HP Introduces New Blades – Including Superdome!

At Tech@Work in Germany, HP introduced a number of new Itanium blades with the new Tukwila chip (or Itanium 9300). The new blades will work in blade chassis that also support x86 blades.

The real news is that Superdome servers are also available in the same chassis. Thus, x86 and Itanium servers can be side by side with Superdome servers.

On top of this, all blade types can use the same power supply and other parts. This means that parts can be swapped, and means lower costs for HP (fewer types of parts) and lower costs for customers as well.

Added to all this, there was the March 2010 update to HP-UX.

This truly is exciting. Imagine managing x86, Itanium, and Superdome from the same interface…

Microsoft Joins Red Hat in Dropping Itanium Support

Red Hat announced at the end of 2009 that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 will not support Itanium, and now Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version to support Itanium.

This is not good. HP is the largest vendor of Itanium systems – they should be, since Itanium was an HP-Intel joint venture. Intel just introduced the new Tukwila chip in January, and now Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux will not be found on the chip.

Most pertinently for HP, this means that Integrity Virtual Machines running Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux will neither be available nor supported.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is still available for Itanium, as is HP-UX, and OpenVMS is due soon. Time will tell if this bailout by Red Hat and Microsoft will affect HP’s bottom line; Intel should be relatively unscathed.

UPDATE: Fixed factual error.

Intel Itanium Tukwila CPU Out Soon?

ComputerWorld reports that Intel has started shipping the Itanium Tukwila processor. The Itanium processor drives the HP Integrity line of servers, as well as the HP NonStop servers.

In the near future (2nd or 3rd quarter?) HP is expected to announce Integrity servers based on the Tukwila processor. These new servers are predicted to be blade servers, and it is also suggested that Superdome will receive a complete overhaul – which is uncomfortably close to suggesting a “forklift upgrade” (i.e., pull out the entire server and replace) for Superdome. The Superdome system infrastructure is 10 years old, so it may be time – but an expensive upgrade like that is never welcome.

At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference next week, both Sun (UltraSPARC “Rainbow Falls”) and IBM (Power 7) are expected to announce new chips. Some coverage of both these chips went on at the HotChips Conference in August; ExtremeTech covered both chips well in its conference preview. In September, the Register managed to snap up a copy of the Sun SPARC roadmap; it shows the Rainbow Falls chip being introduced in 2010. As for Tukwila, Intel is rumored to be making the formal announcement of Tukwila at the ISSC.

We shall see…