An alliance is due to be struck between IBM and AMD that will deepen the ties between them, and lead to more of IBM's servers being Opteron-powered, according to one report.

IBM did not deny that such an agreement was on the cards.

If true, it boosts AMD at expense of Intel, which has been on the back foot over recent years and is starting to become encircled by the developments of open source communities.

Colluders include IBM, AMD, Red Hat and VMware among others, whose aim is to break the stranglehold on the x86 platform that Microsoft and Intel have maintained over the last couple of decades.

Evidence that this approach has rattled Intel is suggested by a recent speech given by Intel chip supremo Pat Gelsinger, who laid into AMD, saying that Intel's approach of boosting the speed of the front-side bus and enlarging memory caches was a better approach than his rival's trumpeted on-chip memory controller, which runs at chip speed.

Then he said that Intel would "do it at some point," acknowledging that HyperThreading, which was dropped on the introduction of dual-core processors, would make a reappearance.

The agreement, on which neither AMD nor IBM would comment -- on neither substance nor timing -- looks set to deepen existing ties.

For example, AMD licenses IBM's silicon on insulator technology, which allows it to produce chips that run cooler than Intel's at similar performance levels.

AMD was also first to market with crucial technology such as 64-bit computing, and looks set to maintain its performance per watt advantage in the next generation of processors.

Additionally, the Opteron due for launch next month will include new virtualisation features and an easy upgrade path to quad-core -- see Techworld's upcoming feature on these developments, to be published next week.

However, IBM's use of Opteron has largely been at its higher end machines which Intel's chips sit in the more mainstream models.

Meanwhile, HP has gained share as a result of using Opteron chips -- and now IBM has decided to do something about it if the reports of a new agreement hold true.

With no firm details, we can speculate that the deal could revolve around AMD's Torrenza, the codename for an open hyper-transport interface that AMD is licensing, and to which over 50 companies have signed up, according to AMD.

This could allow the development of more powerful multi-processor machines, an area in which IBM already a large stake.

We will bring you more on this agreement over the next few days.