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Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

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Rainer von Bongartz
Honored Contributor

Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

I'm beginning the process of replacing our old Hardware (K-class) with a new generation.
The Hardware is running several databases, no other application.DB software is available for Itanium.

Now there are two different ways to go:

Itanium based RX54xx
or
PA-Risc based RP54xx

I want to get your opinion which direction to go nowadays

Every input is welcome

Regards
Rainer

He's a real UNIX Man, sitting in his UNIX LAN making all his UNIX plans for nobody ...
24 REPLIES
Ravi_8
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Hi, Rainer

All applications are moving towards Itaniun, but still not standardized. Even though applications like DB2/oracle are available for IA64 platform, there are some glitches.

If you could wait for somemore time, then Itanium is the best deal. If the need is immediate then PA-RISC systems are the best bet.
never give up
Pete Randall
Outstanding Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Rainer,

In my opinion, Itanium is the wave of the future but it's not ready for prime time yet. I'm also looking at new hardware this year and will stick with PA-RISC this time around. By the next time we're ready to do a hardware upgrade, Itanium (and the applications that need to run on it) may be ready.


Pete


Pete
Bernhard Mueller
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Rainer,

I'd basically support Ravi's view. But considering you are still running production on K-class systems you seem to favor longer HW lifecycles, where adopting Itanium now would be a better solution in terms of scalability.

In addition, I think the performance gain in future PA-RISC development will flatten somewhat, while faster perfomance gains with new Itanium generation will be likely.

However, it seems today is the test phase for projects based on Itanium machines. All the mission-critical systems I know still use PA-RISC. Therefore my recommendation would be to employ Itanium as the platform for one of the less time and mission critical projects to gain hands-on experience.

Regards,
Bernhard

Brian Bergstrand
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

I asked this same question a while ago, http://forums1.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?threadId=210749

I ended up going PA-RISC (7410). We're doing another purchase of an 8400 class in two years, that one will most likely be Itanium based.

HTH.
Umapathy S
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

I also read somewhere (I dont exactly recollect the document name) that the PA-RISC systems coming now will be mother board compatible with future Itanium boards. So We can just go ahead and replace the motherboards/processors.

Umapathy
Arise Awake and Stop NOT till the goal is Reached!
Brian Bergstrand
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Umpathy, yes. The 74xx and 84xx are motherboard compatible with Itanium. This is mentioned in their respective white papers. I'm not sure about the 54xx series though. The white paper for the 54xx is here http://www.hp.com/products1/servers/rackoptimized/rp5400series/infolibrary/index.html
Joshua Scott
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Just something to consider...

The rp54xx is upgradeable in-box to the rx5670 for about $9K from HP.

-Josh
What are the chances...
Alzhy
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

We have made (and still are) making "Last Purchase" orders for PA-RISC Systems mostly rp8400s as these are reportedly module swappable and PCIX ready for the Itanium modules. We were expecting Q3-Q4 2003 shipments to be with the MAKO (PA-8800+) PA-RISC chips but it seems it is delayed once more (or is it finally scrapped?).
.
The Itanic err Itanium - being the "flagship" of the "commoditization movement" was chosen by HP as a "safe" choice since they are exiting the CPU making business. It is safe because it is the only CPU that has support for virtually all operating systems in the planet Linux, Widnows - including HP's proprietary HPUX, VMS, and NonStop OS.
.
With SUN and IBM the still making their own CPU, HP is placing its future entirely on the success of the Itanium.
.
As to which to go NOW, I'd say I'd still stick with the current PARISC platforms as a "last purchase" decision -- should be good for the next 3-5 years.
Hakuna Matata.
Jean-Luc Oudart
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Hi Rainer,

check this thread on "When will HP stop making PA RISC boxes" a few days ago.

http://forums1.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?threadId=231299


Rgds,
Jean-Luc
fiat lux
Patrick Wallek
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

I'm still personally in favor of PA-RISC. My main reason is that HP has had far too many revisions of the OS for the Itanium. HP-UX 11i v1.5 has been obsoleted already and v1.6 probably will be soon after the next release for Itanium.

In my opinion, that is too many upgrades to have to worry about in a production environment.

To see what I am talking about have a look at this:
http://www.software.hp.com/RELEASES-MEDIA/history/slide2.html
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

I think PA-RISC is a superior architecture.

That being said, Gartner put out a paper saying that HP was going to stop selling PA-RISC servers in 2006 and pull support some time after 2011.

So, its confusing. To further cloud the issue, my hardware vendor read the same report and laughed, saying PA-RISC isn't going away.

HP needs to clear this up. I was very disappointed when the latest release of HP-UX v2 was Itanium only after months of promises that this would be the first unified release that works on both platforms.

We have just put in 3 rp5450 dual processor boxes and they are great. Just awesome. Add that to the installed base and I wonder if PA-RISC will be so easy to kill.

SEP
Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
http://isnamerica.com
http://hpuxconsulting.com
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Founder http://newdatacloud.com
Rainer von Bongartz
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Thanks guys,

seems like the majority sticks to PA-RISC ( as I trend to do myself) .

But perhaps somebody out there has experience with ITANIUM based production systems and would like to contribute these.


Regards
Rainer
He's a real UNIX Man, sitting in his UNIX LAN making all his UNIX plans for nobody ...
Umapathy S
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Thanks Brian for the info.

cheers
Umapathy
Arise Awake and Stop NOT till the goal is Reached!
Mehdi_1
Regular Advisor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Hi Rainer

As person who port software for HPUX, I strongly advise you to choose Itanium. Although most of others suggest you to choose PA-RISC, But in my view they are wrong. HP is investing LOT of money in Itanim.For example the number of version of Itanium has come out in the last few years are more than the number of PA-Risc. From the software point of view, the number of software that support itanium platform are increasing very fast. There are lot of plan to develope itanium platform, I hardly see any plan for PA-RISC.
If you get the Itanium most of time software from PA-RISC run on Itanium, But that is not true the other way round.

Best of Luck

Mehdi
Jeff Schussele
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Hi Mehdi,

The number of releases over a given time span could also simply imply bug fixes. I really wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it's purely development....

My 2 cents,
Jeff
PERSEVERANCE -- Remember, whatever does not kill you only makes you stronger!
Mehdi_1
Regular Advisor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Hi Jeff


I agree with you. But the point is the HP machines are not a cheap machine to buy. If you buy one you need to look to keep it at least for few yesrs. Basically you need to see the future of your platform in the next few yesrs time. And I don't think PA-RISC is the right choice.

I 've been in Porting Center nearly five years. I never been under that much pressure from HP to port the packages on specific platform that I am now!!!. I guess it is the same thing with the other software vendor.

HP is pushing for Itanium badly. In my view I can see PA-RISC to be around any much longer.


Mehdi
Brian Bergstrand
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Mehdi,

HP has already publiclly stated that new PA-RISC systems will be sold/developed until at least 2006 and that PA-RISC will be supported maintenance wise until 2011. That's pretty far into the future as far as technology is concerned.

And for the present, Itanium is not as stable as PA-RISC. I take those extra OS releases you talk of as sign that there are still unresolved issues with the Itanium.
Jeff Schussele
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Hi (again) Mehdi,

I thought that was you. And, yes, I also have noticed the great increase in 11.2x releases appearing on your sites & we sure do appreciate your folks hard work. Keep it up, but don't get swamped. As our friend Merijn would say Enjoy, Have Fun!

Best Rgds,
Jeff
PERSEVERANCE -- Remember, whatever does not kill you only makes you stronger!
Mehdi_1
Regular Advisor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Brian


Obviously as a new platform it tend to have more bug than an old platform such as PA-Risc.
We have been runing itanium for sometimes now, and we never had any problem with it. I am not an DB expert, therefore I can't make any comment in that part. Perhaps someone who is runing DB on itanium can join the discussion and make some comment in that area.

