After a tough year, Intel and HP push ahead on Itanium
HP says new Itanium chip, system improvements boost performance by factor of three
Computerworld - It has been a rough stretch for Itanium. HP and its customers were startled after Oracle in March, 2011 announced -- and without warning, according to court records -- its intent to discontinue software development on HP's Itanium servers. Oracle said Itanium was nearing the end of its life.
HP sued Oracle. Between about 80% and 90% of HP Itanium customers use Oracle's database, according to court documents. In August, HP reported that its Business Critical Systems revenue declined 16% year-over-year to some measure due to its battle with Oracle.
But in August, HP prevailed in court. Judge James Kleinberg of the Santa Clara County Superior Court, in San Jose, issued a preliminary ruling that said that prior agreements obligated Oracle to keep porting its software. Oracle said it would comply.
Neither HP or Intel has backed away from Itanium, and Thursday's announcements appear to affirm that. Intel's Poulson Itanium 9500 chip was released and HP said its new systems running this chip will deliver a three times performance boost. Intel even announced a Poulson next generation successor, Kittson.
As it moves ahead on Itanium, HP and Intel are migrating Itanium's capabilities to Xeon under its Project Odyssey project. HP, in particular, wants to create a platform that can deliver mission critical parity for any system, whether it's supporting Linux, Windows, HPUX, OpenVMS or NonStop operating systems.
Kirk Bresniker, HP vice president, chief technologist and HP fellow in computer hardware, said there are technology elements, in areas such as error containment and availability that have not yet migrated over. "That's part of what we're committing ourselves to in Project Odyssey, is effecting the completion of some of those technology migrations," he said.
HP has no plans to support HPUX on an x86 platform. This does not mean that HP is setting a path to migrate away from its Unix systems running on Itanium. The goal is to create a mission critical line that can support any of its platforms, Bresniker said.
"Intel committed to an Itanium roadmap through 2020 -- that's a long way out in IT terms," said Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT. As long as HP's Itanium line, its Integrity servers, continues to be profitable, King can't imagine the companies changing course on the system.
If anything, Intel is working to bring its Itanium and Xeon production closer together to share features and make them socket compatible. Intel says this will results in "an even more sustainable path to bring future Itanium processors to market."
King said Intel is trying "to leverage their investments more efficiently and make it less expensive to support the (Itanium) platform."
Two years ago, HP announced Project Odyssey for its Integrity line by unifying its Unix and x86 architectures around blade systems. But HP says this isn't an effort to create a migration path off Itanium but to extend mission critical capabilities available on Unix-based systems to x86 platforms.
"From our perspective we see it as additive," said Kate O'Neil, product marketing manager in server business management at HP. "The requirements for mission critical never go away they just now get applied more broadly across more environments and more workloads."
The HP Integrity line supports HPUX, OpenVMS and NonStop, a fault-tolerant system is used to support 911 systems, ATMs and other high availability systems.
HP said that the performance gains from the Poulson Itanium 9500 chip or also the result of changes in system design and kernel enhancement. This chip supports eight cores, up from four. The upgrades to OpenVMS and NonStop system will roll out next year.
The first new HP Integrity systems, the Superdome 2 systems, will be available next month at a starting price of $6,490 per blade.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Intel confirms using ARM-based chip core in smartwatch it demoed at CES
- You'll want a PC with Intel's new chip for the battery life alone
- Desktop chips zip past 4GHz; next stop 5GHz?
- After a tough year, Intel and HP push ahead on Itanium
- Dell testing 64-bit ARM server with AppliedMicro chip
- Physicist says Moore's Law is 'collapsing'
- Intel's Ivy Bridge chips raise the bar for rivals
- Intel ready to take on tablet chips
- AMD execs tout firm's tablet plans
- AMD moves away from Intel rivalry, rethinks course
Read more about Processors in Computerworld's Processors Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- Piecing Together the Business Intelligence Puzzle Business intelligence (BI) technology collects and analyzes company data, delivering relevant information to corporate decision-makers in an effort to produce favorable outcomes.
- Harness IT -- An Introduction to Business Intelligence Solutions Learn the key selection criteria required to provide your organization with the capability to address structured data, unstructured data and mobile demands so...
- Business Intelligence Shows its Smarts Today's Business Intelligence (BI) tools provide a new way to think about data with self-service capabilities and user-friendly analytics that can be used...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information... All Data Center White Papers | Webcasts