to budge down from $3 per gallon, a major American city and port in some still-dire circumstances, and plenty of other indicators that the brakes may be applied to spending. If you went to LinuxWorld, that's not a bad sign; at least you got the go-ahead to go see some new toys. Whether they're under the tree before the year's over is something that has yet to be determined.