The Evolution of Mission Critical Computing

The digital economy is continually creating new experiences across every aspect of our lives, from how we communicate, to how we buy products, to how we hail a ride. This rapid pace of innovation is challenging the status quo and driving disruption in every industry, and has put IT on the critical path for companies’ long-term success. For the majority of businesses, IT transformation is an immediate mandate, and drives the need to quickly implement a multi-cloud strategy to realize the most secure, agile and cost effective IT environment for the business.

Mission critical computing is no exception, and it is central to IT transformation. Once the domain of mainframes and proprietary, monolithic RISC-based systems running back-end core transaction systems, the mission-critical landscape was forever changed with the introduction of the Intel® Itanium® processor family in 2001. Customers finally had an alternative to being locked-in to expensive mainframe and RISC systems, with an ecosystem of vendors offering Itanium-based platforms that delivered the high availability and reliability they demanded. At its peak, these Itanium solutions powered mission critical environments for more than 70 percent of Fortune Global 100 companies.

Today I’m proud to announce the Intel Itanium processor 9700 series, the seventh and final generation of the Intel Itanium product family. The 9700 series builds upon the current Intel Itanium processor 9500 series and is socket compatible with previous 9300 and 9500 series platforms, offering existing customers investment protection with improved performance and capabilities.

Intel Itanium Processor 9700 Series chip

We make this announcement in recognition of the continued expansion of what is considered “mission critical,” and which platforms are powering these applications. With the rise of the internet and mobile, every touch point and interaction with customers, suppliers and partners became mission critical to maintain a positive experience, relationship and business. These customer-facing applications are typically built on the x86-based Intel® Xeon® processor family and software built for a scale-out environment.

Any IT transformation must take into account the increasing interdependency of these traditionally siloed mission-critical systems with new emerging mission-critical workloads running on x86 architecture. These computing environments need to converge to create an integrated, secure, flexible and agile environment. That has become possible as, over the last decade, the Intel Xeon processor family has incorporated the best innovations from the Itanium processor to offer the reliability and uptime that mission critical workloads require, along with industry-leading performance and total cost of ownership, unparalleled OEM support, and the broadest software ecosystem. Coupled with continued Intel inventions and innovations in memory, network and storage technologies, the Intel Xeon processor family will be unmatched in delivering new capabilities for mission critical deployments of the future.

As customers continue to migrate en masse off of RISC and mainframe systems to Intel Xeon processor-based platforms*, we recognize that many of our Itanium processor customers are looking to preserve and extend the stability of their Itanium environments as part of their longer-term mission critical strategy. Although the 9700 series will be the last Intel Itanium processor, our OEM partners will continue to deliver system- and software-level innovation and support for Intel Itanium processor family users, as they weigh the benefits of business continuity with their longer term mission critical strategy.

We celebrate the contributions of the Intel Itanium product family and ecosystem to mission critical computing, and look forward to continuing to support our customers with the best data center solutions that help them achieve their IT and business transformation goals.

*Source: IDC Worldwide server tracker, 2016 (content may require subscription or purchase for full access)