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HP takes on RISC with Itanium 2 gambit

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HP threw its weight behind Itanium 2 processors yesterday with the launch of a range of Integrity servers based on Intel's Madison chip. It also debuted a pay-per-use pricing policy for Windows, improved virtualisation software and support for a fourth operating system, OpenVMS 8.2.

The systems vendor is hoping to persuade customers to replace IBM mainframes and Sun systems with a new range high-end and mid-range server-computers running a faster version of Intel's controversial Itanium chip. Through this high stakes gamble, HP hopes to carve out a greater share of the $20bn market served by RISC processors.

A range of HP Integrity servers based on Itanium is available now with support for HP-UX 11i v2, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, OpenVMS and Linux operating systems (Red Hat and Novell SuSE). The range runs from the 2-way HP Integrity rx1620-2 server for $4,119 through 8-way, 16-way and 32-way versions of the server up to the beefy HP Integrity Superdome server at $185,252.

All aboard

The product announcements come a month after Intel agreed to hire HP's Itanium design team, ending a joint development project by the two companies on Itanium that has lasted ten years. Despite this, HP remains committed to the platform. It has agreed to invest a further $3bn in Itanium-related product development over the next three years.

HP said its HP Integrity server business brought in $1bn in sales last year. It also announced a number of HP Integrity server customers, including The Bank of New York, PREMIER Bankcard and CRI/Criterion, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell group.

The products, launched yesterday, will be formally announced at a webcast featuring HP chief executive Carly Fiorina and executive vice president Ann Livermore later today. ®

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