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Jonathan Eunice, principal analyst at Illuminata, said, "The roll-out of Itanium from a supplier such as Dell could push the cost of machines using 64-bit technology down by at least 20% or 30% within a year.
"Lower-cost 64-bit technology will be particularly useful for users working with high-performance computing and, secondarily, databases."
Dell's Itanium servers will come up against hardware offerings from IBM and Sun, which are already well established in the 64-bit market.
At Dell's enterprise event in New York last week, the company's chief operating officer Kevin Rollins confirmed the company's intention to run Linux on Itanium processors. He said, "We plan this year to have an Itanium 2 product - we are big advocates of Linux today, as well as Microsoft, because it allows customer choice."