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Forrest Norrod On Why AMD EPYC 'Rome Kicks A**'

‘There's a class of customers for whom I think they're going to really be surprised to see how much this thing kicks a** in Java,’ says AMD Senior Vice President Forrest Norrod.

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What is your strategy for winning market share with second-generation EPYC Rome?

I think we're pretty open with it. Look, the fastest adoption is in areas where our advantage is most acute and where the purchase decisions are most influenced by the technical attributes of the product. So I would say that is certainly [high-performance compute], cloud, hosting, any sort of massive scale-out deployment, where it's either for HPC, where the system is a core part of the mission, or it's for hosting or cloud, where the cluster is essentially the factory.

And so those are the areas where we expect to see the most rapid ramp. But Rome is quite broad in its applicability. I want to ramp quickly in those segments with that strategy, and then I want to make sure that we're simultaneously investing such that the longer-to-adopt, but more stable, less lumpy, business builds up quickly over the next several quarters as well.

Scott Alylor, corporate vice president of data center products, was talking about how AMD is trying to get its foot in the door with emerging workloads, and the idea is that you get into those workloads and then, for instance, the hyper-converged infrastructure folks in the same company hear about the processors and that ideally leads to expansion. Is that part of the strategy?

Yeah. By the way, that's a great example. There's a large automotive manufacturer where we got in on the product design side and the modeling side in their HPC cluster, and now we're everywhere, even on Naples [first-generation EPYC]. So I think he's absolutely right: getting in with either an emerging workload or a workload for which you've got the greatest affinity and then work to broaden it out.

Because, particularly, when we get a part like Rome, the thing that will slow us down more than anything else at this point is unfamiliarity: [People who are] concerned about, ‘Oh, it looks great, is it really safe?’ And, ‘This is my IT infrastructure for the company. I want to save money, and I want to run fast, but [running on AMD is an unknown].’ It's a legitimate concern.

If they haven't been buying AMD, it's a legitimate concern. We and our OEMs need to work to overcome it, but it's rational.

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