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Intel Itanium 2 bandwagon rolls along with Linux on board

Jul 07, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* Itanium 2 is latest platform for Linux

Intel last week launched a new Itanium 2 processor, aimed squarely at large enterprises as a replacement for RISC-based servers. Both Windows and Linux are the two platforms supported by the chip, and Linux companies, as well as hardware vendors, jumped on the announcement offering their support.

The first version of the 64-bit Itanium 2, which will run as fast as 1.5 GHz, will be included in new server products from HP and Dell. Red Hat and SuSE have also announced immediate availability of their respective enterprise server platforms for the new 64-bit Intel chip. And Linux clustering specialist Linux Networx also announced that it has validated clusters of Itanium 2 Linux nodes as part of its product offerings.

IBM last week released new servers based on the Itanium 2 chip, despite indications in February that it may pull back from developing products for the new processor.

But while IBM did hop on the Itanium 2 bandwagon last week, Intel won’t be IBM’s only 64-bit bet. Last week, IBM also announced that the first servers based on the company’s prototype POWER5 processor were running in labs in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. POWER5 is IBM’s entry into the 64-bit processor market, and the firm appears to be standing by its own hardware technology, even for Linux.

While there is something to be said for IBM’s persistence, its 64-bit strategy could turn out to be an uphill battle. More than 85% of the servers shipped in the first quarter of 2003 were Intel-based, according to IDC. And even IBM’s chief Linux/Unix rival HP has said Itanium 2 would be the processor of preference for its Linux machines, even though the company has two RISC-based 64-bit chips – Alpha and PA RISC – in its arsenal.   

**Itanium is not the only game in town for 64-bit Linux. Check out these links:

Linux on SPARC

Network World Linux Newsletter, 06/12/00

Red Hat releases a new Alpha Linux

Network World Linux in the Enterprise Newsletter, 12/04/00

Watch for speeding penguins

Network World Linux Newsletter, 06/19/00