You asked about the design differences between next generation Itanium, Tukwila, and the next generation of Xeon, Nehalem, and why an IT manager might select one platform over another. The answer is that the overlap between these processor families is growing, but there are still significant differences that can guide your choice. First, Xeon and Itanium are fundamentally different all the way down to the basic architecture – IA64, and EPIC respectively. Itanium was designed from the ground up to address very large, data intensive, mission critical deployments. Xeon, has evolved in performance, scalability, and reliability capabilities to bring price/performance and flexibility to ever larger and more highly available deployments, which brings us to our discussion today.
With these next generation products Itanium will continue to be the choice for those who want any of the following: the best platform to run HP-UX with the flexibility to run Windows and Linux, the most advanced reliability and security features, and the highest levels of processor and memory scalability of any Intel platform. Xeon (Nehalem) runs Solaris and Open Solaris (as well as Windows and Linux) and is fast approaching Itanium levels of reliability and scalability, but does not go quite as far. So in the end it will come down to first determining the software match for your OS and application, then if you are still considering both platforms, the decision will ride on your requirements for single system reliability and scalability.
Both Itanium and Xeon serve an important role in the marketplace and will continue to offer Intel customers the choice and flexibility they need in matching the right processor for their individual deployment needs.
If you want to provide more background on your situation, we can discuss this further.