FEATURES & COMMENTARY
Las Vegas, NEV. — In a 34,000 square foot “testing village” at Caesar’s Palace, with three miles of cable, over 100 20 AMP lines of power and two terabytes of mass storage, nearly 200 hardware and software engineers from industry-leading computing and networking companies have gathered this week as part of the ongoing development of Intel Corporation’s Itanium processor-based pilot release set for the fourth quarter of this year.
As part of Intel’s massive industry enabling program for the Itanium processor platform, this “plugfest” provides a proving ground where hardware and software developers can test and tune their products and technologies on a variety of prototype Itanium processor-based servers and workstations.
This is the second time the industry has assembled to test and tune hardware and software on the Itanium processor platform. System configurations – now reaching a stage of maturity – include large amounts of memory and systems populated with multiple processors. The focus of the plugfest is to stress-test the platforms prior to their pilot release. Testing has been expanded to include telecommunications and networking as well.
“Our collective task is to ensure all the components of Itanium processor- based solutions work together effectively, reliably and seamlessly,” said Ron Curry, director, Intel Itanium processor family marketing programs. “This is a significant milestone in our enterprise-class product rollout as we near pilot release in Q4 of this year and platform release in the first half of next year.” Other industry enabling program elements already in place include early and broad distribution of key technical information and development tools and shipments of more than 6,000 prototype servers and workstation systems to date, including almost 30,000 processors in single- and multi-processor configurations. Intel has also 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 Itanium processor is the most significant new development in Intel microprocessor architecture since the 386 processor was introduced in 1985. Intel’s Itanium processor includes new features for high-end scalability, reliability and availability. It complements and extends Intel’s existing Pentium III Xeon processors, reaching into the highest levels of computing to enable powerful servers and high-performance workstations to address the increasing demands that the Internet economy places on e-Businesses.
The Itanium processor family architecture is based on a new computing approach called EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing). Itanium processor features include parallel execution of instructions, large memory addressability, error detection correction, world class floating point performance, high bandwidth, 2.1 gigabyte per second bus speed, 2 and 4 MB Level 3 “memory reservoir” cache and production frequencies of 800 and 733 MHz. Intel expects to begin initial processor shipments for use in end-user pilot systems in the fourth quarter of this year, with platform release and general availability of systems in the first half of 2001.
Intel is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products.