Hundreds of customers worldwide depend on the on-demand computing, application-hosting, and IT operations services that Data Return provides. What they're really counting on, though, is a continuously high level of performance and reliability from Data Return's servers. To give its customers—many of whom run transaction-intensive Microsoft SQL Server applications—the best performance for the lowest cost, Data Return includes in its three data centers HP Pro-Liant DL585 servers based on the 4-way AMD dual-core Opteron processor, winner of the 2006 Readers' Choice Best New Product award.

Jason Lochhead, Data Return's principal architect and cofounder, first checked out the AMD Opteron two years ago. Jason was impressed by the Opteron's benchmarks, which showed a 20 to 30 percent performance improvement over previous-generation Intel processors, and the x64 processor's 32-bit compatibility. "Our customers can continue to run their 32-bit applications and experience greater performance levels, and when they're ready they can migrate to 64-bit applications without making any changes or incurring additional expense," says Jason. "And the Opteron's dual-core processor technology lets our customers get twice the horsepower without having to buy a new server or additional software licenses. They can simply replace single-core CPUs with dualcore processors."

Data Return customers also benefit from the Opteron processors' low power consumption relative to their performance. Opteron performs better than many of its competitors but requires the same or lower power levels, which lets Data Return "maintain or even increase rack intake and pass the cost and space savings on to our customers," Jason says.

Data Return has traditionally used best-of-breed name-brand servers to provide its managed services, which are geared toward enterprise-class operations. AMD Opteron–based servers now make up some of the standard platforms for Data Return's managed hosting service. "We find that many of our customers choose AMD because the price-performance ratio is so great," he says.

Data Return is using Opteron technology in its recently launched Infinistructure product, a next-generation virtual computing platform that runs several Windows virtual machines (VMs) on Opteron processors. "All the things that AMD touts as advantages are things that we see as being real-world advantages. And I think we have AMD to thank for pushing 64-bit technology into the mainstream and increasing interest in 64-bit," says Jason.

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