Microsoft pulls plug on Intel's Itanic
Wintel core-partner jumps ship
Microsoft is abandoning Intel's Itanium platform after the current release of its server and tools software.
The software giant said Monday that Windows Server 2008 R2 and the forthcoming SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 would be the last versions of these server and tools products to run on Intel's giant chip architecture.
Microsoft made the change because of the growing ability of x86 64-bit chips from AMD and Intel to provide the kinds of scalability and reliability that Microsoft is targeting with its servers.
Dan Reger, senior technical product manager for Windows Server, said Windows Server 2008 R2 is ready for the "ever increasing number of cores" on the new and planned x86 64-bit chips from AMD and Intel and on the servers from OEMs such as NEC that use them.
Windows Server 2008 R2 supports up to 256 logical processors.
Itanic has had little to offer Microsoft. When we reported that Red Hat was pulling the plug on Itanic, IDC was quoted as saying that just five per cent of Itanium servers - in Europe at least - ran Windows. The vast majority, 61 per cent, ran Unix while 29 per cent ran Linux.
By continuing to focus on x86 and dumping an additional platform, Microsoft can shave off some of the costs associated with building and marketing Windows. Reger said Microsoft would continue to support users running Windows on existing versions of Itanium, including the recently released Itanium 9300, codenamed Tukwila.
That means Windows users running their servers on Itanic servers get eight more years of coverage from Microsoft under it's usual mainstream and extended support program. ®
Microsoft has delayed release of the version of SQL Server 2008 R2 for data-warehouse appliances from hardware partners. Parallel Data Warehouse edition will now be released following customer feedback from a Technology Adoption Program that was announced last week with the release of a Parallel Data Warehouse technology preview.
The software had been due for release in the first half of 2010. Microsoft said it would announce “more specific timing” along with final configurations and pricing for hardware partners in “early summer.”
Parallel Data Warehouse is based on the DATAllegro technology Microsoft acquired in 2008. Redmond called the technology preview a significant milestone on the integration of DATAllegro, because it now runs on Windows Server and SQL Server.
Not all Intel's fault
Well really it was AMD that screwed Intel up by bolting 64bit extensions onto their 32bit x86 offering so that it would run both, then making it work and making it quick. Intel had no choice but to follow suit, something they never ever wanted to do. There was supposed to be a clear dividing line between x86-32 and IA-64 and no cross over. AMD forced them into x86-64 and into playing catch up for a few years. From that moment on the glorious dream of Itanium replacing x86 in the volume server market was doomed to hit an iceberg. It might have helped if the first Itanium chips had shown blistering performance and given people something to be excited about, but Merced turned out to be a real dog.
Itanium's future rests in the hands of HP and HP-UX now that SGI, Redhat and Microsoft have voted with their feet. We will have to see if that's enough. Doesn't look very promising for HP-UX though as it's now caught in a tightening vice with AIX and Linux on IBM's Power7 at the top end, plus Linux and MS Windows on Nehalem-EX and AMD's Magny-Cours chomping deep into its middle ground from underneath.
The next 12 months are the litmus test. HP not only have to make enough sales to make Itanium chip production profitable, but also to fund future development and cover the cost of Fab upgrades to stop it from falling behind. If they can't, then Intel will do to HP and Itanium what they did to Compaq and the Alpha chip. Chip updates and Fab improvements will come later and later and it will fall further and further behind the field until HP are forced to give up the ghost and slap a 10 year tick over retirement plan on it.
Matty where you at
Hey Matt B remember heehawing at Red Hat dumping Itanic by saying well its still supported on the most common computer OS? Itanic RIP yet another billion+ dollar chip mistake in Intels annuls. Funny how chipzilla can weather these and still claim world domination (actually more because Hector Ruiz is a short bus window licker but neither here nor there).
"Windows Server 2008 R2 supports up to 256 logical processors."
Is also faster than light, cures cancer...
No really, what does that actually mean? They have an array of 256 "struct cpu" or what?