fighting the lack of good ideas

oracle discontinuing itanium support

This morning I saw the headline on InfoWorld: “Oracle stopping development on Itanium — slap at HP or obvious decision?

At my previous employer, we were entertained by a couple visits from both HP and Intel folks ballyhooing the Itanium, HP-UX, and the future of the platform – especially in the database arena.

I thought those visits were pretty funny because every company I have seen with any HP-UX installed base has been migrating off to either AIX or Linux for some time, leading me to conclude that HP-UX is a dead platform. The fact that Microsoft and Red Hat both dropped support for Itanium processors with there last OS releases also tells me that Itanium is not here for the long haul – at least not in anything other than specialized platforms (such as some of the Top 500 entrants).

Yes, in Japan Fujitsu and others are shipping Itanium-based products, but they’re not running anywhere outside of Asia.

Intel had the chance 15 years ago to produce the game-changer for the server and home markets. If they had properly implemented an x86 emulation module (or, shoot, put an x86 processor on the die and switched via microcode), AMD’s x64 extensions would never have taken off the way they did, and we wouldn’t be stuck with bizarre functionality that only made sense in a 16bit world – but not anymore.

But between HP and Intel, they horched the platform, delaying it by months then years. In the process, the venerable DEC Alpha was killed-off by HP, as was HP’s own PA-RISC line.

In my opinion, Oracle’s move is brilliant for a couple reasons:

  • HP-UX is dead
  • Itanium has no future with any other OS vendor
  • Larry Ellison wants to push OEL and some form of Solaris (though I’m convinced Solaris is not long for this world either)
  • Larry Ellison doesn’t care what other people think of him
  • Oracle is making more money than they know what to do with – so why support something you don’t want to?

What think ye?