HP and IBM Building Midsize Itanium Servers

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2003-11-03
 
 
 

Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM are rolling out new midsize servers that offer enterprises the greater memory benefits of Intel Corp.s 64-bit Itanium processor without the expense of a big 64-processor system.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., this week will unveil three systems in its Itanium-based Integrity line to complement its 64-processor Integrity Superdome. The four-processor rx4640, eight-processor rx7620 and 16-processor rx8620 will be powered by Intels 1.5GHz Itanium 2 chips.

Users will be able to partition the rx7620 and rx8620 systems to run Linux, Windows Server 2003 and HP-UX 11i simultaneously. Next year or in 2005, the Integrity systems will support OpenVMS as well, officials said.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., in the next month will roll out a scalable version of its eServer x450 Itanium-based systems that extends existing two- and four-processor servers, officials said. The x450 update will scale up to 16 processors by adding modules of four processors and 56GB of memory at a time. The goal is to enable larger enterprises to scale their Itanium systems in response to demand.

Financial institution CitiStreet LLC is migrating its applications from PA-RISC-based servers to Itanium-based Superdomes; it plans to deploy some eight- and 16-processor Integrity servers for offices outside of its Quincy, Mass., headquarters, said CIO Barry Strasnick. All those servers, which will be online next quarter, will run HP-UX.

CitiStreet expects to see significant performance gains by moving to the Itanium and is working with software developers to ensure that key applications can run on the chip. Most of these, including Oracle Corp.s database and IBMs Tivoli management software, already are geared for the Itanium or are scheduled to be pointed in that direction, Strasnick said.

"Were confident that [Itanium-tuned software] will be there soon from the major players," Strasnick said. "The third-party players realize [Itanium is] going to be a player in the enterprise."

In addition to the performance benefit, the Itanium will provide another bonus, since most software vendors base licenses on the number of processors rather than their speed. This enables a company such as CitiStreet to ramp up the frequency of its chips and do more work without having to increase the number of processors—thus saving on licensing costs, Strasnick said.

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