Intel finds role for Itanium in telecoms

Later this year Intel will ramp up its efforts to move into the RISC space with Itanium based servers targeted at the telecoms market

Intel announced on Thursday that it will for the first time begin offering server products for the telecommunications industry, including a server based on the 64-bit Itanium chip. The decision is as part of a move into the market for high-end servers, which are far more lucrative than the PC, workstation and lower-end servers where Intel currently has a strong presence.

The Intel servers will compete with industry-standard RISC (reduced instruction set computing) products, but Intel will be able to offer the chips at a lower price because of the massive economies of scale built into its manufacturing complex.

The servers are of two types, lower-cost, high-density form factors based on the Pentium III and high-end systems based on the Xeon and Itanium processor families. Xeon is based on the same core as the 32-bit Pentium chips while Itanium, which will make its product debut in workstations this summer, is a completely different, 64-bit architecture competing with 64-bit RISC chips.

The new telecommunications servers will begin to appear in Q4 of this year.

"On top of the industry's trademark reliability, Intel-based servers will offer telecomunications customers choice, scalability and top performance, at affordable prices versus RISC-based vendors," said Mike Fister, vice president and general manager of Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group, in a statement.

Intel says it will ship two Pentium III-based servers, a dual processor system in the 1U (or 1.75 inch) form factor, and another in the 2U form factor. They will be marketed to original equipment manufacturers and telecommunications equipment manufacturers.

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