Feeds

Intel drags feet on Itanium quad-core (again)

No Tukwila this Tuesday. Or even this year

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

"A special cause for optimism"

Sun Microsystems was first, then Dell and IBM, and now Unisys is on the fence and emphasizing Xeons and mainframe iron. NEC and Hitachi are awfully quiet about their Itanium plans as they are suffering huge losses, and Fujitsu has put it plain as it ate the Siemens systems business in Europe at the end of March that Xeon servers would be its preferred platform, with Sparc and mainframes getting honorable mentions and Itanium getting less than that.

No wonder, then, that a few weeks ago the Itanium Solutions Alliance, the club of Itanium hardware and software suppliers that acts as the official cheerleader for the Itanium chip, was saying that the Itanium was "a special cause for optimism". This was the ISA doing damage control ahead of the delay they knew about.

I don't think Itanium is going away, but I do think that continuing delays with Tukwila are hurting HP. As did the delays in IBM's Power5+ and Power6 processors, and the anemic performance boost that IBM got from Power6+, as did Sun's delays and then killing off of the "Millennium" UltraSparc-V and the delays with the "Rock" UltraSparc-RK processors.

Fujitsu's Sparc64 roadmap has been rewritten lots of times, too, and that hurt both Sun and Fujitsu. The good news for Intel and HP is that everybody seems to be screwing up their chips at the high-end; this, of course, is situation normal in the chip business. Companies are always tempted to add too many features, and then the chips don't work.

By Haff's back-of-the-envelope estimates, Intel is generating somewhere between $1.5bn and $2.5bn in Itanium processor sales a year, with about 100,000 chips being pumped out each quarter and chips ranging in price from between $2,000 and $3,000 as they ship to OEM server makers. And the Itanium Solutions Alliance is pegging Itanium system sales at around $5bn per year (these being dominated by HP's Integrity line, of course).

"If we were talking about Xeon, this would be an unmitigated disaster," says Haff, quite correctly. "But Itanium is not a hellacious money pit in terms of investment and they will have to soldier on."

This is particularly true of HP, whose HP-UX customers have gone through an eight-year ordeal getting their applications ported to Itanium, whose OpenVMS customers are in the process of moving to Itanium, and whose NonStop servers actually need hardware features relating to system reliability that are on Itanium but are not on Xeon chips. HP has said that it has not ported HP-UX to Xeon chips, and while this may sound stupid in terms of the long-term survival of the HP-UX Unix distro, I actually believe HP when it says it doesn't have a skunkworks somewhere with HP-UX running on Xeons.

How smart or stupid this strategy is, time will tell. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Microsoft builds teleporter weapon to send VMware into Azure
Updated Virtual Machine Converter now converts Linux VMs too
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.