Ted Buis
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Itanium has roughly twice the current PA-RISC CPU performance for the same or fewer dollars. The only reason not to go to Itanium is that the software you need is not yet ported. You need to check carefully. Some HP software still isn't there although most is. HP-UX 11i version 2 has just started shipping and has some features not available in 11.11, but there is at least one item missing. Naturally, if you are I/O bound, then the higher CPU performance is of lesser interest. This is the third release of 11i for Itanium (v 1.5, v 1.6, and v 2) and the newest Itanium processors require version 2, so make sure all your software is supported at that level.
Mom 6

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

Hi All
My personal feeling is the life of PA-RISC will be entirely on success of Itaninum and since its been a long time HP commited itself on Itanimun but has to keep on extending the life of PA-RISC mainly because Itanium is taking long time to get matured to be used on Production. Itanium has to show some extra overall performace/reliability benefit over RISC architecture. The life will also depend on how the other vendor deal with RISC eg. Sun still feel they can get more out of RISC but for HP this it does not has much left in it.

My personal suggestion is go with PA-RISC as others has already suggested.
Scot Bean
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

I use both PA and IA.

IA performance rocks (for IA-compiled/ported apps). Especially rocks for floating-point apps.

PA apps can run on IA automatically with a built-in PA-emulator product called Aries. However, you do pay a performance price for doing the inline translations.

Now that HP-UX 11.23 is available, IA has a full-featured Unix OS.

IA is more flexible: your Windows and Linux users can run on it, too.
John Collier
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

At the risk of posting redundant information, I thought I would put my penny in the pot for what it's worth.

Our organization is still buying PA-Risc for their high availability systems. The history of the chips is just too good and proven to make them change at this time. I believe that the general consensus is that they just haven't seen enough of a history with the Itaniums to risk the must-have systems on the new chips.

That being said, they have also invested in some of the newer IA chips as well and they aren't sticking them back in the corner as sandboxes either. They have put at least 5 of them in as the newest step for the OV-NNM platform as collection stations. I don't know how familiar you are with that platform, but let's just suffice it to say that a collection station is not a piece of equipment you want to have problems with if it can be at all avoided.

I was involved with the decision to bring the IAs in for that system, but got pulled from that project before I actually had any hands-on time with them. I do, however, keep in touch with the people that are touching them and they are quite impressed with the performance they are seeing from them.

It seems as if there are a lot of people in this thread above me that are fixated on the ever evolving OS for the IA platform. While I can't say that the concerns are not valid, I have to wonder about something that I have seen myself. That is the simple fact that I can't think of a single SA that has ever gone through and applied a patch or upgrade to a system that they don't see being absolutely needed. If the box is running smoothly, then why dink with it unless there is a security issue?

OK, so maybe that doesn't go with the standard suggestions and best practices models that you will see everywhere, but if you check around, I'm sure that you will find that there is a great number of folks out there that live by it. One of our more famous personalities in this very forum has been noted as saying that the uptime on one of his servers was reaching the multiple year mark without a reboot. If that is true, then logic dictates that the multitude of patches that have been made available have yet to make it to that box.

The point is, if you find that you can run your applications on the IA platform now, then the only reason for deciding not to is the unproven history of the IA platform.

If I had the purse strings and could make the decisions, I would get at least one of the servers in the IA platform and put the rest on the proven PA platform (one of the PAs to backup the IA (JIC)). Not only would you save a few bucks, but it would give you the chance to test and prove/disprove the platform for yourself.

The future of all computing is 64 bit, multi-platform hardware. Intel/HP has the Itanium and AMD has the Opteron. As soon as they have a proven track record, then all others will be squeezed out quite quickly as the prices drop. It will only be a matter of time and NOBODY knows exactly how much time for sure.

Just my thoughts FWTW,
John
"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." Stephen Krebbet, 1793-1855
Mark Greene_1
Honored Contributor

Re: Itanium or PA-Risc.? Your opinion for new hardware

We just installed our 6th PA-Risc box. We have no Itanium servers, and none of our software vendors have recommended Itanium. They do, however, routinely recommend PA-Risc boxes, along with servers from IBM and occasionally Sun.

Until we get a large push from our software vendors for Itanium, we probably won't go there.

HTH
mark
the future will be a lot like now, only later