Intel gearing up for Itanium launch

The chip's launch has been hindered by numerous delays; however, several hardware vendors confirmed they will quickly follow Intel's announcement by releasing hardware based on the chip.

Intel would not confirm the 29 May launch, saying only that myriad vendors would bring out both servers and workstations in the next several weeks. During that time frame, vendors would release Itanium boxes running Microsoft Windows 2000, Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX, IBM's AIX 5L and Novell operating systems, said an Intel spokeswoman. In addition, a number of Itanium systems running Linux will also be announced when the chip is launched, meeting analysts' expectations that the open source OS would be one of the lead platforms on the new processor.

Sources close to Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) confirmed that the company will announce an Itanium workstation, running Linux, on the 29th. The company then plans to follow shortly thereafter with servers using the Itanium chip and possibly several flavours of Linux. The workstation appearing at the initial launch is expected to run a version of Linux developed by TurboLinux.

Dell has also said it will come to market with PowerEdge servers and Precision workstations running on the Itanium chip. The vendor would not confirm a launch date or availability of the new products, saying only that it will be one of the first to announce a product once Intel gives the word.

HP will come out with both workstations and servers that will be available as soon as Intel launches its new chip, a company spokesman said. HP's systems are expected to be available with its own HP-UX operating system and a version of Linux.

IBM and Compaq Computer Corp. are also expected to launch a variety of workstations and servers close to the announcement date.

Sun and IBM have led the 64-bit market, coupling their RISC chip technology with highly stable OSes. This combination helped the vendors attract large corporate customers, looking for powerful hardware.

While there has been much anticipation from the industry for Intel's high-powered chip, many analysts expect that Intel's second generation 64-bit processor named McKinley will be what Intel needs to compete for users on equal ground with IBM and Sun in the high-end market.

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