OpenVMS on HP Integrity servers

Itanium® and x86 with 64-bit Extensions on AMD64 and Xeon EM64T FAQs for OpenVMS
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# Question Response
1 Will OpenVMS run on AMD64 or Xeon EM64T? No.

OpenVMS is designed for the most rigorous environments, where scalability up to 32 processors (greater in the future) and exceptional RAS features are required. Itanium scales higher and has reliability features which are more suited for truly business critical servers. That is our business. So our focus will be on Itanium which provides this capability. According to Gartner Group (T-22-3916) while x86 with 64-bit extensions (x86-64) is capable of scaling to 8p the Two-way andfour-way configurations will represent the bulk of this market. As a result, there is no advantage for OpenVMS environments on x86-64.

Further, based on public statements by Intel, there will be no price disadvantage for Itanium processors in the future as Intel is looking to use common I/O, memory and other technologies through a common chipset for both Xeon and Itanium, and to reduce the price of Itanium.

"Intel is enabling Itanium Platform cost reduction over time and driving to cost parity with Xeon processor based platforms by 2007 through common platform infrastructure" Michael Fister, Intel Senior VP, Platforms Group

2 Does HP have a contingency plan in case Itanium fails? Leading Industry Analysts such as the Gartner Group see the success of Itanium as being inevitable. Server vendors such as HP, Unisys, SGI, NEC and others have publicly committed their conversion from RISC to Itanium processors as the basis for their enterprise server architecture. So far 8 of the 9 server vendors using RISC are now using Itanium. Based on shipment projections, Itanium will surpass PA-RISC processors shipments this year, IBM Power processor shipments next year and Sun SPARC processor shipments within a year or two after that. In addition a number of x86 server vendors have added Itanium to their line to increase their coverage in customers' data centers. Currently there are 40 different vendors offering systems using Itanium processors. Given this breadth, we foresee the future for Itanium to be secure and growing.

We fully expect that Itanium will be successful and all market indicators support this.

-X86 and Itanium each have a unique area pursuing their traditional deployments of network edge/small application servers versus mission critical, highly scalable applications/database servers.

See: Gartner Group paper T-22-3916 "64Bit Extensions Complicate Server Selection"

3 Do AMD64 and Xeon EM64T undercut the OpenVMS roadmap? No.

OpenVMS is a key element of the HP Multi-OS strategy and servers a specific set of needs. OpenVMS is customer and application driven with focus on security, scalability, availability, reliability, and disaster tolerance (i.e. maximum up-time). This strategy allows customers to us the right tool for the right job.

According to the Gartner Group in publication GG T-22-3916 "Itanium also has much stronger reliability, availability and serviceability points. Itanium servers are a strong competitor to RISC servers. Itanium will be most successful in four-way andhigher configurations. This category will address database serving, high-end HPC demanding strong floating point performance, data warehousing, fault-tolerant applications, high-end ERP and other online transaction processing (OLTP) applications."

Therefore, Itanium is appropriate for enterprise-class systems, i.e. the market for which OpenVMS has always been targeted and designed. This is especially germane when considering large system performance, database performance and complex workloads. Itanium can address more memory and have better performance. This is most evident in servers in the 8 to 128-processor space.

The OpenVMS roadmap is solid and focused on Itanium-based Integrity systems as its future.

4 I hear from your competitors' comments that Alpha is a niche product. But Alpha has done very well where used. So is Itanium a good next step and will it be better than Alpha? These statements by our competitors are pure and simple FUD. 12 years ago, when we announced AlphaServer systems, we stated that we will continue to invest in them until we felt that there was something better for our customers and that our customers would be able to take advantage of that new technology in an evolutionary way (as opposed to having to make major migrations and transitions). We identified Itanium and the HP Integrity line of servers, in particular, as the appropriate next evolutionary step for our customers.

