Advanced Micro Devices'

(AMD) - Get Report

strategy for moving into the blade server market is on schedule, as the company said its dual-core processors will help with performance and heat issues currently surrounding the server market's fastest-growing segment.

Ben Williams, vice president of servers and workstations at AMD, said the number of blade platforms based on AMD's Opteron chips will grow by a magnitude of five to six times by the year's end from February, when


(HPQ) - Get Report

introduced its first Opteron-based blades.

Williams said AMD's dual-core processors will be the real catalyst for the blade market because of their heat efficiency and performance boost.

Blade servers are more cost-efficient and less power-hungry than traditional servers used to control business computing needs, such as transaction management, Internet traffic control and data storage. The blades slide vertically into a server shell, which can hold multiple blades, and can be easily swapped in and out.

Blades with Xeon processors from


(INTC) - Get Report

dominate the market, but AMD is gaining traction. Williams cited Opteron-based blade offerings from


, which previously was an Intel-only shop, as an indication of this.

Among the largest hardware vendors other than H-P,


(IBM) - Get Report

has stated it will come out with an Opteron-based blade, and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

is developing a blade offering for Opteron.


(DELL) - Get Report

remains beholden to Intel.

Sun's blade offering could be interesting. It will come out of a development project known as Galaxy that Sun Co-Founder and Chief Architect Andy Bechtolsheim has been working on.

"The performance numbers we are seeing are out of this world," said Larry Singer, vice president of global information systems strategy with Sun, referring to its hush-hush new blade design.