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Intel Says Itanium Hitting Stride

After years of spinning its wheels, 64-bit Intel Architecture technology appears to be finally gaining some traction, according to Intel officials.

The Itanium 2 processor is on track to exceed 100,000 unit shipments in 2003, Intel officials say. Meanwhile, the number of commercial Itanium shipments is finally starting to exceed shipments related to boutique high-performance computing clusters, marking a crossover from cutting edge scientific applications to real business applications.

Aside from numbers, Intel is naming names of customers deploying high-end Itanium 2 systems. Since mid-November, Intel customers First Trust Corp., Fiat, SK Telecom, ING Mexico and CompUSA went public with Itanium 2 deployments. Most are running their production applications on Integrity servers from Hewlett-Packard, which co-developed Itanium with Intel.

Three of the customers are running their Itanium 2 applications on Linux, and two -- ING Mexico and CompUSA -- are on Windows Server 2003. ING Mexico, a financial institution that belongs to the ING Group, is using its Itanium 2-processor-based HP Integrity server to run its SAS-based insurance analysis operations. An ING official says the success of the program is leading another ING division, ING Canada, to consider migrating to Windows, SAS and Itanium 2 from a Unix solution.

Itanium technology is currently in its third generation. Intel launched its hotly anticipated Merced line in 1999, refreshed it with McKinley in 2002 and Madison this year. Next year, another version of Madison chips will come out with a staggering 9 MB of on-board cache.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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