With Intel touting lower energy requirements and 1.72 billion transistors leading to improved performance, the chip maker\u2019s long-awaited dual-core Itanium processor\u2014code named "Montecito"\u2014made its Asian debut last week, putting emphasis on freeing users from proprietary architectures. According to Intel, enterprise users now are veering away from proprietary architectures as they are now wary about reducing their total costs of ownership (TCO) while aiming for higher levels of performance, scalability, availability, reliability and security."If you buy a mainframe solution, you will be limited on hardware and software choices; in most cases, they are locked into proprietary technology and have limited vendor support," said Tim Bailey, Intel\u2019s Asia Pacific director of platform marketing, during Intel\u2019s Enterprise Innovation IT Solutions Day held here.Intel\u2019s new 64-bit processor boasts of 20 percent lower power consumption and 1.72 billion transistors that the company says allows more robust server virtualization capabilities and other features previously available in more powerful mainframe machines.These new features makes the new Itanium 2 chip suited for high-computing enterprise applications like ERP or business analytics, Bailey said."What Itanium brings when we introduced it in 2001 -- and similarly with the new dual-core chip -- is a new era of industry standard choices (rather than proprietary) that offer a range of services and solutions built on multiple operating systems (OS) from multiple system builders, broad choice of hardware and software, and broad vendor support," he added. More choices Itanium 2 runs on multiple flavors of Windows, Linux, UNIX, BSD and VMS, while support for Sun Microsystems\u2019 Solaris and IBM\u2019s z\/OS and OS\/390 applications has been included just this year. The chip maker also reported that the number of software running on Itanium 2 has increased. Bailey recalled that three to four years ago, the number of application that run on Itanium tallies to less than a thousand -- about 700 to be exact; it peaked to 7,000 at the end of 2005 and rose a little over 1,200 just in the first half of 2006.He predicts the number to increase in the next few years and continue over time; already the company expects new binary translation technology to be added soon, enabling Sun Solaris-based apps and many others to run without change and with \u201cnear-native\u201d performance. \n\nDozens of server vendors like Transitive and Platform Solutions, Inc. have undergone talks withIntel in offering Itanium-based systems and further support is on the way from server-maker members of the Itanium Solutions Alliance (ISA). ISA has committed US$10 billion to develop Itanium-based solutions as well as drive advancement of processors, systems development and application porting. Among its 70-strong members include of Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Oracle and Intel.Bailey also called attention on revenue growth in particular Asia Pacific markets generated by Itanium relative to Sun\u2019s SPARC and IBM\u2019s Power.In Japan, for example, he said percentage growth of Itanium revenues surpassed that of the two leading 64-bit processors while in Russia, Itanium yielded thrice as that of SPARC and almost double that of IBM\u2019s Power chip."Clearly, this is a trend we are seeing," said Bailey, adding that there are now more vertical industries such as retail, research, education, and even space exploration, deploying Itanium-based solutions.According to Intel, more than 70 percent of Fortune Global 100 companies have are running mission-critical applications on Itanium servers.-Ronald James P. Panis, Computerworld PhilippinesCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.