IBM, HP Reveal Itanium Workstation Strategy
- By Scott Bekker
doesn’t plan to release a 64-bit
version of Windows until the second half of next year, Itanium users may see
the Start button as soon as March. IBM Corp.
and Hewlett Packard Co.
plan to support
Windows on their Itanium workstations once Intel
releases the chip.
IBM and HP
both plan to begin shipping Itanium workstations the day Intel formally
releases the processors, which they now believe will be in March. HP also plans
to ship Itanium servers under its HP9000 line of HP-UX Unix servers.
to support three operating systems on its Intellistation workstation: Windows,
Linux, and its AIX 5L Unix flavor. Big Blue will offer four different
distributions of Linux, Redhat, Caldera, TurboLinux, and SuSE to appeal to a
broad variety of Linux users.
aided Intel in the design of the Itanium processor, plans to support HP-UX,
RedHat Linux, and 64-bit Windows. Barry Crume, business line manager for
Itaniuim workstations at HP, says Itanium presents unique possiblilties for HP-UX.
“We’ve put hooks in the [processor] code to help run HP-UX,” he says.
that there will not be final versions of many of these operating systems,” says
Rick Rudd, product manager for the IBM z-Pro workstation. Although the 64-bit
version of Linux is publicly available today, its developers consider it a beta
release. Since Linux is open-source and
free, users can run a beta version of Linux unconcerned about licensing,
although it may not be as stable as a final release.
trickier is IBM’s commitment to Windows on the Itanium workstation. Because
Microsoft will not ship a production version of Itanium until at least the second half
of 2001, users will not have a supported version of the operating system.
However, Microsoft has provided OEMs like IBM and HP with a beta version to
distribute to preferred customers for evaluation purposes. Vendors have
distributed about 50,000 evaluation machines to customers. “We have customers
hungry to get their hands on machines,” Rudd says.
that IBM will install AIX and Linux on the workstations it sells, but will not
ship machines with Windows installed. However, users interested in 64-bit
Windows, more than half of IBMs customers, may have another option. “We will be
more than happy to help customers get their hands on beta code,” he says. Rudd
expects that some customers will use the beta code in production environments.
taking a different tack in releasing its low-end Itanium workstations. Although
HP expects the bulk of its sales to be HP-UX related, Crume expects Windows and
Linux demand to be great. “Our workstations will be shipping Windows betas in
the box,” he says. HP and IBM are both waiting for Microsoft to solidify its
plans for distributing 64-bit Windows betas after Itanium is released, Crume
says, so vendors are waiting to make final decisions,”This is not done yet.”
and HP will use Intel’s 460GX chipset in motherboards. “We will be using Intes’
supported technology and commodity hardware, so to speak,” Crume says.
Interestingly, Intel is departing from its aggressive support for RamBus
technology on its motherboards, to standard SDRAM and a 100MHz front side bus.
IBM says it plans to install Matrox Electronic Systems’ G450 video card and an
analogous card from Nvidia Corp.
and Crume are optimistic about Windows’ future on the Itanium plaform. “The
Unix world is gradually moving to Windows 2000 and NT,” Crume says, believing
that Itanium will allow Windows to find a new place in the enterprise. – Christopher McConnell
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.