The 64-Bit Bet: Itanium Chip Faces Slow Adoption - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Hardware & Infrastructure

The 64-Bit Bet: Itanium Chip Faces Slow Adoption

CompUSA moved to four-way, Itanium-based HP Integrity servers in November. Given the holiday season, it was a risky move, but execs were eager to get information faster from stores.

While Intel devotes a lot of time and money to expanding its role in the consumer-electronics and home-networking markets, it continues to play a dominant role in business computing. With Microsoft, it created the Wintel standard for desktop computing.

Today, about 90% of servers that sell for less than $10,000 use Intel processors. Even if Intel grabs the rest of that low-end market, it wouldn't be a big boost to the company. That's why Intel wants a bigger piece of the high-end computing market, and its 64-bit Itanium processor was intended to do that. But that's not how it has worked out (see story, p. 24).

Businesses have been slower to move to 64-bit computing than originally predicted. IDC in December predicted manufacturers will sell $7.5 billion worth of Itanium-based servers through 2007, down $1.2 billion from September's estimates. But four years ago, when Itanium held a lot more promise, IDC estimated $28 billion in sales of Itanium-based servers in 2004 alone.

Like most early Itanium users, CompUSA Inc. is digesting the technology in small pieces. So far, the company likes what it sees. CompUSA, which last year had 227 stores nationwide, has since added 70 locations thanks to the acquisition of consumer-electronics retailer Good Guys Inc. "One of the key things we're trying to put together was hourly updates of store sales," says Doug Gray, CompUSA's director of SAP and data-warehouse operations. In November, the company moved its data warehouse from an eight-way Hewlett-Packard ProLiant server to a couple of four-way, Itanium-based HP Integrity servers.

A risky move, given the proximity to the holiday buying season. But CompUSA executives wanted to know quickly what was going on with store sales during the holidays. Gray says the Itanium-based system provided sales numbers, forecast numbers, and gross margins by pulling information from transaction logs located within each store's registers. "Pulling, parsing, and processing data, even on the day after Thanksgiving, never exceeded 30 minutes," he says.

The move to 64-bit is paying off, says Larry Stein, CompUSA's senior database administrator: "There are things I simply couldn't do before, such as data mining, which is just raw processor power."

And the same may be true for Intel. "There's much more of an opportunity at the high end," says Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst for research firm Insight64. "And Itanium looks ready to hit its stride."

Return to main story, Intel's Crystal Ball

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Augmented Analytics Drives Next Wave of AI, Machine Learning, BI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/19/2020
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll