Intel has admitted that it will not deliver its 64bit Itanium chip as planned in the third quarter, creating uncertainty for vendors and users planning to adopt the technology.
A spokesman for the chip giant told vnunet.com: "The testing of the operating system, applications and validation is taking more time than previously estimated."
He said the delivery of early systems, previously expected in the third quarter, will be pushed back to later in the year, and that general availability of servers from many manufacturers with multiple configurations will not now happen until the first half of next year.
Chris Martin, an analyst at Xephon, said that because of Intel's decision to delay the availability of its processor, the market will be forced to wait longer for the delivery of servers based on IA-64.
"Now that Itanium has been announced, many people won't want to buy the old stuff and will want new [IA-64] servers. Many vendors have signed up, but the main impact of this will be on Intel's own revenue stream," said Martin.
"IA-64 will be pretty big because people want the wider addressing space available with 64bit chips which will allow databases and other big applications to run on the Intel architecture," he added.
Garry Owen, head of Dell's Server Centre of Competence in Europe, said it was still unclear how long the delay in the delivery date of Itanium might be, and declined to specify dates for a launch of Dell products that will include the new chips.
"Dell plans to release servers with Itanium as soon as Intel makes parts available," said Owen, who added that Dell intends to support 64bit versions of Windows and Linux on release, and was also "weighing up" the option of supporting other operating systems.
Owen said Dell would feel little impact from the delay, but added that it was still unwelcome.
"The earlier we get to market the greater the chance for us to get customers and for software vendors to get a big portfolio of applications out there," he said.
Mitul Mehta, managing director at independent analysts Tekplus, said that based on Intel's history, a delay of four to six weeks might be expected.
"IA-64 has taken a long time to come to the marketplace and computer manufacturers are waiting around for [Intel] to get its act together," said Mehta. "People aren't looking seriously at the dates Intel has given any more, and are looking at what is actually happening on the ground."
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