Dell suggests Itanium on last legs

Itanium is heading down a path to oblivion, according to the head of Dell’s enterprise group.

TechEye discussed the server market with Bryan Jones, Executive Director, Public and Large Enterprise Group at Dell, and he told us that the Itanium is most certainly on the wane.

According to Bryan, Intel’s Itanium processor, the source of a toys-out-of-the-pram spat between Oracle and HP, is not appealing enough to a wider audience.

“We have not been involved with Itanium for a long time,” he told us.  “I don’t want to say Itanium is dead, but the need for proprietary servers is definitely getting smaller and smaller. Itanium is not cost effective, and there is a major problem with it locking users in.  This means that the market is continuing to narrow for Itanium as it becomes more and more specialist.”

He continues: “It is much more cost effective to go with x86, and you don’t get vendor lock in.  We see the solution as being through Intel and AMD.”

Dell had been involved with Itanium but gave up on it way back in 2005.  However, HP has been holding fast despite it being given the elbow by Ellison’s mob at Oracle.

Following Oracle’s decision to can any software developments with the chip that is getting similar treatment from Intel, a spat has broken out with a lawsuit from HP.

There is some hope that with the appointment of Meg Whitman the situation could change, and Itanium could be bid farewell.

Still, Intel says it is committed to Itanium and has a roadmap.

Jones told TechEye about ARM’s move into chip design for servers.  According to Jones, ARM chips are likely to have little impact on the dominance of the more energy efficient x86 any time soon.

“I don’t think there will be cannibalisation, it is likely to be an additional piece in the market.  Although we are working on and have launched energy efficient products, Dell does not see low voltage servers as cannibalising. There is continued demand from data centre staff for x86,” he said.

Despite the likes of Nvidia throwing its weight behind ARM offerings, it appears Dell is not swayed.

“We are very firmly committed to the x86 space,” Jones says.