a listing of various solutions available in the 64-bit computing
space. by Brian Pereira
we've said before, 64-bit solutions have been available from
vendors like Sun, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard who offer servers
with RISC processors and their own flavors of Unix. Now that
Intel and Microsoft have stepped on to the 64-bit platform,
many ISVs and server vendors will join them this year. In
fact, it is already beginning to happen. Even AMD, Intel's
arch-rival on the 32-bit platform, is planning a foray into
the 64-bit space with its Hammer processor.
Microsystems is perhaps the only RISC server vendor holding
out and refuses to go with IA-64. It offers only 64-bit solutions.
Anil Valluri, Director-Systems Engineering, Sun Microsystems
India, says customers have benefited from this single-track
strategy by keeping up with the technology curve while not
throwing away their software investments. "By controlling
its own architecture from a processor, server architecture
and the Solaris operating system, Sun is able to offer a very
well integrated, tested and optimized high-performance platform.
Sun's business model also ensures that we do not make revenues
out of chip sales, but by selling end-to-end solutions."
Sun's servers are powered by its own UltraSparc processor
(now in the third generation), and run its Solaris operating
system (now in its 9th version). Sun offers a range of servers
(entry-level, midrange and high-end) in addition to server
appliances and Internet/carrier-grade servers.
IBM offers a comprehensive lineup of servers for various business
and scientific applications. The company is known for its
mainframe expertise and it is now putting this technology
into its enterprise servers. IBM's entry-level servers (the
Intel-based xSeries) come with a choice of operating systems
(Windows, Linux, Novell, etc). IBM also offers a range of
Unix servers (pSeries) and high-end mainframe class servers
(zSeries). In addition, it also offers Cluster servers (iSeries)
and servers for Integrated Applications. IBM develops its
own flavor of Unix and the latest version is AIX 5L. It also
has other operating systems like z/OS, z/VM, OS/2 Warp, VSE/ESA,
VM/ESA. IBM servers are powered by its POWER series chips,
or Intel Pentium/Xeon processors.
Alpha servers (originally developed by Digital Equipment),
are perhaps the most powerful 64-bit systems in the world,
and have been deployed in Indian enterprises. Though Compaq
has Alpha, it has strategically decided to OEM Itanium servers.
The Compaq ProLiant DL590/64 is Compaq's first Itanium server.
Apart from Proliant and Alpha servers Compaq also sells fault
tolerant servers aimed at mission-critical computing (the
Nonstop Himalaya range).
The company is actively promoting the 64-bit platform in India
by working closely with ISVs, informs Pallab Talukdar-Director,
Enterprise Products, Compaq India. "Compaq shares a strong
technology and business relationship with ISVs and is actively
involved with ISV partners to enable porting of their 32-bit
applications to the 64-bit platform. This will go a long way
in bringing the best of 64-bit computing to Indian enterprises."
Like IBM, HP too offers a comprehensive lineup of 64-bit solutions.
Its 64-bit servers are powered either by the HP PA-RISC processors
or Intel Itanium chips. The latest version of its 64-bit operating
system is HP-UX 11i.
HP offers Itanium servers (rx series) with a choice of operating
systems: HP-UX, Linux or 64-bit Windows. The full range of
HP servers is categorized as rack-optimized, blade, carrier-optimized,
tower, super-scalable servers, and server appliances.
are extending the 64-bit computing advantages to the SMB marketplace
with our Itanium offerings," says Kamal Dutta, Country
Business Manager-Unix Servers and Solutions, Hewlett-Packard
India. "Our strategy is to offer best of class technology
to the users. We are of the opinion that one size and one
functionality does not fit all, and users will use the best
of class servers and operating environment, which best suits
HCL Infosystems was the first OEM in the country to offer
an Itanium server (the Infinity Silver Line Radium server).
Local OEMs like Wipro and others are also expected to offer
Itanium systems soon.
chip giant manufactures Itanium chips, chipsets and corresponding
motherboards which it sells to OEMs. Intel also works closely
with ISVs and OEMs.
Commenting on a strategy for promoting IA-64 in India, Narendra
Bhandari, Intel APAC Regional Manager-Strategic Relations,
Internet Solutions Group, says Intel has a comprehensive strategy
that covers developers, ISVs, hardware vendors and end customers.
"We are working with leading OEMs to enable them on the
Enterprise class features on the platform. Software vendors
and developers are trained at forums with classroom and
hands-on training for them to exploit the features of EPIC
Bhandari says there is an excellent
service revenue opportunity for the software industry to migrate
customers from old proprietary infrastructure to a "volume
platform" with a variety of choices for OS and vendors.
"We have provided seed systems to key software development
organizations for their testing, development and evaluation
at various organizations over the past two years," he
Intel has entered the 64-bit space then AMD cannot be far
behind. The enterprise server market is an important focus
area for AMD and it has plans to grow its market share in
Sanjeev Keskar, Country Manager, AMD Far East Limited, says
AMD has a product road map leading to the 64-bit Hammer family
of processors. "Hammer is expected to be launched sometime
this year and the chip will have the ability to run both 32-bit
and 64-bit software applications allowing enterprise customers
to migrate at their own pace."
Keskar says AMD is working with local OEMs to create a mind
share for the AMD brand among enterprises and in the government
sector, to educate them on "AMD's superior performance
and value proposition."
launched 64-bit versions of Windows XP on October 25th, 2001.
It has both a server and a workstation offering. The workstation
offering is called Windows XP 64-bit edition and the server
side offering is called Microsoft Windows Advanced Server
see continued interest in 64-bit
computing being driven by enterprise demand," says Karthik
Padmanabhan, Marketing Manager, Microsoft Corporation India.
"We will work with the industry and ISVs to make best
of breed applications available on our 64-bit
the operating system that created waves in the corporate space,
may do so once more, this time with Itanium. Red Hat Linux
7.2 has been developed especially for the Itanium processor.
According to the company, this release of Red Hat Linux is
equally suited to porting 32-bit Unix applications to Itanium-based
systems, as well as developing new applications for IA-64.
Says Javed Tapia, Director, Red Hat India, "Our existing
enterprise corporate customers are keen to evaluate the IA-64
technology and the migration path for their mission critical
database/ERP applications. We are working out a beta program
for our existing customers for IA-64 migration."
not just server hardware and operating system that make a
system. The applications are equally important. On the 64-bit
platform, businesses are using applications for ERP, business
intelligence, SCM, CRM, data warehousing/data mining etc.
Legacy applications that handle large volumes of transactions
are also running on the 64-bit platform in large enterprises.
Brian Pereira can be reached at