Intel aims at high RISC strategy

After years of slowly bumping off RISC based servers, Intel thinks it is ready to go for the kill.

Speaking to Hit Print, Patrick Buddenbaum, mission critical marketing director at Intel said that Xeon-based Linux is at about 90 percent of the server market and RISC machines have retreated to the highest ground of computing.

Buddenbaum said that the Power/Sparc/mainframe market still represents a $15 billion-dollar server spend so there is cash to be made. In fact, IDC has noted that RISC sales have increased for the last two quarters while x86 is trailing off slightly.

With Intel’s latest Xeon, though, it looks like Intel believes it can take control of the RISC market.

The Xeon E7 line is the successor to the 7500 and is a 10-core chip with HyperThreading, so it can power through 20 threads at a time. This is a leap from the prior generation and is three times faster.

The Xeon and Itanium have a common chipset and memory buffer, and their RAS capabilities are almost the same.

He said that big iron vendors like HP need to bring their infrastructure to the E7, because at the chip level, for all intents and purposes it’s equivalent to Itanium.

The problem for Intel is that Unix-based RISC systems are slow movers. The outfits that buy them are not interested in changing and are ultraconservative so it will be a while before anyone knows of the impact of the E7.

However, Buddenbaum added that despite whatever claims Oracle has made about the end of the Itanium, Intel is committed to the chip.