The second part of our commitment is that our customers will be able to take advantage of the new technology in an evolutionary way. We mitigate any potential transition problems by ensuring platform compatibility between AlphaServer and Integrity. Mixed clusters of OpenVMS AlphaServer systems and OpenVMS Integrity servers are seamless. Adding an OpenVMS Integrity server to an OpenVMS AlphaServer environment can be as simple as adding a new OpenVMS AlphaServer node to the OpenVMS cluster. In this way customers can continue to evolve their environments with Integrity in exactly the same way they would have evolved them had they planned to add AlphaServer systems.

While no guaranty about the future can be made, our planning and product development anticipates the performance curve of Itanium to surpass Alpha in the next 18-24 months. At the same time the economies that the industry-standard Integrity platform and the robust ecosystem that it affords will add considerable value to our customers' environments.

GG T-22-3916: "Itanium also has much stronger reliability, availability and serviceability points. Itanium servers are a strong competitor to RISC servers. Itanium will be most successful in four-way and higher configurations. This category will address database serving, high-end HPC demanding strong floating point performance, data warehousing, fault-tolerant applications, high-end ERP and other online transaction processing (OLTP) applications.

"Richard Dracott, Director, Intel Enterprise Products Group says: "Today, ItaniumŪ-based solutions deliver the best performance & capabilities for enterprise & technical computing, and this capability and performance leadership will continue to grow into the future"

5 Isn't Itanium is going to be just like Alpha, where HP is the only hardware vendor that is seriously supporting Itanium. Won't HP be dropping Itanium for the same reason Compaq dropped Alpha? Alpha is an acknowledged breakthrough technology. But, with only the volume of one major system vendor, Alpha could not reach the scale that justified the investment in comparison with the economics of industry standard processors from Intel. Itanium is an industry standard processor supported by Intel and 40 hardware vendors, including HP, IBM, Unisys, NEC, Hitachi, Fujitsu/Siemens, Bull and Dell. About 20 of these vendors are delivering up to dual processor systems; about 20 are delivering up to 4-processor systems, and at least10 of these vendors are delivering servers up to 128P processors.

Over the long term, Itanium will continue to have two key advantages over x86:

Availability: The Itanium architecture is designed for enterprise availability. Design and development decisions are made in favor of including such features and protect data paths, machine check architecture, and self-healing caches (Pellston Technology).

Performance: Itanium is more efficient in the utilization of clock cycles. Over the next few years, Itanium will exceed x86 performance by as much as 2X. This will come from two areas: Today, an Itanium 1.5GHz processor has integer performance equivalent to a 3GHz Xeon - approximately twice the performance per clock tick. Design and manufacturing improvements are expected to allow the Itanium clock rate to equal that of Xeon, thus creating a wide gap in performance. In addition, improvements in compilers will further increase the effective performance yield of EPIC. Alpha to Itanium and Itanium to x86-64 are two very different models.

Moving from Alpha to Itanium is moving from one native 64-bit architecture to another native 64-bit architecture. But Itanium is an industry standard processor, with the full financial and technical backing of the premier chip company in the world, which will significantly reduce the cost of acquisition and ownership for OpenVMS customers. It also has the advantages of HP's added value that makes the entire platform into a highly reliable, high performance, scalable and complete environment.

Itanium to x86-64, on the other hand is a step backwards for OpenVMS. x86-64 currently only scales to 1 Terabyte of physical memory and only up to 8 processors per system. Meanwhile servers such as Superdome already scale to 128 processors and use 1 Terabyte of RAM today (and growing in the future) The x86-64 architecture clearly represents dramatic forward movement for 32 bit environments that do not have to worry about being CPU-bound (at 4 processors). But OpenVMS has been scaling beyond this level for more than a decade.

