Vendors catch Itanium product fever

Vendors catch Itanium product fever

Spreading like a virus everyone wants to catch, hardware and software vendors lined up to announce their support for Intel's new Itanium 64-bit chip, parading a slew of new products while promising consumers high performance and variety.

Hardware big names such as Itanium co-developer Hewlett-Packard (HP) and software makers like Red Hat toasted the long-awaited arrival of Intel's new chip by popping the cork on a range of Itanium-based products.

The widely expected support came shortly after Intel unwrapped its new chip last week, whose seven-year gestation period had vendors tapping their fingers in anticipation of adopting the new high-powered processor.

Itanium was co-developed by Intel and HP for corporate servers and workstations. Intel hopes that Itanium's 64-bit architecture will allow it to gain a foothold in the mid to large-sized business market, currently dominated by competitors such as Sun Microsystems and IBM with systems that use proprietary reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processors.

Proud papa HP showed its support by announcing a variety of Itanium-based systems and services. HP's Itanium-based systems include the Workstation i2000, with up to two processors, the HP Server rx4610, carrying up to four processors, and the HP Server rx9610, boasting up to 16 processors. The host of new systems is due to be available in late June and will support Windows, Linux or HP-UX, the company's UNIX operating system, the company said.

Fresh on HP's heels, IBM also unveiled a new Itanium-based server and workstation, announcing the eServer x380 for data-intensive applications and the IntelliStation Z Pro workstation for engineers, media creators and scientists.

Silicon Graphics (SGI) also joined the parade, unveiling its Itanium-based Silicon Graphics 750 system for Linux. The system will be available in Australia from July, although pricing for the system has yet to be announced.

In the US, Compaq launched a new line of ProLiant 64-bit servers running either Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition and Linux operating systems, which will be available in the third quarter.

Not to be left behind, Dell announced its new Itanium-powered Workstation 730 which will be available in the US later this year.

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