Intel Corp. has once again delayed the release of its next-generation Itanium server processor to develop undisclosed "application scalability" enhancements.
The schedule set May 21 calls for the server chip, code-named Tukwila, to ship in the first quarter of 2010.
Tukwila had initially been slated for release early this year, but in February the company announced that it would have to delay it until mid-2009 in order to add a faster interconnect and support for new technologies like DDR3 memory.
A spokesman said the latest updates will be designed to speed the performance of highly threaded workloads.
The quad-core, 64-bit Itanium processor line is designed mainly for mainframe-based applications that require significant memory bandwidth.
Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat, said the design changes may have been requested by Hewlett-Packard Co., the primary user of Itanium chips. "The Itanium processor is pretty much a custom solution for HP," McGregor said. "HP has a huge investment in this, and they buy most of the processors."
Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc., said the latest delay could affect HP's ability to win new customers as competitive products like IBM's Power processors continue "firing on all cylinders."
During a webcast for investors last week, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said the Itanium processor business should get a boost from Oracle Corp.'s acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc., developer of the rival Sparc chip. Otellini cited potential uncertainty surrounding the future of the Sparc processor line despite Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's pledge to stay in the hardware business and increase spending on Sparc development.