Compaq took the first step Monday toward revamping its high-end server line, releasing a 64-bit system based on Intel's Itanium processor. Compaq will begin shipping the ProLiant DL590/64 this quarter with up to four 800MHz Itanium processors. The new server currently supports Microsoft's 64-bit Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition, and flavors of Linux from Red Hat Inc. and SuSE Linux AG. A two-way, 1G-byte DL590/64 will start at US$23,000 with worldwide availability, according to a Compaq representative.
Houston, Texas-based Compaq agreed to sell intellectual property for its own 64-bit Alpha processors to Intel in June. Compaq plans to abandon its Alpha-based products by 2004, moving all of its servers onto the Itanium platform. Intel released the Itanium processor earlier this year, garnering industry-wide support for the 64-bit chip. Intel had previously focused primarily on the low-end server market, teaming extensively with Microsoft Corp. to offer low cost 32-bit technology. The two companies hope to extend their partnership and sell moderately priced 64-bit systems to companies running computing-intensive applications.
While industry pundits expect it will take some time for Itanium-based servers to become widely adopted, the processor family should eventually battle primarily with 64-bit architectures designed by Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM.