Itanium Needs Linux, but Does Linux Need Itanium?

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2006-05-08 Print this article Print

Opinion: Intel's Itanium is a good platform, but unless prices go down, it'll be left on the shelf. (Linux-Watch)

For years now, Ive been hearing about how Intels Itanium platform was going to be the server chip to end all other server chips. It hasnt happened. I dont think it ever will happen. Recently, some of Intels 64-bit Itanium chip allies have been looking to Linux as a way to give the much-maligned architecture a shot in the arm. Theyve been looking at ways to make the chip more interesting to Linux users.
As Joseph Gonzalez, a Gartner analyst, has said, "On the Itanium side, we really dont foresee strong growth during that time. Although it debuted with a lot of hype and fanfare, Itanium hasnt really moved into a commanding role in the server market."
Click here to read about Hewlett-Packards new chip set for Itanium systems. Even when people do predict that Itanium will finally get some traction, they usually damn it with faint praise. IDC recently said it is expecting the Itanium market to grow from $1.4 billion in 2004 to $6.6 billion in 2009—nowhere near initial predictions for the chip, but growth nonetheless. Itanium supporters have suggested that whereas lower-end applications will be run on Intels Xeon or AMDs Opteron chips, the really big Unix apps will move from POWER and SPARC architectures to Linux on Itanium. Will they, now? Read the full story on Linux-Watch: Itanium Needs Linux ... but Does Linux Need Itanium? Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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