Intel ramps up server battle

Intel slid into the Australian enterprise computing space this week, launching a new line of Internet server technology to compete with Sun, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Intel's newest server offerings form the basis of the company's macro processing vision; the first products of which are a set of Xeon server chips and its next-generation IA-64-bit Itanium processors. David Bolt, Intel Australia and New Zealand general manager, said the technology was designed for complex data applications and supercomputing.

In an environment of slowed IT spending worldwide, officials said the multimillion campaign which began in the US in May, was all about the "importance of the processor at the heart of e-business", or using Intel architecture processors for a strategic edge.

Marketing hype aside, industry-watcher Gartner says the crux of Intel's "macro processing vision" lies in its potential to provide processing power through server clustering ability - being able to run multiple business applications through its server range which scales both up and out.

According to local officials, the macro processing concept is focused on producing processors en masse to drive down the cost of purchasing for both customers and other server vendors.

"Customers have different expectations now," Bolt said. "They want choice of delivery options and ease of business-to-business integration, not just business integration through browsers."

Itanium, delayed for three years, is shipping in servers from companies like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell.

Intel's aim with its server architecture, Bolt said, is also to reduce the price of processor performance in the market with its one-, two- and four-way servers built respectively for the front, middle and back-end activities of e-business data centres and server appliances.

Because Sun, IBM and HP each has its own Unix-based system, Intel is trying to compete with all of those companies, Gartner sources said.

Four operating systems will support Itanium-based systems, which include Microsoft's Windows platform, HP-UX 11i v1.5, IBM's AIX-5L and Linux.

The power to scale out will give the company business opportunities in the telecommunications application sector in so far as voice and data convergence is concerned, and with equipment manufacturers, Bolt said.

Intel has backed the macro processing campaign with $US7.5 billion in capital and $4.2 billion in R&D. wDan Neel contributed to this arcticle.

Compaq to swap Alpha for Intel

By Laura Rohde and Douglas F. Gray

Compaq will transfer its entire 64-bit family of servers to Intel's Itanium microprocessor architecture by 2004. Also as part of the agreement, Compaq will sell key intellectual property behind its Alpha processor business to Intel, the companies announced this week.

Compaq currently offers high-end servers based on Intel, Alpha and MIPS processor architectures. The announcement means that Compaq will standardize on one architecture.

"There will be a single base line across all our platforms. We are standardizing on the Itanium microprocessor line," said Compaq Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Capellas. "We are definitely looking at a common server architecture down the road."

Before the transfer is completed in 2004, Compaq will release its upcoming next-generation Alpha processor known as EV7, while designing and building NonStop Himalaya servers that use MIPS chips, Capellas said. "There will be two more performance increases within that time," Capellas said.

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