In addition, HP is unveiling the latest generation of its PA-RISC chips, the PA-8800, a dual-core processor that will be available in all of the 9000 systems by the end of March. Officials said the new chip will improve performance by at least 50 percent and will enable HP to grow its high-end Superdome system from 64 processors to 128. The chip also interfaces directly with the chip set and bus interfaces on Itanium, widening the migratory path for users. Sixty-four-bit computing is becoming an increasingly high-profile subject. AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is pushing the ability of its Opteron and Athlon 64 processors to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. Itanium, via emulation software, also can run 32-bit applications, but at a lower performance level than 64-bit software. Intel and HP co-developed Itanium.At the same time, Intel officials are saying that they probably will offer 64-bit extensions in their 32-bit Xeon and Pentium chips once enough software is released to support it. Industry observers expect Intel to demonstrate systems running chips with 64-bit extensions at its Intel Developer Forum next week. Also as part of its standardization push, HP is introducing a new Enterprise Grid API based on Web services that will enable IT administrators to add or subtract processing power or servers from a virtualized environment, and also is enhancing its OpenCall suite of telecommunications software. In addition, HP is offering migration services programs to help customers move into the new mySAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) software from SAP AG and Microsoft Corp.s Windows Server 2003, and is expanding its program designed to entice customers away from Sun.
However, HP officials have said that while they are still committed to the IA-32 and Itanium platforms, they have heard customer requests for 64-bit x86 computing and are keeping their options open. All that is fueling rumors that HP will use Opteron chips in ProLiant systems later this year.