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The long-awaited port of HP's OpenVMS to Intel's Itanium is set for full release next year, as are plans to move Tru64 Unix features into HP-UX. The announcements came as HP introduced its new Alpha servers, based on the EV7 chip, plus a strategy to migrate Alpha users to Itanium servers over the next three to eight years.

John Bennett, HP's marketing manager for Alpha worldwide, said that there will be a binary translator to help move OpenVMS applications from Alpha to Itanium. He added that mixed clusters will be supported; it will even be possible to mix Alpha, Itanium and Vax servers in the same cluster.

"We will have a version of OpenVMS on HP Itanium for early adopters later this year, with complete functionality during 2004, but Alpha customers are cautious so I don't expect wide adoption until 2005," he said. "In time we will be able to run OpenVMS on our blade servers and on Superdome."

Bennett said the Tru64 roadmap includes just two more significant releases. HP will take core Tru64 technologies, such as its clusterwide file system and single system image capability, and put them into HP-UX. "We will enhance the clustering on all HP-UX systems by the second half of 2004," he said.

EV7 is now confirmed as the last full iteration of the Alpha processor, although an EV79 upgrade is due late next year. HP says it will carry on selling Alpha until 2006 and will support it until 2011, though it expects users to have moved to Itanium by then.

"I think that by 2005, Itanium as a processor and system will provide a step forward in performance for our customers," Bennett said. He added that no matter what operating system they run, HP's Itanium systems will all come out of the Business Critical Systems Division, which is the group currently building Alpha servers.

However, he refused to be drawn on the possibility of selling OpenVMS for use on non-HP Itanium systems, and denied that its advanced clustering capability would threaten HP's Windows server business or its relationship with Microsoft. ®

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