Intel Changes Direction on Next-Generation Itanium Platform
The "Kittson" chip will be 32nm, rather than 22nm, and will not be socket-compatible with Intel's Xeons, fueling questions about Itanium's future.Intel officials are changing some of the goals they have for the next generation of their high-end Itanium platform, a move brought on by declining demand in the Unix server market and changing requirements of OEMs using Itanium, which essentially means Hewlett-Packard. Intel issued a brief, one-paragraph notice on its Website Jan. 31 announcing that the next version of the Itanium—code-named Kittson and which is still two to three years from being released—will be built on the 32-nanometer manufacturing process rather than 22nm, which had been the earlier plan. At the same time, Kittson will not be socket-compatible with Intel's x86-based Xeon server chips. Instead, it will be socket-compatible with the existing Itanium 9300 Tukwila and 9500 Poulson processors. The 9500 Series was introduced in November 2012, and HP introduced enhanced Itanium servers at the same time. "The modular development model, which converges on a common Intel Xeon/Intel Itanium socket and motherboard, will be evaluated for future implementation opportunities," Intel officials said in the notice.
The future of the controversial Itanium platform has been debated for years—most recently during a heated legal dispute between HP and enterprise software giant Oracle—and the changes to the plans for Kittson will only fuel further debate, though an Intel spokesman told eWEEK that changes to some of Kittson's characteristics don't mean changes to the road map; the chip is still expected to hit the market within two to three years.