AMD can't say it, but Istanbul, its six-core, 45-nanometer processor, is ready. It's a drop-in replacement for the quad-core Shanghai, meaning that existing AMD servers can get a 50 percent boost in workload capacity per square foot, per BTU, per decibel, per kilowatt. Measure workload according to your application: virtual machine instances, database or Web server processes, concurrent document rendering nodes for a mobile cloud, or simultaneous Terminal Server connections.
Istanbul is destined to become the immediate darling of high-performance computing clusters, science and technology, research, entertainment, and high-end shops that want an affordable, secure, broadly scalable, future-proof architecture. In the current climate where smaller IT budgets must be allocated with far greater care, wise strategy requires taking cues from shops that impose the highest standards on their equipment.
Istanbul scales up, compactly and efficiently, to an astonishing 48 cores in a single chassis. The interconnect logic is built into all Opteron processors, so a 48-core (eight-socket) system design is barely more complex than a 24-core, four-socket server. This has a direct bearing on IT: Fewer parts means lower acquisition cost, faster availability of new systems, reduced likelihood of failure, and much lower costs of parts inventory. What the most demanding server customers want should be a template for IT evaluation criteria. The size of the organization is irrelevant if the cost scales with the capacity of the server.
Boosting the bus
In IT, Istanbul is more likely to be seen in two- and four-socket (2P and 4P) rack servers and workstations. My opinion may not fit your organization, but I think that the sweet spot for Istanbul servers will be 4P. There, Opteron system design innovation becomes highly relevant. For example, the boosted HyperTransport 3 (HT3) bus will create an enormous amount of headroom even in 8P servers.