Oracle, the world's largest designer of business software, said Tuesday that it stopped development of all software designed for Intel Corp.'s Itanium platform. The company said that the decision was made due to Intel's focus on x86 and the fact that Itanium was nearing the end of its life. However, the company has clear reasons not to support Itanium: after the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, it obtained its own mission-critical server platform.
"After multiple conversations with Intel senior management Oracle has decided to discontinue all software development on the Intel Itanium microprocessor. Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life," a statement by Oracle reads.
Oracle further pointed out that Both Microsoft and RedHat have already stopped developing software for Itanium. The new chief executive officer of HP, the biggest supporter of Itanium, also made no mention of Itanium in his long and detailed presentation on the future strategic direction of HP. Other large makers of servers, Dell and IBM, dropped Itanium back in 2005. In early 2011 Intel discontinued support for Itanium in its C/C++ and Fortran compilers. Besides, Intel has not publicly revealed roadmaps for Itanium beyond 2012 - 2013 timeframe and microprocessors code-named Kittson.
Oracle will continue to deliver and support its complete software stack on popular server platforms such as the Intel x86-64 and Sun/Oracle SPARC architectures, among others.
Oracle is undergoing major changes after the acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010. As a result of the takeover, Oracle obtained a number of new servers, workstations, storage, services and software assets. In particular, Oracle got Sun SPARC microprocessor technology along with mission-critical server platform, which has been historically competing against Intel Itanium, IBM Power and other similar products. Naturally, development of software that supports IA64 platform is not in Oracle's interests.
To help customers protect their investments as they transition to more non-Itanium server platforms, Oracle will continue to provide support options for current versions of Oracle software on Itanium-based servers. For those customers transitioning away from Itanium, Oracle's lifetime support policy offers three stages of support for Itanium-based servers.