HP Outlines Itanium Ecosystem

HP says 300 applications are being ported to Itanium 2, with more on the way.

As Advanced Micro Devices Inc. gears up to release its 64-bit Opteron workstation and server chip next week, Hewlett-Packard Co. on Wednesday outlined the ecosystem that has grown around Intel Corp.s 64-bit offering, Itanium.

HP, which co-developed Itanium and makes four-way servers powered by the chip, announced that software makers continue to migrate their offerings to the Palo Alto, Calif., companys Itanium 2-based server platform. HP also said that the California Institute of Technologys Center for Advanced Computer Research is using 17 two-way Itanium 2-based rx2600 servers as part of its supercomputer cluster called TeraGrid.

"There already are 300 applications being ported" to Itanium 2, said John Miller, director of server marketing for HPs Business Critical Systems Group. "Theres been continued development of the Itanium ecosystem."

Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., is scheduled to launch the next generation of the Itanium chip, code-named Madison, this summer.

Miller said 11 new software makers, including Iona Technologies Inc., SeeBeyond Technology Corp., Sybase Inc. and webMethods Inc., recently said they will port applications to the new architecture. Already major software vendors like Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. are supporting Itanium.

And, he said, the California research institution buying the Itanium 2-based systems for its scientific research grid is further validation of Itanium.

AMD next week will launch Opteron, the server and workstation version of its 64-bit Hammer architecture. The Athlon 64 chip, for desktops, is due for release in September.

Officials with the Sunnyvale, Calif., company have been touting the chips ability to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications as a key differentiator from Intel processors. Itanium is a different architecture that is optimized to run 64-bit applications. Intels Xeon chips is geared for 32-bit jobs.

However, industry observers say Opteron, built right now for one- to eight-way servers, initially will play in the 32-bit space against Xeon rather than on the higher end against Itanium.

Still, AMD has received some good support for Opteron recently. Microsoft earlier this month said it will launch versions of Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 tailored to Opteron, and Sun Microsystems Inc. late last month said it was looking at Opteron to run 64-bit x86 applications.

Most Recent Stories by Jeffrey Burt: