Poulson, Intel's new Itanium chip, will be launched later this year

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The next-generation Itanium chip for Unix and Linux dedicated servers, code-named Poulson will be launched later this year, according to Intel. It will succeed the current Itanium chip code-named Tukwila, which was released in 2009 after many delays. The chip is used in fault-tolerant servers that typically run high-end applications.

"We're on track for the launch of Poulson later this year," said Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, during an interview at the Intel Developer Forum being held in San Francisco.

Intel is also developing new dedicated server chips for workloads such as cloud and high-performance computing. The company has started shipping test units of its Xeon E5 and E7 servers based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, and has assigned the new brand Atom S to its low-power Atom server chips. The Xeon and Atom S chips are targeted at servers based on the Windows and Linux operating systems.

"We have the best solution for every workload that emerges from the data center," Bryant said.

A big event is being planned for the launch of the Itanium chip code-named Poulson later this year, Bryant said. The company will continue to develop Itanium processors and is developing Poulson's followup Kittson.

"It continues to be a rather lucrative market. For those customers than run Unix we want to continue to have a solution," Bryant said.

Servers with Itanium chips are mainly offered by Hewlett-Packard as part of its high-end Integrity server line. However, there has been speculation that Intel would stop developing Itanium, which the company has denied.

The Itanium processor architecture has been at the center of a highly publicized lawsuit between Oracle and HP. Oracle said in March 2011 it would stop software development for HP's Itanium servers, claiming the processor was reaching end of life. HP sued Oracle in June that year for breach of contract, and a judge ruled in HP's favor, ordering Oracle to continue porting software to the Itanium platform. The case's second phase will begin in February next year to determine whether Oracle breached the contact and the damages it may owe.

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