by Anton Shilov
04/13/2011 | 04:27 PM
Intel Corp. admitted on Wednesday that its Xeon server processors now can perform all possible tasks and can deliver equal or better performance and reliability compared to the Itanium platform. The company officially remains committed to the IA64 platform as it and its partner HP are gearing up to make a substantial Itanium-related announcement.
"We used to position Itanium up here: highest performance, highest reliability. In our ten years anniversary next year we are fully committed to the Itanium architecture. It is really now a choice of operating system, Xeon's reliability and performance is now equal and in some cases better than Itanium and they [processors] are going to leapfrog in performance over time. So, if you like HP-UX, OpenVMS, HP NonStop, other mainframe operating systems, we are fully going to support you on Itanium," said Kirk Skaugen, vice president of the Intel architecture group and general manager of Intel's data center group, during his keynote at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing, China.
During the keynote, Mr. Skaugen officially confirmed that the next-generation Itanium processor code-named Poulson will become available on the market in 2012 and showcased the first wafer with the Poulson chip candidates. Intel's server chief also previewed upcoming Itanium-based servers from Chinese companies, Huawei and Inspur.
"The Tukwila product is on the market place now, Poulson will double the performance [of Itanium product line in 2012] and we have the Kittson in development. But now Xeon is in the space when there is no workload on the planet that Xeon cannot handle," said Mr. Skaugen.
The recent decision of Oracle to stop developing software for Itanium as well as Intel's clear indication that Itanium has no valuable advantages over Xeon amid completely different micro-architecture and relatively low amount of supporters have created doubts about the future of Itanium in general.
There is a market chatter that Intel and Hewlett Packard plan to make an important announcement regarding the Itanium and presumably about its roadmap on the 26th of April. At present nothing is completely clear, but it is rather noteworthy that Intel decided not to reveal any details about post-Kittson roadmap at IDF.