From RISC to Reward

Intel recently held a press briefing in San Francisco outlining future Itanium plans. Chief among the nuggets of information where the following revelations:

Tukwila is to feature 4 cores each able to process 2 threads thanks to Hyper-Threading technology, Tukwila will also offer some new RAS features.

Poulson is to going to be built using Intel’s 32nm process technology and will boast a brand new micro-architecture and feature “significantly more cores”.

Kittson is the codename for an Itanium chip in the post Poulson timeframe.

Now all this is very exciting if you are a big iron server guy – but what does Itanium mean for the market? Well, to get the bigger picture we have to go back to the days of the Pentium – when Intel had hardly any play in the server space and an Intel server was a desktop PC turned on its side.

The server world was dominated by big proprietary servers, with the CPU’s, platforms, OS’s and applications all designed, built, sold and serviced by the same company. There were several such ‘vertical’ players around. Once you bought into their solution – you were effectively locked in, with technical and financial barriers hampering efforts to migrate to an alternate solution.

The PC however had long enjoyed a much more horizontal business model – with many hardware vendors competing for customers using standard off the shelf parts from several OS vendors, applications providers etc…

In 1995 Intel released the Pentium Pro, and with its ability to be used in dual and quad socket systems, began to bring this freedom of choice to the server market. The result? Intel Xeon and its x86 based competitors now account for the lion’s share of the server market in terms of unit volume.

The big vertical providers that had powered a bygone revolution now moved into the highest end of the server space. This is where Itanium now competes and this is where Itanium and its horizontal business model is continuing to evolve where Xeon left off. If you buy Itanium, you can choose from a number of OEM’s, a number of OS’s (including flavours of Unix, Linux and Windows), and from over 12,000 applications. Basically you are free to choose.

If you would like to see the press presentation given by Diane Bryant (Intel VP and Co-General Manager of the Server products Group)? Click below to see it and the Q&A in full.

And the Q&A session :

The presentation Diane used can be found by clicking here.

4 Responses to From RISC to Reward

  1. Nick Knupffer says:

    Itanium is a completely different architecture to Pentium Pro – but it is similar in the way that it is bringing freedom of choice to the high end server market. Choose your OEM, choose your OS, choose your apps.

  2. Trouble says:

    Diane said that Itanium is a good investment for Intel because the Itanium system revenues at 50% of total server system revenue. Why is that a relevant for Intel? What portion of the 50% does Intel get for the processor and chipsets? Is it a profitable business for Intel?
    What is Intel’s Itanium processor revenue compared to its Xeon processor revenue? You are avoiding the real qustion by talking about system revenue!!!
    Are the financial analysts not asking you this?

  3. Testing the waters says:

    Agree with Trouble – I don’t see how Itanium could be seen as good investment by Intel when thier leading vendors – Dell, IBM seem not to want to do anything with it – HP, being the only exception having killed their PA-RISC…