San Jose, CA — Nine leading systems vendors, five leading operating system vendors and more than 30 independent hardware vendors demonstrated hardware and software readiness for the forthcoming Itanium processor at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this week. The platforms, operating systems, applications and compilers are reaching the stability levels necessary to enable initial end-user pilots and evaluation beginning in Q4.
The Itanium processor platform showcase at IDF featured prototype server and workstation systems highlighting some of the advanced applications that address the demands of the rapidly evolving enterprise environment, including enterprise resource planning, business intelligence and high-availability fail-over. System vendors describing their large, multiprocessor server designs include Hitachi, NEC and Unisys, with as many as eight to 32 processors in one server design. Other companies demonstrating enterprise server and workstation hardware and software include: Caldera, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Mission Critical Linux, Mitsubishi, SGI and Microsoft.
“We are beginning to see scaling and performance results on prototype systems that will enable high-transaction-throughput enterprise applications and teraflop-class clusters running demanding scientific applications,” said Anand Chandrasekher, vice president, Intel Architecture Group, and director, Intel. “The variety of enterprise and technical platforms and applications running at IDF provides a glimpse of the tremendous industry support for the Itanium processor.”
While still in the prototype phase, early Itanium processor-based system testing has begun to show impressive results. The Linpack 1000 benchmark, which reflects the performance of the most powerful supercomputers when solving a dense system of linear equations, has already exceeded the best single-processor RISC results published. Production platforms are expected to exceed two billion calculations per second (gigaflops).
The Itanium processor architecture – even in prototype silicon – is also demonstrating breakthrough levels of performance on processor-intensive security algorithms. For example, on the RSA-1024 bit decryption algorithm, the Itanium processor prototype silicon performs more than 1,200 decrypts per second without hardware acceleration – nearly 10 times the estimated performance of Sun’s UltraSPARC III.
Intel has a massive Itanium processor platform industry enabling program underway in order to ensure end-to-end solutions are available from a broad choice of server and workstation manufacturers, as well as application developers worldwide. Program elements include early and broad distribution of key technical information and development tools, along with shipments of more than 6,000 prototype servers and workstation systems to date that include almost 30,000 processors in single- and multi-processor configurations.
Intel has opened more than 30 Application Solution Centers worldwide, where Intel engineers and hardware and software designers work together to tune Itanium processor-based applications. The first in a series of plugfests, a proving ground where leading hardware and software developers gather to test and tune their products and technologies on prototype Itanium processor-based systems, was held in June with more than 100 hardware and software developers in attendance. A second interoperability plugfest is slated for Sept. 11-15 in Las Vegas.
Designed to address the requirements of high-end servers and workstations, the Itanium processor is the first in a family of processors from Intel, and the most significant new development in Intel microprocessor architecture since the 386 processor was introduced in 1985.
Intel also revealed plans to deliver a suite of InfiniBand products when the specification is finalized later this year. Developed by Intel and other industry leaders, InfiniBand is a new server I/O architecture that simplifies and speeds server-to-server connections and links to other server-related systems such as remote storage and networking devices, improving overall server performance and reliability.
Intel also introduced the industry’s first gigahertz processor for servers and high-end workstations, targeting the rapidly growing “high-end”
workstation and “front-end” server segments. These processors inside Intel-based servers address the infrastructure trend of “scaling out,” where “dot.com,” e-corporations and service providers quickly deploy more servers to accommodate unpredictable, dramatic growth.
The Intel Developer Forum Conference is Intel’s premier technical forum comprising nearly 250 sessions and hands-on labs and more than 100 demonstrations of cutting-edge products and technologies. IDF attracts thousands of hardware and software developers worldwide. Now in its third year, the semi-annual conference provides hardware OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), IHVs (independent hardware vendors), and ISVs (independent software vendors) with in-depth information on Intel technologies and initiatives. More information on the Intel Developer Forum can be found at http://developer.intel.com/idf .