Itantium 2 to try before you buy

Despite some rather lacklustre sales worldwide Intel is continuing to push forth with Itanium 2 into the channel with its new try-and buy approach to enticing customers to buy into the 64-bit processor revolution.

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By  Paul Barthram Published  December 9, 2003

Despite some rather lacklustre sales worldwide Intel is continuing to push forth with Itanium 2 into the channel with its new try-and buy approach to enticing customers to buy into the 64-bit processor revolution.

Intel Corporation is challenging companies in the Middle East region as part of a worldwide campaign to compare Intel Itanium 2-based servers head-to-head against proprietary systems during a free trial period that is part of the company's new "try-and-buy" programme.

Called "The Intel Itanium 2 Solution Challenge," the worldwide effort kicks off this December and targets Global 500 corporate customers that are currently using RISC-based computers. The Challenge will run throughout the coming months, and is being mounted in conjunction with a score of leading system and solution providers. Customers will have access to Itanium 2-based systems and services for up to 90 days to evaluate the results.

Intel is working on the programme with a number of original equipment manufacturers, regional system builders, Itanium 2 software suppliers and system integrators, with HP, IBM, and Unisys to name but a few. Industry partners can recommend end-user customers for the challenge.

"We are bullish on Itanium 2's performance and price advantage versus proprietary offerings," said Lisa Graff, director of Intel's Itanium Group. "Intel, along with our industry partners, wants CIOs to experience the difference an Itanium 2-based server can make."

In the past year, the mix of customers buying Itanium-based systems has evolved from high-performance/scientific users to enterprise customers. Currently, 14 of the top 25 Global 500 companies have deployed or are evaluating the architecture. However the Middle East as a region has not been quick to embrace the new system, and with the cost associated with trial solutions and no guarantee of sale, the success of such a scheme will depend on positive word of mouth from the early adopters, regardless of vendor support.

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