Within hours of Intel's Itanium 2 announcement, many of the vendors it had noted would be supporting the new chip came out with announcements of their own.
Thus far, about 20 OEMs have already agreed to support the chip, and hundreds of Windows, Unix, and Linux operating systems that have been optimized for the new processor are in production or development.
The vendor that received the most "ink" for its announced support was Hewlett-Packard. The four already available and shipping HP systems will support HP-UX, Windows, and Linux operating systems. They are built around HP's Scalable Processor zx1 Chipset, a modular 3-chip solution that claims high-bandwidth and low-latency.
The new additions to HP's portfolio are:
- HP Workstation zx2000, an Itanium 2-based 900 MHz uni-processor workstation with 2D and 3D AGP graphics that has an estimated price of $4,500.
- HP Workstation zx6000, available as a uni- or dual-processor 900 MHz or 1 GHz workstation with 2D and 3D AGP graphics that has an estimated price of $6,400.
- HP Server rx2600, which supports up to 2 processors and runs at 900 MHz and 1 GHz for an estimated price of $7,300.
- HP Server rx5670, a 4-way entry-level server that supports up to 4 processors, runs at 900 MHz and 1 GHz, and carries an estimated price of $23,400. It also allows for in-box upgrades to the Intel Itanium architecture from an existing RISC server.
HP's Itanium-2-based portfolio also includes an array of integrated systems and services management solution that enables enterprises to monitor, deploy, and provision systems.
Unisys was another hardware vendor that announced support for Itanium 2 Monday. Its 64-bit migration strategy will support Itanium 2 with the goal of enabling enterprises to achieve substantial performance improvements and extend the scalability of its Enterprise Server ES7000.
On the software side, Microsoft announced that Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition Version 1.2 for Itanium will be made available to server OEMs later this month. Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition 1.2 is based on the same 64-bit code development that will be delivered in the Windows .NET Server family, and that will be optimized for Itanium 2.
In addition, Microsoft will continue to support of Intel Corp.'s Itanium 2 processors in 64-bit versions for the upcoming Windows .NET Enterprise Server and Windows .NET Datacenter Server as well as in Windows XP 64-bit Edition version 2003, which is scheduled to be available through PC manufacturers and MSDN in the first quarter of 2003.
Zeus Technology has been working with HP to develop a 64-bit version of Zeus Web Server as optimized for the Itanium 2 architecture as well as for the HP-UX 11i and Linux operating systems. This version of the Zeus Web Server is also designed for optimized deployment on HP's rx2600 and rx5670.
The result of this dual effort, according to Zeus, is a dramatically higher benchmark for processing transactions on e-commerce web sites. On SSL transactions, typically used in securing payments on the Web, the Zeus /HP-UX Itanium 2 combination benchmarked at more than 750 SSL operation per second, compared to 175 SSL operations per second on Zeus/Linux and Pentium III and 60 SSL operations per second on Zeus/Solaris and UltraSPARC III.
The HP/Zeus relationship will be an ongoing one, with HP reselling Zeus' complete Web serving and traffic management portfolio globally. HP will also recommend Zeus Web Server as the best Web server solution for SSL-enhanced, e-commerce sites and high-traffic, mission-critical installations.
A long list of other vendors have also agreed to support Itanium 2: IBM, Bull, Hitachi, and NEC will deliver 8-way and above Itanium 2 systems by year-end 2003. EMC, Fujitsu-Siemens, and Toshiba, also have plans to deliver systems.
Caldera, Red Hat, TurboLinux and SuSE will join Microsoft in offering Itanium 2 operating systems. A plethora of software vendors will support Itanium 2. SAS plans to be the first, with release 9 of SAS software expected to be available this summer. Other vendors that will offer solutions for Itanium-2-based servers include Ansys, BEA, Computers Associates, i2, JD Edwards, McAffee, Oracle, PeopleSoft, PoerCockpit, Reuters, SAP, and Symantic.