6 So for the same argument that we have for moving from Alpha to Itanium, will HP be proactively planning to implement OpenVMS on x86 extension this time? Alpha to Itanium and Itanium to x86-64 are two very different models

.Moving from Alpha to Itanium is moving from one native 64-bit architecture to another native 64-bit architecture. But Itanium is an industry standard processor, with the full financial and technical backing of the premier chip company in the world, which will significantly reduce the cost of acquisition and ownership for OpenVMS customers. It also has the advantages of HP's added value that makes the entire platform into a highly reliable, high performance, scalable and complete environment.

Itanium to x86-64, on the other hand is a step backwards for OpenVMS. x86-64 currently only scales to 1 Terabyte of physical memory and only up to 8 processors per system. Meanwhile servers such as Superdome already scale to 128 processors and use 1 Terabyte of RAM today (and growing in the future) The x86-64 architecture clearly represents dramatic forward movement for 32 bit environments that do not have to worry about being CPU-bound (at 4 processors). But OpenVMS has been scaling beyond this level for more than a decade.

7 Many customers prefer to develop on low-cost workstation-class machines. The x86 with 64-bit extensions would be good for this, rather than more expensive Itanium-based systems. For those to prefer to develop "on platform" note that, on the contrary, Intel has made it clear that they expect the price of Itanium based processors to approach that of x86 based processors over the next few years. Therefore customers will be free to make their choices based on the job to be done rather than price Indeed, many shops will use a larger OpenVMS server for development thus allowing large numbers of development projects to occur on the same system simultaneously.

"Intel is enabling Itanium Platform cost reduction over time and driving to cost parity with Xeon processor based platforms by 2007 through common platform infrastructure" Michael Fister, Intel Senior VP, Platforms Group Nevertheless, OpenVMS applications can be developed on many other types of systems such as windows and UNIX. For those who prefer to develop in a workstation environment we have all the necessary tools.

8 Several analysts see HP as the only user of Itanium chips, so Itanium not being a standard. What can I tell my customers? Over 40 hardware vendors are shipping Itanium based systems. Besides HP, these vendors include including HP, IBM, Unisys, NEC, Hitachi, Fujitsu/Siemens, Bull and Dell. About 20 of these vendors are delivering dual processor systems, about 20 are delivering up to 4-processor systems, and at least 10 of these vendors are delivering servers up to 128P processors.
9 Is Intel committed to Itanium? Intel is fully committed to Itanium. In fact, Intel is targeting Itanium to match today's volumes of Xeon MP processors by 2007. Here's a recent quote by one of the Intel executives:

"Today, Itanium-based solutions deliver the best performance & capabilities for enterprise & technical computing, and this capability and performance leadership will continue to grow into the future" Richard Dracott. Director, Intel Enterprise Products Group

10 How does the announcement around 64-bit extension impact HP's server strategy? Itanium-based systems are designed for the most demanding mission critical workloads, and will continue to deliver superior performance, availability and maintainability over the long term. Itanium has its own set of distinctive features that move beyond the traditional limitations of x86. They include high performance features from the Parallel Instruction Execution in EPIC, 64-bit structure built-in from the ground up, as well as support for highly robust operating systems of HP-UX, OpenVMS and NonStop Kernel.

Indeed, there is no change to HP's server strategy other than the addition of x86-64-based systems to perform jobs for which they are appropriate. 64-bit extensions is an evolution of the x86 architecture and provides improved performance and price/performance for various applications and a migration path to 64-bit capabilities. 64-bit enhancements to x86 are predicted to strengthen traditional application deployments historically served by x86 servers such as email systems like Microsoft Exchange. HP's ProLiant portfolio is uniquely positioned to take advantage these new enhancements to x86.

Producing HP ProLiant servers using the 64-bit extension technology is merely an extension of our existing ProLiant portfolio and part of our strategy to offer the best choice of the best x86 components to our customers - from 32-bit to 64-bit - always based on industry standard architectures.

Hewlett-Packard believes that a single server architecture or operating system is not enough for the variety of customers' business requirements. We will continue to deliver x86 and Itanium servers with a variety of operating systems, including OpenVMS.