Don Capellas justifies Compaq Alphacide
It's that essence rare
Compaq boss Mike Capellas has issued a long justification for murdering the Alpha chip, in a memo obtained by occult semiconductor site Thee Enquirer.
Capellas paid the chip - and its gifted designers - the kind of icy tribute that Cosa Nostra elders give at funerals of recently butchered kin:-
"The essence of Alpha will live on within the Itanium architecture," writes the Codfather, improbably.
In a conference call earlier today, Capellas projected the Alphacide as a win-win for Compaq. As part of the deal, Compaq hands over the rights to the world's fastest chip to Intel, and at the same time, has promised that all of Compaq's enterprise servers will be exclusively based on Intel's IA-64 chip, in a huge boost for the ailing Itanic. Capellas memo adds that VMS and Tru64 systems from Compaq will be available in 2003 - even earlier than he said this morning.
Now you may know that F.A.Porsche makes cars, and its design team has designed kettles and short-wave radios too. And they're very nice indeed. But there's probably as much similarity between a kettle and a short-wave radio as there is between Intel's VLIW Itanic and Compaq's RISC Alpha, when it comes to enterprise grade microprocessors. These differences really start to hurt when you're talking about multithreading. That's a processor trick Compaq has pioneered in the mass market (with its unreleased, next-gen Alpha), and it's a route that Intel Veep Pat Gelsinger has endorsed, too.
But Don Capellas is nothing, if not optimistic:-
"Our Alpha customers say that the actions we're taking make them even more confident about the future of Tru64 UNIX, OpenVMS and the high performance solutions that we deliver," he writes.
We've simply lost count of the number of emails we've received recently from Compaq customers demanding that they give up their current systems - based on the world's fastest chip and using the world's most scalable clustering - in favour of Itanic.
We can safely say that much-loved Register co-founder Mike Magee, who broke the news of the Alphacide to the world at the weekend, probably knows more about reincarnation than any other chip sleuth. But it may be beyond even Mike to keep the Alpha technology alive in the Itanic boiler room... ®