Intel Showcases Itanium, Makes Other News at Developer Forum

Nine systems vendors, five operating systems vendors, and more than 30 independent hardware vendors showcased Itanium-ready technology at the Intel Developer Forum. Itanium is the first of the IA-64 processors in the new EPIC architecture, developed by Intel and HP.

The demonstrations were designed to show that platforms, operating systems, applications, and compilers are becoming IA-64 ready. In fact, Intel plans to begin end user pilots and evaluation of Itanium beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Itanium processor platforms showcased at the Intel Developer Forum featured prototype server and workstation systems running ERP, business intelligence, and high-availability failover applications. Hitachi, NEC, and Unisys were among the systems vendors demonstrating platforms with as many as 8 to 32 processors in one server design. Caldera, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, HP, IBM, Mission Critical Linux, Mitsubishi, SGI, and Microsoft also demonstrated server and workstation hardware running Itaniums.

The Intel Developer Forum provided some other news. Intel announced it plans to deliver a suite of InfiniBand products when the specification is finalized later this year. Developed by Intel and some of its partners, InfiniBand is a new server I/O architecture that simplifies and speeds server-to-server connections and links to other server-related systems, such as remote storage and networking devices, to improve overall server performance and reliability.

Intel also used the occasion to introduce the industry's first gigahertz processor for servers and high-end workstations. The gigahertz processors, Intel said, are designed to address "scaling out," a situation in which dot coms, e-businesses, and service providers must quickly deploy additional servers to accommodate unpredictable, dramatic growth.

The forum was the setting was another Intel announcement—the formation of an industry working group to foster standards and protocols for peer-to-peer computing. Peer-to-peer computing is a set of technologies that enables the direct exchange of services or data between computers in the enterprise. In such an environment, servers, desktops, and notebook PCs in a network become peers that contribute all or part of their resources, such as processing power or storage, to the enterprise.