Top 10 Epic Phail PC Technologies: Itanium
To apply the vernacular of the modern online PC enthusiast: Itanium is an Epic Phail. Why?
Intel announced the "revolutionary" server platform Itanium with an overwhelming amount of pomp and circumstance to the point where I still hear the strains penned by Sir Edward Edgar whenever I see the name. What Intel did not seem to take into consideration was that the hard pressed IT managers around the world consider "revolution" nothing short of "revolting." They've already wasted countless billions of their company's dollars on keeping up with the "next paradigm" to the point where the suits in the boardroom have sent out the memo: "If it works don't mess with it!"
Thus Intel decided to lavish onto the lowly IT swine a whole new set of pearls when it seemed that they only wanted extra helpings of the same old slop. Itanium required an upgrade to a whole new set of systems, and that prospect was welcomed in the IT world with all the enthusiasm of submitting to intestinal surgery without the assistance of anaesthetic.
The single most significant flaw in the Intel Itanium Adamantium Armor was not only that it required IT managers to essentially throw out everything in their server rooms with the possible exception of the racks and the bikini calendar on the wall; but that Itanium was a 64-bit system with no support given to 32-bit code.
At the time of Itanium's introduction you could probably count the major server software that was optimized to function on 64-bit chips with no 32-bit structure on the fingers of one hand. With no backwards compatibility to speak of, the reasons for adopting Itanium went from barely any to none. And since Itanium never reached that critical market mass that it required to get the developers to start cranking out software that is specifically optimized to run on the 64-bit Itanium CPUs, Intel ended up in the disastrous downward spiral which has doomed so many non-mainstream systems: There's no software so there's no sales and so on and so on and so on.
Intel basically laid down the law. They told IT managers that the future was 64-bit computing and they were going to drag them into that cramped DeLorean with the Mr. Fusion sticking out of the back and the Flux Capacitor bumping up against your head whether they liked it or not. Well... it turned out that the IT guys didn't like it and jumped out well before the car roared up to the critical 88 mph.
I've often been attacked by commentors as an Intel shill. Reading my Hubs where I rather mercilessly attack every aspect of Intel's long time competitor and nemesis AMD, from their flaccid CPUs to their massive incompetence in the boardroom, I've had the accusation that I'm on Intel's payroll bandied around on countless occasions.
To that all I can say to Intel's CEO is: Paul Otellini, come and help out a fellow paisano and send me a few bucks, willya? I've been promoting your products over those from the moronic Green Team for years and I haven't as much as received as a single measly ES CPU in the mail. After all, you took home nearly $13 million last year, and I'm still sitting in the drive thru queue at McDonalds trying to figure out if I should splurge an inordinate chunk of my meagre weekly budget on Supersizing my Big Mac Combo.
Therefore, it may come as a shock to many of my habitual Hub readers to learn that I am actually going to commit blasphemy and credit AMD for one thing (yes, and it may be the first, last and only time I do that): Their Opteron server CPUs are a bivalent 32-bit and 64-bit processor which although it doesn't measure up to Intel Itanium's speed and overall performance, did offer the long suffering IT managers an option which allowed them to keep the vast majority of their existing server infrastructure on both the hardware and software aspects.
Itanium has been adopted by a very few adventurous IT managers who managed to bamboozle their CIOs into funding their leap into 64-bit computing, and the majority of these wax prosaic about Itanium's vast advantages on this, that, or the other thing. Unfortunately, Itanium is considered Intel's most serious misstep since introducing the notorious Pentium processors with the evil floating point flaw, and a move which has allowed the otherwise moribund AMD to stay just one millimeter off the ropes since its introduction. An incredibly Epic Phailure.