Competitors Dismiss Itaniums Momentum

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2006-03-02 Print this article Print

Competitors dismissed the notion of a growing momentum behind Itanium. An IBM spokesperson said Itanium cant be considered a standard if one company, HP, accounted for more than 80 percent of the revenue for the platform.
IBM has given Itanium lukewarm support, and Sun Microsystems doesnt use it. Dell last fall stopped selling its Itanium-based PowerEdge systems.
A number of second-tier companies, however—including Unisys, NEC Solutions America, Fujitsu Technology Solutions and Bull—are bringing many parts of their high-end systems onto the platform. Larry Singer, senior vice president and strategic insight officer for Sun, said there was little meat to Itaniums story. "Im not sure if there is anything new except HP and Intel trying to bang the drum louder," he said. Otellini said the next version of Itanium—dubbed "Montecito"—will bring significant improvements when its released in the middle of the year, about six months after it was supposed to be released. The new chip will offer two cores per processor, hardware-enabled virtualization and HyperThreading, and will give users double the performance and more than twice the power efficiency of previous chips. Montecito, he said, "is the machine weve been waiting for. This will help us accelerate the adoption curve." An HP spokesperson said the company had an aggressive road map planned for its Integrity systems this year, including rolling out new Montecito-based systems this summer, new Integrity blade systems with multiple operating system capabilities, and improved four-socket servers. In addition, HP Integrity Virtual Machines will support Windows, Linux and OpenVMS, along with HP-UX 11i, and a new release of HP-UX will offer more dynamic reconfiguration and management capabilities. "Were going to get aggressive in the marketplace," Hurd said. As an example of how this plays out for customers, Bucks County Community College, in Newtown, Pa., is continuing to invest in its Itanium platform. The college currently runs six HP Integrity systems, including four that run HP-UX and two others that run Windows applications, said Doug Burak, director of IT security for the college. The key for him in the future will be continued software support, he said. The college currently is running its Colleague and Benefactor administrative applications from Datatel on a PA-RISC rp5405 system because at the time of deployment they werent certified on Itanium. Now they are. "Ive got to have the software that will run on [Itanium]," Burak said. He praised the performance and the reliability of the systems, saying that since bringing the bulk of them to the college three years ago, the only problem has been a hard drive failing. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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