Intel's Talwalkar: Itanium unfazed by 32/64 hybrid success

Intel's Talwalkar: Itanium unfazed by 32/64 hybrid success

Summary: Earlier this year in January, under the auspices of an initiative to "better anticipate and address market needs, speed decision making, and ensure world-class operational excellence," Intel reorganized itself into five divisions. Prior to that reorganization, Abhi Talwalkar was an Intel corporate vice president and general manager whose jurisdiction primarily covered the server beat.

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TOPICS: Intel
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Earlier this year in January, under the auspices of an initiative to "better anticipate and address market needs, speed decision making, and ensure world-class operational excellence," Intel reorganized itself into five divisions. Prior to that reorganization, Abhi Talwalkar was an Intel corporate vice president and general manager whose jurisdiction primarily covered the server beat. Now, Talwalkar along with former CTO Pat Gelsinger are sharing the helm of the company's newly formed Digital Enteprise Group -- a division with responsibility for the entire range of Intel's horizontal and vertical solutions that address the needs of modern day enterprises.
Podcast
Last week, while on visit to Intel's campus in Santa Clara, CA, I had an opportunity to sit down with Talwalker to get an update on everything from its go-forward strategy on Itanium (which hasn't lived up to its original expectations) to the four-way processor "scale-up" limitation on the standard parts it sells to server vendors (AMD vp Ben Williams recently told me about his company's eight-way part) to how Intel managed to get Dell CEO Kevin Rollins to announce that his company was going to stay an Intel pure-breed. We met just before the news surfaced that IBM was ditching the 64-bit Itanium in favor of its own 64-bit Power chips (coincidentally, ahem, timed with Intel's annual lovefest). Here are a few highlights of the interview which is available as both an MP3 download and as podcast that you can have downloaded to your system and/or MP3 player automatically (see ZDNet's podcasts: How to tune in).

Talwalkar on Itanium's slower than expected rampup: Those goals were set 5-7 years ago. It takes a lot of energy, effort, and time to build an ecosystem. Now at 2500 applications that have been ported, tuned, and optimized for Itanium, and with penetration into mission critical situations at 40-45 of the Fortune 100, Intel is happy with Itanium's progress so far.

Competitively speaking, what Itanium is going after: IBM's PowerPC. [Editor's note: this sentiment was echoed in a report by News.com's Stephen Shankland earlier this week].

Regarding Xeon's skyrocketing sales: There's no end in sight.

How the licensing shemes of software developers should react to multi-core chip technologies: Follow Microsoft's lead and license by the socket, not the core.

The interview lasted for about thirty minutes so we obviously covered more ground than this. Among the other topics were a deeper discussion of Intel's dual architecture server strategy (Xeon and Itanium), whose enterprise applications are seeing the price/performance benefits of Itanium, how Intel views HP's diversification into AMD hardware, and Intel's involvement in the burgeoning category of grids. Give the MP3 a listen a let us and Intel know what you think using our comments section below.

Topic: Intel

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  • The Itanic hasn't sunk yet

    When the physical limits of silicon etching are reached, the Itanic will have the advantage. The pipelines and op codes have been minimized (compared with other chip architectures), so you can put MORE of them on a chip with finite space. The EPIC architecture IS the next (and maybe final) evolution of the CPU.
    Roger Ramjet
  • OT : Where's the follow-up to W. McDonald Buck?

    David Berlind 4 Feb 2005 blog writes:

    [quote][b]
    But now that the former CTO of World Bank W. McDonald
    Buck is chiming in on why desktops without Windows are
    financially harder than you think, perhaps the entire Linux
    community will take a deep breath and say "OK, we've got a
    problem... I can't wait to read Part 2."
    [/b][quote]

    It is nice to know that parts 2, 3, and 4 of the series are
    now available. But no comment from David? Do we assume
    he hasn't read the next parts, or that they weren't as
    malleable to his anti-linux position?

    The series starts here
    http://osdir.com/Article3992.phtml

    Buck's position in part 1, corporate customers
    buying tier 1 hardware without an OS is extremely difficult,
    is wrong as pointed out by a number of us that have actual
    purchasing experience.

    Buck's position in parts 2-4 is much more
    interesting and defendable - savings on the desktop are
    largely the same with open source apps on windows as the
    same apps on Linux (so why switch to Linux as the OS). He
    continues that the switch to open source will cost more
    money in the short term, then asks :

    "Are the benefits, like stability and security, worth it?
    Perhaps. Next week we will have a look at the benefit side."

    Buck concludes the answer is no, the benefits of Linux (eg
    better security) don't offset limited software availability. I'd
    say I agree, in environments where all the software required
    by the user is not available on Linux, a switch to Linux
    would be crazy.

    Whilst a significant number of enterprises could benefit
    from a Linux desktop, without greater availability of
    windows apps on X11 Linux growth in the enterprise for a
    Linux desktop will be limited, and in the home market near
    impossible.

    Buck concludes that on the server and embedded markets
    Linux will "eat Windows' lunch". Time for David's spin
    Richard Flude
    • Me, anti-Linux?

      Richard, Mea culpa. A failure of the RSS feed, I tell you! I watch the radar religously... a failing of personl organization I guess. We think the RSS feed will act as a tickler and when it doesn't, I get three lashes with a wet noode, one for each part I missed. Linux has already eaten Windows lunch in the embedded market and, as I will write in the next day, or two (business days that is), IBM has made several announcements recently that hang together quite nicely as a message that shouldn't be taken lightly on the other coast. Thanks for holding my feet to the fire.
      dberlind