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Shock! Horror!! HP to Ship Opteron Servers
Shock! Horror!! HP to Ship Opteron Servers

Hewlett-Packard, the co-developer of the trillion-dollar Itanium chip, whose participation delayed the 64-bit processor in getting to market and added considerable complexity to the widget because it had to be tweaked to accommodate PA-RISC - and naturally the company that has championed the slow-off-the-mark part more than anybody else - is slated to put a fox in the hen house and adopt AMD's 64-bit Opteron chip for servers.

Don't you just love how things work out?

HP's move coupled with Intel's intention to acknowledge its bastard Yamhill chip must account for the chatter that caused industry analyst Nathan Brookwood to raise his 64-bit mind share alert status to orange.

Wouldn't it be something if HP was ticked at Intel for weakening Itanium with Yamhill and went with Opteron out of pique?

Or maybe it's learned from Sun CEO Scott McNealy and decided it's best not to be monomaniacal right now.

It's been speculated that HP would pick up the Opteron since it first expressed interest in the AMD64 for its desktops. It's reportedly supposed to make its move in late February, early March and come out with one- and two-way ProLiants that it's unlikely to position against the Itanium.

It may be crazy, but it's not ready to slit its own throat.

Some people think the HP Opteron boxes could go to four-ways. And there's talk of blades.

Delivery is anybody's guess.

Intel must be grinding its teeth.

Sun sent around a note congratulating HP "on recognizing the future of mainstream x86 64-bit horizontal computing."

Illuminata claims Opteron isn't a fundamental strategy shift for HP, although it may be perceived that way, and painted that way by rivals.

Which Sun immediately did. Forgetting that it had a little Sparc-Opteron conflict of its own, it's going around saying the move "signals that HP is finally giving up on Itanium" and - given Sun's Unix interests - that "really puts the future of HP-UX into jeopardy." Sun says it should have a field day with the customers HP has been forcing to Itanium and that the move will "freeze any customers that may have considered an HP/Itanium solution."

Heck, Sun went whole hog and called the HP/Compaq merger into question suggesting internal conflict between the Itanium camp and the Opteron camp.

Okay, let's see, aside from all the agitprop, with HP on board that leaves Opteron to conquer Dell. IBM is already selling Opteron boxes and Sun is supposed to start. (Sun is gratified for the validation.) HP, however, according to Illuminata, is the real prize because it's more likely to deliver volumes than the others.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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