AMD's Commercial Program Takes Off

“Once you can demonstrate that AMD processors have a technical advantage over Intel, you are basically locking out Dell at that point,” said Chad Williams, manager of public sector at Matrix Integration, a Jasper, Ind., systems integrator. Dell uses Intel CPUs exclusively in its products, though it will pick up access to AMD-based systems with last week’s announcement of plans to buy Alienware.

Armed with performance information about AMD’s dual-core server processors, Williams was able to beat out Dell in a $400,000 bid to furnish a community college system with servers running 64-bit applications including Exchange.

“We are trying to duplicate that over and over again by bringing in performance differences of AMD over Intel right now,” he said, noting that AMD also has offered financial assistance when the conversation focuses on a price differential.

AMD’s server processors are widely believed to outperform competing chips from Intel, and the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has picked up significant market share in that segment in the past year.

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Bill Nemesi, a brand executive at Mainline Information Systems, said the Tallahassee, Fla., IBM systems integrator is having similar results after working with AMD to place evaluation units in customer sites.

AMD rolled out its first commercial channel program dedicated to VARs and integrators nearly six months ago, promising training, technical support, evaluation units and product bundles as it worked to grab more share. The program started with a handful of solution providers and has since swelled to 500 partners worldwide with the bulk in North America, said Michael O’Brien, director of AMD’s Worldwide Commercial Systems Channel Program.

“There has been zero resistance from VARs and integrators,” O’Brien said. “It is a matter of us going with a value proposition and educating,” he said.

Intel’s chief rival also has been working with distributors to offer bundles to smaller VARs. AMD and Tech Data have been piloting several bundles, such as AMD-based servers with VMware bundled, O’Brien said.

Chris Ferry, executive vice president of Technology Integration Group, San Diego, said AMD has been paying to attend its management training sessions and also has been pushing lead generation through system vendors that use AMD chips.

“This is probably a little more focused right now than what we’ve seen from Intel of late,” Ferry said. “It’s new and it’s a reality in the marketplace.”