Feeds

Itanium inventor bobs to surface as chip's savior?

Secure64 to the rescue

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Exclusive Some start-ups are comprised of wide-eyed wheelers and dealers with little technical expertise. Others have a decent mix of business types and technology talents. Then there are start-ups like Secure64 Software Corp. that have nothing but the richest pedigree of pure, unadulterated genius running through their giddy veins.

The discovery of Secure64 happened by chance. The company's CEO Peter Cranstone took exception with one of The Register's Itanium bashing articles and sent an e-mail extolling the possible virtues of the chip. This e-mail led to a brief look at Secure64's management team website at which point jaws dropped and little hamsters started turning in heads.

Without slighting other members of the Secure64 team, we have to admit that one name in particular caught our attention - Bill Worley, the startup's CTO. Worley worked on a couple of minor projects during his lengthy tenure at HP. Little things like being the principal architect of the PA-RISC processor and later the principal architect of PA-WideWord - known today as Itanium. Worley, however, didn't just do the initial Itanium designs, he also led the decision, in 1993, to unite HP and Intel behind the project. High-end computing has never been the same since - for better or for worse. And few engineers have a more impressive resume.

Along with Worley, Secure64 has Cranstone, who co-developed the mod_gzip data compression technology for the Apache web server. Its Chariman is Denny Georg, former CTO of various parts of HP. Its VP of Product Delivery is Joe Gersch who once managed HP's research and development organization.

But, as they say late at night, that's not all.

Larry Hambly, one of the first 100 employees at Sun Microsystems, also sits on Secure64's advisory board along with Rajiv Gupta - the former GM of HP's e-Speak web services unit and former head of the joint HP/Intel Itanium development team.

Just an inconsequential, revolutionary OS

So what unambitious project are all these brains working on? Well, just the creation of an abstracted type of operating system that could create faster, more stable, more secure servers.

At present, Secure64 has declined requests for interviews with CEO Cranstone saying the company will have a formal launch early next year. This makes it a bit difficult to know exactly what the company is up to. Thankfully, Worley has applied for a couple of patents that give a decent idea of the direction Secure64 is taking.

At the heart of Worley's recent work is the notion that general purpose operating systems such as Unix, Linux and Windows don't make the best use of specific features in processors - namely features in Itanium. The general purpose nature of today's server market means that systems perform well on a wide-variety of applications, but the boxes aren't tuned as well as they could be for specific tasks.

In the past, any number of companies have taken a stab at this problem by creating server appliances designed to handle a small subset of applications. Most of these appliances relied on sophisticated software to make them different from the average server. Of late, other companies have been trying to tackle the general purposeness of servers with various add-ons. Products such as TCP/IP and SSL accelerators have arrived to speed up the performance of boxes in specific areas.

The appliances and accelerators have largely been aimed at web edge types of workloads - things like serving up web pages, processing web services protocols and encryption. While load balancers and some security appliances have been picked up a decent rate, most of these types of products really haven't enjoyed much interest.

The boys at Secure64 appear to think they've figured out a way to make a web edge system more attractive to customers.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.