back to article HP counters Intel's 'Montvale' omerta with love

If anyone should be excited about Intel's new Itanium chip, it's HP. And, in fact, the Palo Alto powerhouse is giddy as can be over "Montvale" even though the processor appears underwhelming by most metrics. HP reckons that El Reg needs a spanking for grumbling about the Montvale release. Intel has shipped a part that at 1. …


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  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Return of the Troll!

    Bit misleading, Ash, as all the top 3 have seen declining top-end server sales for the years now. To quote your recent Sun results article; "Overall, Sun's server shipments fell 2 per cent year-on-year." What you also forgot to mention is that Integrity revenue is rising much faster than Sun's Niagara sales, and Sun's x86 is definately not setting the world on fire - quote; "And Sun's still young x86 business only grew 7 per cent."

    I haven't seen IBM's full figures yet, but I have been told by our HP rep that HP are back on top on server revenue, shipments and also back on top on blades again, so they seem to be the healthier of the three, Itanium included.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Superdome = Supercost

    I just don't get it. The path away from hyper-expensive proprietary Unix to X86 Linux/Windows was a path well worn 4 years ago. Unless you have a proprietary application that you just cannot move, what's stopping you from moving away from Unix and into standards-based computing?

  3. Ashlee Vance (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Return of the Troll!

    I'm still trying to figure out the misleading bit . . .

    Sun has been profitable for four quarters and seen high-end server sales rising. It's those systems that compete with the Itanium boxes far more than the Niagara gear. Comparing HP's entire Itanium biz to Sun's Niagara biz is a bit ludicrous. Even if you do, though, Sun had seen a number of 100 per cent growth quarters out of Niagara, which would beat Itanium.

    There's no question that HP's Itanium sales have been rising very fast. I've pointed this out again and again. In the end, though, it's high-end server business is still not profitable because of the PA-RISC and Alpha baggage.

    IBM seems to be doing far better than either Sun or HP on a consistent basis with the high-end gear.

    You're kinda doing apples and oranges and pears all over the place.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP Itanium growth is a misleading number

    HP Itanium servers running HP-UX are direct replacements for HP PA-RISC servers running HP-UX. To make specific HP-UX processor generation comparisons to the entire instruction set architecture of a competitor is bogused. It is an uptake rate, not a growth rate. It would be like Sun comparing the quarter over quarter UltraSPARC T1 growth rate to the total HP-UX growth rate.

    Second, Matt talks about "Integrity revenue" growing faster than UltraSPARC T1 revenue. In absolute dollars, this is probably true, given Integrity is a high-end server processor and UltraSPARC T1 is a low-end server processor. I don't need Matt to tell me HP's Integrity servers are overpriced. And again, this is replacement revenue, so it is not really growth unless HP is selling more total HP-UX systems.

    Matt, I want to see the combined Integrity/HP-9000 numbers. They are the same servers, even the same chipsets, just different processors. With HP-UX, they are the same OS.

    Customers need to realize the operating systems which matter going forward are OSs which run on sub-$100K systems. Why? Because a four-socket Tigerton system in November of 2007 is now as powerful as a 16-socket IBM POWER4 Regatta in 2001. And with VMware, it is just as virtualizable. Larger systems are becoming niche players, the new mainframes: capable, and necessary, but low volume and very expensive.

    If HP wants HP-UX and Itanium to survive, it should significantly broaden its Integrity blade server offerings. If Itanium is supposed to be the scalable CPU, why does HP only offer two-socket Integrity blades? HP has to make a four-socket, 64 GB memory Integrity blade in the same form factor as their four-socket Xeon and Opteron blades. And then HP should create a double-wide eight-socket Integrity blade. If customers could stuff four 8-socket HP-UX servers into a single C-Class chassis, HP might have something to offer.

    If HP does not want to do this, then it is relegating Itanium and HP-UX to a replacement market, destined to shrink in units at the inverse rate of Moore's law (what Sun's Papadopoulos calls "Blue Shift"). In this case, HP has to figure out its post-Itanium enterprise play. Will it be scalable x86 using Xeon, Opteron, or perhaps both? What will the OS be? Windows? VMware ESX? Linux? Solaris? There are challenges across the board here.

    Let's be real. The former will not happen. The latter is a forgone conclusion. Tukwila will come, with a common socket it will be able to share with Xeon. Poulson will never see the light of day.

    Several years ago, some people speculated on Intel's "Plan B", project "Yamhill". That speculation, repeatedly denied by Intel, was true. I bet HP has an Itanium "Plan B", with chipset engineers making sure Xeons with CSI will work on the Superdome follow-on, and with VMS and NSK engineers working feverishly on x86 ports. But are they porting HP-UX to x86, or is HP-UX a dead OS walking?

  5. Dunstan Vavasour

    Absolute or Percentage growth?

    "What you also forgot to mention is that Integrity revenue is rising much faster than Sun's Niagara sales"

    Is this the absolute increase in revenue, or a percentage increase? And if the latter, how big were the relative bases on which that increase happened? Does anyone have the figures?

    I work in the Sun arena, where the ramp up in demand for Niagara based systems has been phenomenal. If HP are selling more than this in Itanium based systems then I'd be really interested to know which sectors they are going into.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    HP's Itanium plan B

    HP's plan is to use Transitive Technology to host HP-UX on Xeon.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Matty the HP Cheerleader

    So here comes Matty again, not sure which HP reseller unit you represent. But Matty apparently have been told by his HP rep that all HP server units are doing great, and he substantiates the claim that it's on top of overall server revenue and units !! The truth is that the only HP server business which is doing really great in HP is the x86 (blades included). Their HP-UX business is decreasing overall, no matter how much they beat the Itanium stuff, the uptake in their Itanium based systems is still not able to offset the decline in PA-RISC. Do a detailed break down on the HP server revenue analysis, and high-end server comes into the RED.

    IBM is the only one thriving in the Unix based high end systems, in spite of using two year old Power5+. Once Power6 is available across their systems, their lead will only increase.

    Sun is doing remarkably good in the Unix business considering they don't have the cover that HP has in form of a gigantic x86 business. Sun is still dependent on SPARC/UNIX for almost all it's server revenue and considering that the overall Unix market is shrinking, they are holding up pretty well.

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