HP Launches New Itanium Servers, But Faces Challenges
HP recently said that it has updated its Superdome and Integrity server blades with Intel's new Itanium 9500-series ("Poulson") processors that triple performance and drive down cost for customers, but admitted that it faces problems in selling the hardware.
According to HP the Superdome 2 and BladeSystem c-Class enclosure, both of which are available with the new Itanium quad-core CPU are up to three times faster than previous generations, while using 21 percent less energy. The Itanium remains HP's cornerstone building block for its business critical systems (BCS), for now.
However, during the FQ4 earnings conference call, CFO Catherine Lesjak indicated that sales of its BCS unit has become a more serious headache that will have to be addressed by the company. While x86-based BCS was up more than 25 percent year-over-year, overall BCS revenue declined by 25 percent in the same time-frame.
"And our server business continues to face tough macro and pricing pressures, particularly as we see the Itanium challenges within BCS persisting," Lesjak said. "We're continuing to see a very competitive pricing environment, and we're continuing to see lower-than-normal revenue from our Itanium situation."
The executive described this "stituation" as a "continued decline in Business Critical Systems related to Itanium."
Despite the new release of the Itanium processor, there was no indication that HP was more upbeat on Itanium sales for the remainder of the year, which reflects some disappointment that Intel has not debuted the Itanium 9500 with eight cores, instead of just four. There is also a rumored aftershock from the dispute with Oracle, which clearly indicated that Oracle has no intentions to support Itanium anymore and drop the court-mandated support as soon as it can.
Wolfgang GruenerWolfgang Gruener is a contributor to Tom's IT Pro. He is currently principal analyst at Ndicio Research, a market analysis firm that focuses on cloud computing and disruptive technologies, and maintains the conceivablytech.com blog. An 18-year veteran in IT journalism and market research, he previously published TG Daily and was managing editor of Tom's Hardware news, which he grew from a link collection in the early 2000s into one of the most comprehensive and trusted technology news sources.
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