HP, Intel Talk Up Itanium

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2003-09-15

HP, Intel Talk Up Itanium

With sales of Intel Corp.s Itanium processor on the rise, the chip maker and Hewlett-Packard Co. together are looking to entice more enterprises to 64-bit computing with new systems and a glimpse at the Itanium road map.

At the Intel Developer Forum this week in San Jose, Calif., HP will demonstrate two midrange Itanium-based servers. At the same time, Intel executives will disclose more details about the future road map of the 3-year-old chip. The disclosure will come a week after the Santa Clara,Calif., company began expanding the Itaniums range, rolling out two low-power, low-cost chips aimed at the low-end server and workstation space.

HP this fall will fill out its server line with new eight- or 16-way midrange servers based on Itanium 2 processors, company officials in Palo Alto, Calif., said. An HP spokeswoman said the company will release the names and pricing of the systems at a later date.

For its part, Intel will outline plans for its 64-bit processors, including Tanglewood, an Itanium chip that would feature multiple cores on a single piece of silicon. While Intel officials have declined to discuss the project, one analyst said the plan could result in a new set of products for the company and OEMs.

"It would have higher processing power and lower prices [than current chips]," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for The Enderle Group, also in San Jose.

In addition, Intel will lay out a BIOS updated for modular 32- and 64-bit computing, Chief Technology Officer Pat Gelsinger said. The Tiano project BIOS rewrites the spaghetti code of previous BIOSes that were based on 8- and 16-bit processing and presents it in a modular format. It will enable such things as multiprocessing, plug-and-play RAID and secure booting, Gelsinger said.

Next page: AMD puts the pressure on Intel.

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Intel needs to give users a clear idea of where the Itanium processors are going, especially given the increased competition presented by other chips. In particular, Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s 64-bit Opteron chip runs 32-bit applications better than Itanium and comes at a competitive price.

AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., last week rolled out two Opteron models, the 146 for one-processor servers and workstations and the 846 for four- and eight-way systems.

Opteron 146 goes head-to-head with Intels fastest. Check out ExtremeTechs review.

Sales of Itanium-based systems have ramped up to more than 6,000 in the first six months of this year, according to International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. At the same time, the number of software applications that can run on Itanium-based systems has grown to some 700 and is expected to reach 1,000 by years end, according to an HP official.

David Meacham is looking forward to bringing Itanium-based systems into his data center and learning more about Intels plans. Delaware North Companies Inc., where Meacham is director of IT, runs its PeopleSoft Inc. applications on an HP Superdome server powered by 32 PA-RISC chips. However, later next year the Buffalo, N.Y., company will migrate those applications and others running on various smaller Intel-based systems onto an Itanium-based HP Superdome server.

"When you take a look at the scope of what were running, you see that the majority of our single-[application] systems are in [Windows] NT and Windows," Meacham said. "Were now looking at a consolidation project. How do we cut down on the number of servers?"

The Itanium-based Superdome not only will enable Delaware North to reduce the number of servers by bringing those applications onto a single system but also will be able to run Windows, Linux and Unix applications simultaneously.

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