Dell rejoins Itanium fray

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Dell rejoins Itanium fray

Dell is marking its re-entry into the 64-bit computing market with the launch of its Intel Itanium 2-based PowerEdge 3250 server.

The company joins a throng of vendors, including IBM and Hewlett-Packard, in flying the Itanium flag this week as Intel prepares to unveil the next generation of its Itanium 2 chip, known as Madison on Monday (30 June).

Dell's first swing at Itanium came in May 2001 when it released the PowerEdge 7150. But the economic downturn and corporate indifference to 64-bit computing saw it skip the following generation of Intel's McKinley chips.

The 2U, dual Intel Itanium 2 processor server comes packed with 16GB of DDRM, Dual internal disk drives with integrated Raid, embedded server management, and Active ID. It also supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS & WS 2.1 and Windows 2003 Enterprise server.

Dell Server product marketing manager Russ Ray said the product is ideal for manufacturing, energy, life sciences, digital media, and financial industries.

Itanium 2 systems will also run in mainstream enterprise data centres, Ray countered, but applications designed for 645-bit architectures are still lacking. "This is a test case for the Dell standardisation curve," he said, noting enterprise adoption will be slow until Itanium 2 becomes a more standardised offering.

Test units of the PowerEdge 3250's are already running at select customer locations. Ray would not reveal further details about deployment numbers, saying only that Dell is counting on winning the price/performance battle to expand Itanium 2's presence in large-scale computing environments. Pricing information was not available before the official launch date.

Brooks Gray, an analyst at Technology Biz Research, did not believe the Itanium announcements by Dell and others will speed the adoption of Itanium, although he agreed that the high-performance computing market is ready. 

Mark Jones writes for InfoWorld


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