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Server Specs: User groups cheer Oracle, Itanium alliance

User groups cheer Oracle, Itanium alliance; AMD rolls out new Opterons; Sun proposes combined Unix.

User groups cheer Oracle, Itanium alliance
Oracle pledged software support and discount prices for Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (HP) Itanium servers last week. HP and Oracle user group leaders are optimistic on the platform's future. Ari Kaplan, president of the Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG), said the majority of Itanium customers are running high-end databases. "Pricing is a huge part of determining ROI [return on investment]," Kaplan said. "I think [HP and Intel] are learning from the issues they faced in the past -- technology issues with 64-bit performance and pricing. The two barriers to adoption are being eliminated."

For more information:

Itanium still strong on Unix, not Windows

Intel delays dual-core Itanium

Chris Koppe, Itanium expert at HP user group Encompass, is equally bullish on the fate of the platform. He said customers migrating off the HP e3000 platform are moving to Itanium, rather than move to HP's PA-RISC machines despite any bad press. "People looking at new hardware want to get the most bang for the buck," Koppe said. "We're not hearing any panic. It's all pretty solid."

Intel and HP have had a hard time making the case for Itanium, but Oracle and others are helping shore up support. HP has committed to invest $1 billion per year on it, but experts have questioned whether throwing more money at Itanium is a wise investment. "Try to figure out how many of these they're going to have to sell to break even," said Clay Ryder, president of Union City, Calif.,-based Sageza Group Inc. "In some ways, Itanium looks a lot like the Concorde [jet]. They spent $15 billion on the R&D [research and development] and sold 10 of them."

AMD launches next dual-core Opterons
Today Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) rolled out its next generation of dual-core Opterons, dubbed the x85 series. According to Steve Demski, AMD product manager, the new chips fit into the same power band as previous Opteron -- 95 watts per core -- but offer a 5% performance boost. The Opteron Model 885 for up to eight-way/16-core enterprise-class servers and Model 285 for high-performance two-way/four-core servers are immediately available. The Model 185 for one-way/two-core servers is expected to be available within 30 days. AMD also touted its forthcoming virtualization technology, but that won't launch until mid-year 2006. Demski said to expect I/O virtualization and quad core chips for 2007.

Sun proposes combined Unix OS
Sun Microsystems Inc. chief Scott McNealy proposed to converge HP-UX with Solaris 10 to HP CEO Mark Hurd last week. In an open letter, McNealy wrote: "With the end of PA-RISC systems and HP-UX now only available on Itanium, we're convinced a converged HP-UX/Solaris 10 platform could play a far stronger role in HP's product portfolio. We believe there's benefit to HP, our mutual customers, developers and partners." McNealy also jabbed at its competitor, claiming Solaris 10 has gained over four million licenses in just the past year, "more licenses than HP has shipped with HP-UX in the history of the company."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, Site Editor

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