Oracle Drops Itanium Support, Intel Soldiers On


Oracle on Tuesday said it will no longer develop software for Intel’s Itanium server platform and suggested that Intel itself isn’t committed to Itanium either.

Oracle said it reached the decision to discontinue development on Itanium after “multiple conversations” with Intel 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 said in a statement.

Oracle's move means that HP is the only partner still supporting Itanium. However, Oracle said HP CEO Leo Apotheker didn't mention Itanium in his presentation earlier this month at HP's Summit 2011 event in San Francisco. Oracle also noted that both Microsoft and Red Hat have stopped developing software for Itanium.

Intel, meanwhile, issued a statement Wednesday denying Oracle's claim and reiterating its commitment to Itanium.

“Intel’s work on Intel Itanium processors and platforms continues unabated with multiple generations of chips currently in development and on schedule,” Paul Otellini, president and CEO at Intel, said 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.”

Intel in February rolled out its next generation eight-core Itanium-based Poulson processors, featuring 54 MB of memory built onto its 32-nm process. Intel on Wednesday said Poulson is on track to more than double performance of its predecessor, Intel’s Tukwila server processors.

Beyond Poulson, Intel said it is commited to offering its Kittson Itanium-based product. Intel said it is actively developing Kittson and will offer more details next month at Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.

Oracle said it will continue to provide its customers with support for Oracle’s existing products developed around Intel’s Itanium platform.

Oracle in December introduced its new SPARC processors for servers along with its latest version of Solaris, new SPARC-based servers and a SPARC-based version of its Exalogic Elastic Cloud appliance designed for customers looking to build cloud computing infrastructures. Oracle acquired its new SPARC server product line along with Sun Microsystems in 2009.