Hewlett-Packard is stocking up as it waits for the signal from Intel to launch Itanium processor-based servers, expected toward the end of the month.
The first product out of the gate will be HP’s four-way Itanium server. Itanium is a joint venture between HP and Intel and is the chip maker's first move into the 64-bit space.
“Initial products will be on a par with existing RISC-based servers, perhaps even a little slower, but this is the start of the Itanium product cycle while it’s getting towards the end of the RISC cycle,” says HP’s Unix server marketing manager, Peter Hall.
He says HP has a significant advantage over other Itanium-product manufacturers because it helped design the chip. “It was our idea. We went to Intel looking for a future path and we’re delighted that companies like Compaq, Dell and Gateway are jumping on the bandwagon.”
He says HP will be first to market with an entire product line-up of Itanium based servers although it won’t stop manufacture of RISC-based products until customer demand dies off.
“Sure, one day there will come a time when it is simply a matter of being cheaper to go with an Itanium product over a RISC product but that’s some way off yet.”
Hall says HP will be the only OEM to offer Itanium and RISC processors in the same box and is using a new pricing structure to ease customers into the new environment.
“Our new instant capacity on demand [iCOD] programme means customers can buy more processing power but won’t start to pay for them until they actually use them. If they don’t use them, they just return them and they aren’t charged.” Initially this programme will be available on HP’s high-end Superdome server but will be rolled out to the entire Itanium product line.