Tyan has begun selling its server components - such as mainboards and graphic cards - as ‘Barebone’ systems: rack server units fitted with all necessary components except the processor, memory and hard drive.
While Tyan is traditionally known for the mainboards and graphics cards it pushes through distributors Altec, Rectron and Digicor, its latest strategy is to combine these products in what is almost a complete rack-mounted server solution.
The Barebone erver computing model sees system builders order and stock up on these incomplete rack servers, which include mainboard, chipset, ports, graphic board, power supply and cooling technology. When a customer orders a server, the system builder need only add a processor, memory, hard drive and whatever software is required before shipping to the customer.
“System builders are looking to drive down the time to market for servers,” Tyan’s marketing manager for Europe and Asia Pacific, Victoria Chin, said. “But the prices for things like memory and processors fluctuate too much to pre-build lots of systems. Systems builders would rather just have the Barebones in stock. When the customer orders, the builder is able to quote according to whatever prices the processors and memory is selling at on the day - but can still build the machine very quickly.”
The manufacturer has spent the last 12 months developing the ‘Barebone’ products, which began shipping in May. What most excites Tyan, however, is that within a month it will be able to make available a Barebone system that supports AMD’s new Opteron 64-bit server computing platform.
While Tyan has a strong relationship with Intel (due to the high market share of Intel’s Xeon server processor), Tyan has had some remarkable success with AMD technology of late and is particularly impressed with Opteron. “We feel as though Opteron gives us the opportunity to have our products stand out from our competitors,” Chin said.
AMD’s first foray into 64-bit computing has several marked advantages over Intel’s 64-bit platform, Itanium, he said. Opteron had the price points to attract a wider variety of system builders. And, secondly, while Itanium was a completely new computing platform, Opteron was compatible with the existing prominent x86 platform.
“If AMD gets its pricing structure right, its partners may be able to provide customers with a free upgrade to 64-bit computing,” Chin said.
While this would not hurt Intel at the big end of town, where its OEM relationships would see Itanium accepted without question, other system builders may be swayed, she said.
“If you were a whitebox server builder and you are targeting Government or universities, it is much easier to upgrade them to 64-bit computing if you are with AMD,” Chin said.
Opteron provided AMD with an opportunity to gain market share against its very wealthy and market-leading competitor, she said but AMD needed to invest a lot more in marketing the benefits of Opteron to partners and customers.
“It’s a good platform – but there needs to be more education for systems builders,” Chin said.