Feeds

Itanium: 'A special cause for optimism'

Stop laughing - there was growth in 2008

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

With the quad-core "Tukwila" Itanium processors coming out sometime around the middle of this year, the Itanium Solutions Alliance, the consortium of hardware and software vendors that peddle Itanium-based products, has dusted off the Itanium drum and begun banging on it.

If there is one thing that you can probably say about processor architectures here in early 2009, it is that Itanium and Sparc have been for years tied for the position as the next chip to go, but this has changed. Sun Microsystems' declining fortunes and impending acquisition by Oracle probably makes the future of Itanium, relative to Sparc at least, seem somewhat rosy.

But this is a bit like the old joke about bears: Itanium only has to outrun Sun if it wants to keep from being eaten by the grizzly, but when and if that happens - and I know all about Oracle's internal pep talk about how it will keep Sun's hardware business going, which it has to do in the short-term but most certainly does not need to do in the long term - Itanium will be the next thing that the bear eats before it gets to IBM's Power architecture.

If Itanium wants to outlive Power, what Intel and HP really need to pray for is that the x64 chip takes away all those game console deals from Big Blue. They need embedded x64 chips, like the Atom, to take off as an alternative to embedded PowerPC chips, too. IBM better stop and tie its sneakers if it wants to outrun that grizzly.

This morning, the Itanium Solutions Alliance put out a statement with some vague numbers showing the strength of the Itanium server platform in 2008. By IDC's reckoning of the server space in the fourth quarter, shipments of Itanium-based machines rose by 18 per cent and it was the seventh straight quarter of sales that crested above $1bn for the Itanium server category.

Data from Gartner's report covering 2008's server sales indicated that Itanium machines outgrew RISC-based alternatives in terms of sales and shipments, growing share in each category.

"While the server business is certainly mired in difficult times, the multifaceted community that surrounds Itanium-based systems has special cause for optimism," said Joan Jacobs, president and executive director of the Itanium Solutions Alliance, in a statement released this morning before anyone on the West coast of the States was awake to field any questions.

She continued: "Even as the performance and scalability of x86 architectures make great progress, the inherent strengths of Itanium-based technology will continue to prove irreplaceable for mission-critical enterprise workloads, including large-scale databases and data warehousing; for the inevitable migration away from costly mainframes; and for intensive applications that rely on parallel processing, large memories and complicated algorithms."

The irony, of course, is that HP partnered with Intel to create a broader, more modern, 64-bit chip architecture that everyone would inevitably move to, and what Itanium has been relegated to is exactly the same market niche that IBM's mainframes and, to a certain extent its i-based Power Systems proprietary midrange computers, have been pushed into.

In a blog posting, Eddie Toh, the platform marketing manager at Intel's Asia/Pacific operations based in Singapore, said that Itanium had eclipsed Sparc in the region based on IDC data. Toh said that Itanium system revenue in the AP region was up 40 per cent in 2008, while Power-based systems only saw 4 per cent revenue growth and Sparc sales fell by 19 per cent.

Worldwide, Toh added, Itanium "systems" grew by 18 percent (presumably he meant shipments, matching the above cited data, and presumably for the full year, not the fourth quarter only), while Power server shipments fell by 22 per cent and Sparc shipments fell by 10 per cent.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Next page: HP to the rescue!

More from The Register

next story
Cray-cray Met Office spaffs £97m on VERY AVERAGE HPC box
Only 250th most powerful in the world? Bring back Michael Fish
UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines
DCMS seeks lowering of legal threshold to fight rogue firms
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.