Intel and HP May Postpone Itanium Roadmap Update amid Uncertainties – Sources

HP and Intel May Have Disagreements over the Future of Itanium

by Anton Shilov
04/22/2011 | 07:08 PM

Intel Corp. and Hewlett Packard may postpone the public update of the Itanium microprocessor roadmap because of certain reasons, a source with knowledge of the matter said. As Intel relocates Itanium development teams to Xeon central processing units in order to strengthen competitive positions of its primary server chip, HP seems to be in confusion regarding its own strategy.

 

Intel and HP planned to disclose post-Kittson (Itanium chip due in 2014 or 2015) in late April, 2011, according to unofficial sources. However, the event may be put on hold, some believe that because HP is unsure about its roadmap; other people suggested that Intel wanted to hold the information till its analyst day in May. In both cases the delay – which may actually last longer than for a couple of weeks, but for months – seems to be a result of Oracle’s decision to stop developing software for Itanium.

As a result of Oracle’s demarche, HP has already lost an upgrade from a major industrial company, one source said.

Given the major design loss and uncertainties by Intel, HP is now also unsure about the prospects of its OS. The company is definitely interested in getting as many customers as possible now so to continue serving them for over ten years from now. But with a major industrial company dropping Itanium in favour of Sun-Xeon machines, HP may easily reconsider its strategy substantially. At the end, it also sells Xeon-based systems.

On the hardware level, the new Intel Xeon and Intel Itanium processors are very similar – they use similar point-to-point links, memory technology and other components – but on the software level they are completely different. Hardware-wise, HP could transit its Integrity and Superdome mission-critical servers to Xeon in a year. But the company needs to continue selling its HP-UX proprietary operating system (OS) and machines on its base simply due to the fact that the OS is tailored for ultra high-end mission-critical applications as those servers represent a boost for the company in terms of revenue and business ties. At present, HP seems to need Itanium even more than Intel.

Intel and HP did not comment on the news-story.