Meanwhile, AMD seems tired of being just the overlord of the power workstation and super-gamer crowd. The company has set its sights on the server market in a big way with the release of the OPMA specification. That awkward mouthful now defines a common hardware interface between the server and its hardware subsystem management components, including server management controller cards, NICs, and even the system busses running between sensors and the servers' CPUs.
The technology benefits of the new specification are good, including increased management functionality, even at the software level, and better system manageability with less adverse effect on overall system performance, and on BIOS performance in particular. Question is, coming from AMD, can OPMA compete with the King Kong of server gorillas that Intel has become?
Again, I think the answer is less related to CPU hardware than it is to software support. If server management vendors, and especially a certain server operating system vendor from the rainy Northwest, decide to support OPMA with tangible features in existing products, then OPMA will become a viable criteria in server purchasing -- although still not as popular as Intel for quite some time. But without that critical third-party software support, OPMA will wind up as solitary as Itanium in a very short time.
For Microsoft, though, the news means all smiles. Both OPMA and Intel's new x64 CPUs simply mean better software sales for Redmond, as long as the company gets its act together on XP Pro x64's compatibility issues. The headaches are reserved for us when it comes time for testing, purchasing, and implementation.