Blades may shore up Itanium futures
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Itanium gets fresh future with Tukwila

Not to be outdone after IBM's POWER7 rollout, Intel released the next generation of Itanium on the same day, unveiling the Tukwila 4-core generation of the processor. Tukwila is destined for HP Integrity servers, the only systems which run the HP-UX alternative to the HP 3000.

The Itanium 9300 has twice as many cores as the predecessor powering today's Integrity line. Intel is claiming an 800 percent interconnect bandwidth and up to 500 percent improvement on memory bandwidth. What the chip will lack in application and market reach it can make up in speed.

The chip has been delayed by more than a year due to Intel's design changes to the processor. That's permitted IBM to rollout out two POWER releases, which run IBM's Unix as well as other environments, while Intel finished the Tukwila work.

More important to the HP-UX prospect? The announcement of Intel's commitment to at least two more generations of Itanium. Of course, the chipmaker will also roll out an eight-core chip this year built upon the Xeon and x86 lineage. That's Nahalem EX, which will be out in less than 90 days.

The future of Itanium is a factor in choosing a replacement environment for the HP 3000's MPE/iX. Intel has been building two lines of chips for nearly 15 years, but the ones that are emerging as Nehalem power most of the most advanced Windows computing. IT departments with speed needs are tracking Nehalem by now, rather than the slower track of Itanium.

The Intel reloads for Itanium are scheduled for two years from now, and then another in four years. Analyst Dan Olds of the Gabriel Consulting Group is quoted in IDG News as saying Intel needs to hit its roadmap milestones to keep Itanium a legitimate choice."Intel discussed a four-year road map for Itanium today," he reported, "saying that they'd be delivering new chips about every two years. It's important that Intel hit those milestones."