Oracle on Thursday reaffirmed its position regarding Intel Corp’s Itanium platform and responded to claims made by Intel and Hewlett-Packard about long-life ahead for the IA64. The leading business software company insists that the Itanium would cease to exist and it was Oracle’s responsibility to inform its customers about the end-of-life of the platform it does not own.
“Oracle has an obligation to give our customers adequate advanced notice when Oracle discontinues development on any software product or hardware platform so our customers have the information they need to plan and manage their businesses. HP is well aware that Intel’s future direction is focused on x86 and that plans to replace Itanium with x86 are already in place,” a statement by Oracle reads.
Since Oracle itself sells mission-critical servers based on Sun UltraSPARC microprocessors, it is definitely has a clear financial interest not to support competing Intel Itanium platform, which is currently supported by Intel with processors and logic as well as HP, which designs HP-UX operating system and makes servers powered by IA64 central processing units.
On the other hand, Intel has been adding various mission-critical capabilities onto its Xeon EX platform. For example, Xeon 7500-series microprocessors come equipped with more than 20 reliability features, such as Machine Check Architecture (MCA) Recovery, a feature that allows the silicon to work with the operating system and virtual machine manager to recover from otherwise fatal system errors, a mechanism originally found only in the company's Intel Itanium processor family and RISC processors.
It is also true that many server makers dropped Itanium platform, including Dell and IBM and so did loads of software developers, including Microsoft and Red Hat. Even SGI reduced its focus on Itanium back in 2009.
Oracle also accused HP of misleading its customers by hiding the information about the future of Itanium.
"HP is knowingly withholding this information from our joint Itanium customers. While new versions of Oracle software will not run on Itanium, we will support existing Oracle/Itanium customers on existing Oracle products. In fact, Oracle is the last of the major software companies to stop development on Itanium," said Oracle.
The future of Itanium remains to be seen, especially without Oracle's software (which will run on variety of x86 machines and SPARC servers from Oracle and Fujitsu). At present HP and Intel claim that the Itanium's roadmap extends to more than ten years. The world's largest chipmaker also promised to reveal more details about the future of the IA64 at its Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, China, set to take place in late April, 2011.