Smelling blood in the water, a revitalized AMD is preparing for a big push against Intel in the data center, hoping to win back the market share it gained and lost a decade ago.\nAMD is promoting its Epyc processors, with 16 or 32 cores, as a lower TCO, higher performance option than Intel\u2019s Xeon. It argues a single-socket 32-core server is cheaper up front and in the long run than a dual socket setup, which is Intel\u2019s bread and butter.\n\u201cWe\u2019re not saying single socket is for everyone, but at the heart of the market is where 50 percent to 80 percent are 32 cores per server and down, and our top single socket can do it more efficiently with lower costs and licensing. But in some cases some people will want to stay at two-socket,\u201d said Glen Keels, director of product and segment marketing for data center products at AMD.\n\nStill lots of virtual machines\nAMD cites IDC figures that state six out of 10 two-socket servers that are virtualized should be upgraded in the next 12 months. Servers, AMD noted, are staying deployed longer, going from the usual three years to up to five years. That increases the likelihood of breakage while deployed, necessitating an emergency fix.\nWhen compared against a two-socket Intel Xeon 5118, with 12 cores per CPU, AMD claims 10 one-socket servers are still almost half the three-year TCO as 14 two-socket servers with 64 percent of the licensing costs and 2.8 times the VM density. That\u2019s because VMware charges per socket, Keels said.\nPitching on-premises hardware may seem like an uphill battle, but AMD said its models show server sales will continue out to 2022. \u201cThat\u2019s when we\u2019ll cross over 50-50 on-prem\/off-prem mark, but customers are still investing heavily in on-prem virtual infrastructure,\u201d said Keels.\nWhat they are tending to not invest in is expanding or upgrading data center facilities. For now, they are making due with the space they have and the power and cooling they have. And when they run out of space, they will move to a hosted or managed environment or public cloud, he added.\nIntel price cuts\nThe pitch is apparently being heard. ServeTheHome, a news and reviews site for server hardware, claims it's heard from \u201ca number of customers" that Intel is giving significant discounts for its Xeon processors looking at Epyc and in quantities well below 1,000-unit trays, which means it\u2019s not just to its largest customers.\n"A key trigger seems to be an organization\u2019s willingness to adopt AMD Epyc. Our advice, if you are buying even as few as 50 to 100 servers, is to get an AMD Epyc system quote from your reseller. Doing so seems to be the trigger for Intel\u2019s discount approvals," STH writes.\nIntel has another reason to be worried. A new vulnerability has emerged called Foreshadow. It\u2019s similar to the Spectre\/Meltdown vulnerabilities in that it\u2019s baked into the silicon and the software fix has a significant performance impact.\nIntel chips use a feature called Software Guard Extensions, or SGX, which allows programs to establish so-called secure enclaves within Intel processors. These are areas of the chip, in its L1 cache, that are cordoned off to run code that the computer's operating system can't access or change.\n(You know what\u2019s coming next, right?)\nWell, a group of researchers from five academic institutions around the world found a way to bypass SGX\u2019s defenses. They call it Foreshadow. To defeat it, the scheduler in the L1 cache has to be turned off so one VM can\u2019t harvest the contents of another. Doing so has a performance impact of up to 30 percent, and since Epyc doesn\u2019t use SGX, it\u2019s immune.\nWhen in Rome\nAMD\u2019s next-generation Epyc processor is codenamed \u201cRome,\u201d and while AMD is mum on it save for few details, such as a ship date of next year, stats are starting to leak. For starters, the 64-core Rome processor will be built (in a lot of days) on a 7nm manufacturing process. While AMD\u2019s usual chip manufacturing partner GlobalFoundries has given up on getting to 7nm, Taiwanese manufacturing giant TSMC has made it work and will begin producing 7nm Rome processors next year.\nAnd Rome looks like an absolute beast, if leaked benchmarks are any indication. A site called Chip Hell released a benchmark showing a prototype Rome processor performing 10 times faster than a high-end Intel Xeon. However, this is one site, and I don\u2019t know its track record. But it looks like a doosy if true.