Tomorrow, I'll be recording my interview (for podcast) of AMD's director of commercial software marketing Margaret Lewis. Lewis is AMD's chief strategist on the software side but probably has enough awareness of what's going on elswhere in the company that just about anything can be asked of her. Several issues are on my short list of questions. For example, up to and including the relatively recent introduction of 32/64 hybrid processor technologies, Intel and AMD's x86 line ups have been very code compatible thereby easing the burdens that developers would have to bear if their code must branch to deal with incompatibilities. In other words:
But, looking at some of the newer companion technologies that both companies (Intel and AMD) are building into their processors -- technologies for virtualization and security -- there's a clear divergence in compatibility that's likely to give developers headaches (it's the same sort of headache that Web developers have when trying to support both Internet Explorer and Firefox in their code). So, one of my questions will have to do why that is, what AMD is planning to do to make that burden easier to bear, and what developers have to say about it.
Scaling up versus scaling out is another question I have. Today, many "systems integrators" like Dell rely on the R&D of companies like Intel and AMD to decide how far up their technologies will scale before customers are forced to scale out. Only a few server vendors know how to get to 8, 16, 32 or more processors on their own. In his recent blog, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz raises a fair point about impact of scale-out strategies on energy consumption. So, I'm hoping Lewis can address AMD's plans there as well.
Do you have questions? Let me know using the comments section below and I'll try to squeeze them in.