Server wars: Intel, HP prep new Itanium; IBM launches new Power7 systems

Server wars: Intel, HP prep new Itanium; IBM launches new Power7 systems

Summary: Unix servers may not be the most glamorous market in IT, but the big players are duking it out to grab more share.

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Unix servers may not be the most glamorous market in IT, but the big players are duking it out to grab more share.

IBM will launch new Power7 systems on Monday (Techmeme). The systems will run on IBM's Power 7 chip. CNET News' Brooke Crothers notes that System7 is a big step for Big Blue with eight processing cores in one package. Crothers explains:

The processor is a big step for IBM, integrating eight processing cores in one chip package, with each core capable of executing four tasks--called "threads"--turning an individual chip into a virtual 32-core processor. As a yardstick, Intel's high-end Xeon processors--systems that Power7 will compete with--typically have two threads per processing core.

IBM's Power7 systems will have up to 64 Power7 cores with better energy efficiency. There is one system with 32 Power7 cores.

Through the third quarter, IBM and HP were neck-and-neck for the most server market share, according to IDC. Both IBM and HP have been beating up on Oracle's Sun Microsystems.

Big Blue's Power7 launch front runs Intel and HP's latest Itanium effort. Intel and HP at 12:30 p.m. ET will walk reporters through the latest Itanium. Details are sparse at the moment, but rest assured the Unix server battle is just warming up.

Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Open Source, Processors, Servers, Software

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17 comments
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  • Too bad we don't have a company giving

    ordinary people access to the Power processors. I wonder if Steve Jobs ever regrets moving Macs completely to Intel.
    chrome_slinky
    • King Jobs has regrets?

      Don't bet on it. Jobs doesn't give a whit about the ordinary users/gamers
      for his products.
      Starman35
      • Every company chooses their customers ...

        ... and fashions their products with the necessary trade-offs to attract those customers at a price-point both can tolerate.

        Jobs makes a certain kind of product for a certain kind of user.

        If you like what he has to sell, you buy it. If you don't you buy another product from someone else.

        To share why you would not buy his products is one thing but to crticize Jobs for what he is doing (apparently quite successfully) is a waste of energy.
        M Wagner
    • I doubt it!

      Steve Jobs is nothing if not pragmatic. It cost him too much per unit to use PowerPC. He needed to cut his costs to compete with Intel and moving to a standard Intel x86-based archtecture made the most sense from a cost-standpoint.
      M Wagner
    • Why would "ordinary people" need ...

      ... 8 cores (32 virtual cores) in their personal computers?

      If they ever do, I am sure that IBM woud be mose happy to sell it to them - with either Linux or AIX on it!
      M Wagner
  • RE: Server wars: Intel, HP prep new Itanium; IBM launches new Power7 system

    Too bad none of this will be for the home user. A PCI card
    for IBM's Power 6 chip (Cell B/E) costs well over $6,000, yet
    the PS3/160 sold for under $400 with one of these. New
    PS3's are out, and they don't allow any other os on them
    anymore.
    Starman35
    • Apple and Oranges, I am sure.

      (nt)
      M Wagner
    • POWER6 is not the Cell/BE

      IBM never sold Cell/BE PCI cards Fixstars did. IBM only sold blade servers for about the same price. The Cell/BE is not in the PS3, Sony manufactures it's own, slower chip. The Cell/BE is discontinued.

      The POWER6 was the fastest chip ever benchmarked. Systems start around $5k.

      What would you even do with a headless Linux Server at home. Mencoder batch encoding? Blender? The only Graphics chips made for Power are PowerVR chips for STB's, TV's and phones and their divers are proprietary and unsupported by the company.
      shaunehunter
  • RE: Server wars: Intel, HP prep new Itanium; IBM launches new Power7 systems

    Thanks for the info Larry, I didn't realize Power7 was ready to ship. I wonder how they will stack up to Sun T5440 with 64 threads per CPU? The last TPC-C benchmarks made IBM look pretty far behind, I can only assume they are working diligently to come back with something, although I doubt they'll be able to match 256 threads in 4U. I need to have a chat with the IBM rep it seems.
    914four
  • Isn't the Itanium dead yet?

    I thought that the Itanium platform was dead a long time ago...
    balsover
    • Does this sound like dead to you?

      I've worked on the Itanium product line for more than a decade here at Intel and I am happy to report Itanium is alive and healthy.

      In fact, Itanium today is used by more than 80 percent of the Global 100 largest companies, helping run their mission critical applications. And according to IDC's latest WW Server Tracker (Q3'09) Itanium has achieved 132% of SPARC and 71% of POWER (on a system revenue basis.) Finally, Itanium's 7th product, the quad-core Itanium Series 9300, just launched this past Monday (Feb 8).

      The bottom line? Itanium is firmly established today as a key datacenter architecture. Intel's disclosed future Itanium roadmap goes out farther than its RISC and mainframe competition. And with Intel's cutting edge R&D and world-class silicon manufacturing capacity behind us, we feel bullish about the future of Itanium.
      robert.shiveley
  • So... why get back into the processor market now?

    Considering all the development and testing costs of making a new line of CPU, and IBM hasn't done so since they were making Cyrix chips, why would they go through all the trouble to introduce an unproven server chip and system? When Intel and AMD both have high-end server chips that work so well?
    blackepyon01
    • What are you talking about?

      IBM never quit designing chips and they've benchmarked higher than Intel/AMD since at least the POWER3. Never hear of the Cell or the POWER6 which was the worlds fastest chip by far until today? 5GHz man.

      They only manufactured Cyrix chips like they do some of AMD's.
      shaunehunter
  • RE: Server wars: Intel, HP prep new Itanium; IBM launches new Power7 systems

    You should contact the IBM rep. POWER7 looks to run rings around the Sun T line.
    fromag82
  • RE: Server wars: Intel, HP prep new Itanium; IBM launches new Power7 systems

    IBM?s Power7 Processor is a great example of green tech, proven by the enrolment of eMeter as a customer. The Unique Intelligent Energy feature is an awesome way of controlling energy efficiency with flex thermal conditions and system usage on single servers or across systems.

    Researching how to make your company, product, or next project more Green? Go to http://www.greencollareconomy.com for sustainability white papers and the largest b2b green directory on the web.
    VerdantCasey
  • What a joke...

    32 Threads? Itanium? What a joke... Hp and Ibm still years before have a mature technology as Coolthreads. Shame, shame, shame! You now feel the heat...
    green alien
  • RE: Server wars: Intel, HP prep new Itanium; IBM launches new Power7 systems

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