Dell sets sights on Itanium
King of low cost servers attacks Itanium market
Comment March 30th, 2010
By Roger Howorth

In an exclusive interview Dell spokesman David Ard told The Hypervisor that Dell’s new Xeon 7500 based PowerEdge R910 server was powerful enough and reliable enough to compete head on with RISC server architectures such as the Itanium. “The Xeon 7500 is driving core counts and efficiencies to the highest levels we’ve ever seen. Is Dell going to use the Xeon 7500 to attack Itanium markets? The new chip provides an opportunity for us to help customers migrate to a more standards based platform.”

Certainly it seems Intel has endowed the new Xeon 7500 chips with high-end reliability features that compete head to head with Itanium and other RISC architectures. Intel Enterprise Marketing Manager Alan Priestley told The Hypervisor, “In the past some people have spent a lot of money on RISC systems because of their advanced reliability, availability and serviceability features”.  The new RAS features in the Xeon 7500 mean those people can now move to Xeon platform, Priestley added.

Similarly, the Xeon 7500’s NUMA architecture means it offers unprecedented levels of performance. “The Xeon 7500 uses an integrated memory controller and NUMA architecture, which gives an 8x bandwidth increase, due to additional memory channels and integrated memory controller”, said Priestley.

The NUMA design also allows vendors to build systems with up to 256 CPUs, which would offer unprecedented levels of performance. However, Priestley said it was unlikely we’d see such configurations brought to market as they would be too big to be practical and current software would be unable to work efficiently in such environments.

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