With Intel touting lower energy requirements and 1.72 billion transistors leading to improved performance, the chip maker’s long-awaited dual-core Itanium processor—code named “Montecito”—made 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’s Asia Pacific director of platform marketing, during Intel’s Enterprise Innovation IT Solutions Day held here.
Intel’s 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.
Itanium 2 runs on multiple flavors of Windows, Linux, UNIX, BSD and VMS, while support for Sun Microsystems’ Solaris and IBM’s 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 “near-native” performance.
Dozens of server vendors like Transitive and Platform Solutions, Inc. have undergone talks with
Intel 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’s SPARC and IBM’s 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’s 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 Philippines
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