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Oracle says no to Itanium  (Source: Intel)
Intel and HP are not happy

Intel has more processors than most consumers are aware of spanning categories that have nothing to do with notebooks, netbooks, and desktop computers that we use at home and in the office. Intel has a full line of Xeon and Itanium processors that it offers to computer makers for use in servers for businesses.

The Xeon processor line is Intel’s volume server processor line, while the Itanium processor --which isn't based on the x86 architecture -- sells in much lower volume for niche use in high-end data processing systems for financial, medical, and other uses. The Itanium processors are based on EPIC architecture, and do not support x86 software and operating systems.

That lack of support means that the companies that make software like Microsoft, Red Hat and Oracle have to develop versions of their software specifically to run on the Itanium processors. Oracle announced this week that it will stop developing new software for Itanium-based processors. Red Hat and Microsoft have previously made the same move to stop support. EWeek reports that Oracle decided to stop Itanium development after talks with people within Intel indicated that the chip giant was looking to wind down Itanium production.

A statement from Oracle said, "Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life."

However, Intel CEO Paul Otellini strenuously denies that statement. Otellini says that Intel is working hard on developing new Itanium processors and that processors are in the pipe and on schedule in the Itanium family.  The next generation Itanium processor is called Poulson and will reportedly use a new architecture that will allow Itanium to continue for years to come.

Otellini said, "Intel's work on Intel Itanium processors and platforms continues unabated with multiple generations of chips currently in development and on schedule. We remain firmly committed to delivering a competitive, multigenerational roadmap for HP-UX and other operating system customers that run the Itanium architecture."

EWeek reports that Poulson will be a 32nm chip with up to eight cores with twice the performance of the Tukwila Itanium chip in use now. The follow up to Poulson called Kittson is also under development according to eWeek. HP is the largest user of Itanium processors and is not happy with Oracle's decision either.

HP's David Donatelli said, "We are shocked that Oracle would put enterprises and governments at risk while costing them hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity in a shameless gambit to limit fair competition."



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65 to 32 nm and only 2x speedup?
By DanNeely on 3/24/2011 1:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
EWeek reports that Poulson will be a 32nm chip with up to eight cores with twice the performance of the Tukwila Itanium chip in use now. The follow up to Poulson called Kittson is also under development according to eWeek. HP is the largest user of Itanium processors and is not happy with Oracle's decision either.


Tukwila is a 65nm design. Going to 32nm drops transistor size by 75% (area), which ignoring architecture improvements and faster clock speeds should allow a 4x speedup from more cores. Is Poulson just a significantly smaller chip (Tukwila was huge) or is this an indication that Intel's having major problems with it?




RE: 65 to 32 nm and only 2x speedup?
By finalfan on 3/24/2011 1:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
Tukwila is four core and Poulson is 8 core so there is 2x speedup.

There is no direct link between performance and node process.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itanium#Poulson

And keep in mind Tukwila is a 12 wide-issue processor. The Core 2 series is only 4 issue. IPC wise, it's much much faster than the everyday commodity CPUs.


RE: 65 to 32 nm and only 2x speedup?
By DanNeely on 3/24/2011 4:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
The die shrink alone has room for 4x the transistors though. If Poulson cores are no larger than tukwila that means the die size is 50% smaller (possible because of how big Tukwila was), or if the die size remained the same that despite being twice as large there wasn't any speedup in performance at all.

The fact that they're only claiming 2x implies that the new architecture is no faster than the old one, which seems surprising unless something went wrong. If nothing else the increase in the width should have given a performance boost as well.


By finalfan on 3/24/2011 5:22:44 PM , Rating: 2
The information for Poulson is rather scarce. The Poulson die is smaller than Tukwila (544 vs 698) but with 1.5 times of transisters (3.1B vs 2B). There is no mention of the clock speed though. So it's hard to deduct any performance number from there. The 2X speedup is mostly a guess and assumed the minimum. Since Intel didn't release any data for it, we have to wait till it's available. We will see how much improvemnet from 6 issue to 12 issue can speed up the single thread performance.
The point is if Intel is to abandon the platform, there is no way they could've presented the new architecture in ISSCC just last month. Actually nobody was expecting them to do so.


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