HP: Itanium Is Not Dead

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted Mar 24, 2011


Is there still life left in Intel's Itanium? It all depends who you ask. HP still thinks so, but the number of other vendors that still support Itanium continues to dwindle. Oracle claims Intel is ending Itanium. HP and Intel respond.

This week, Oracle announced that it was stopping all software development for Intel's Itanium processor family. Oracle noted that it made the decision to terminate Itanium software development after conversations with Intel's senior management.

"Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life," Oracle stated in a press release.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), however, refuted Oracle's statement and denied it is ending Itanium development.

"Intel's work on Intel Itanium processors and platforms continues unabated with multiple generations of chips currently in development and on schedule," said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel, in a statement. "We remain firmly committed to delivering a competitive, multi-generational roadmap for HP-UX and other operating system customers that run the Itanium architecture."

The number of other operating system customers that run Itanium is in decline.

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) isn't alone in abandoning Itanium software development. Both Microsoft and Red Hat have already stopped their Itanium software development activities.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) announced it was dropping Itanium support back in 2009, though only for the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL) operating system release. Red Hat said it remains committed to supporting RHEL 5 on Itanium until March 2014.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced in April 2010 it was ending Itanium software development.

HP (NYSE: HPQ) remains defiant, however, and blasted Oracle for alleging Intel was ending Itanium development.

"Oracle continues to show a pattern of anti-customer behavior as they move to shore up their failing Sun server business," said Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager, Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking at HP, said in a statement. "We are shocked that Oracle would put enterprises and governments at risk while costing them hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity in a shameless gambit to limit fair competition."

As part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Oracle inherited the SPARC server business, which is competitive with Itanium.

The current generation of Itanium chips is the quad-core Tukwila architecture, which debuted in February 2010. The next generation of Itanium is codenamed Poulson. It is a 32-nanometer, 8-core-based Itanium chip. According to HP and Intel, Poulson will offer double the performance of Tukwila.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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