Itanium soon to hit NZ

Itanium-based workstations and servers will begin hitting New Zealand this month.

Itanium-based workstations and servers will begin hitting New Zealand this month.

In the US Itanium boxes are being snaffled up by software developers keen to get to work on the 64-bit applications that will run on the new platform. Until such applications are built, business users won’t be buying the system in any great numbers.

Accordingly independent software vendors are also a target market for SGI New Zealand. SGI New Zealand regional manager Scott Houston thinks Linux developers will be the first to buy its new Itanium-based 750 box running Linux.

“There aren’t any 64-bit applications out there yet so the target market has to be developers. There are some developers in the entertainment space who are interested as well as universities. The Itanium will bring low-cost high performance chips which will be ideal for the Linux cluster market, which is the scientific community.”

Houston says SGI’s initial allocation of the 64-bit processors has already been sold and the allocation of servers coming to New Zealand is fairly low, but he hopes to have demonstration products this month and volume shipments coming in by July.

A single Itanium SGI 750, with 1GB RAM, 18GB disk, CD ROM and high-end graphics card, will cost around $40,000. The price is close to the similarly spec'd Origin 200, a RISC-based machine running SGI’s flavour of Unix, Irix.

Demand by ISVs in the US has also made it hard for HP NZ to get Itanium machines. However, HP market development manager for servers Ian Walters is expecting two-way i2000 workstations running HP-UX to be available from June 11, a four-way RX4610 server by late June, and a 16-way RX9610 server by August. All HP’s servers will ultimately run Windows 2000 Datacenter, Linux and HP-UX. HP has targeted application developers, the technical computing market and anyone doing secure web serving, as the Itanium can encrypt and decrypt at the CPU level.

IBM has announced an eServer x380 which will be available with up to four Itanium processors and 64GB of memory. Dell has also announced a four-way PowerEdge 7150 server with the same amount of memory.

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