Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it will be ending support for Intel's Itanium IA64 architecture after Windows Server 2008 R2's extended support runs out in eight years' time. While having the world's largest software maker saying that it'll no longer be supporting your technology may worry most companies, Intel isn't one of them.
In fact, most of the Itanium servers around the world do not run Microsoft Windows as Patrick Ward, an Intel spokesperson, explained to Xbit Labs: "Windows represents less than 6% of current Itanium sales according to IDC's Q3 2009 server tracker report. Most Itanium users run Unix, specifically HP-UX. Those customers would argue that the combination of HP-UX and the Itanium platform represent a very formidable mission-critical solution, which many of the world's leading companies have chosen."
Intel may have launched its impressive Nehalem-EX architecture in the new Xeon 7500 processor line, the chipmaker still sees the Itanium as the choice for mission critical customers.
"For pure performance, you might go with Xeon processors, but the mission critical customers Itanium targets are most interested in reliability, serviceability and availability features across the operating system, processors and other aspects of their enterprise computing infrastructure. Processor performance is only one aspect of what interests them," said Ward.
So, even though Microsoft and Red Hat have decided to leave Itanium support by the wayside, Intel sees a continued need for its IA64 processor technology.
"Windows represents less than 6% of current Itanium sales"
So... is it 6 of current sales, or 6% of whats already deployed?
"So, even though Microsoft and Red Hat have decided to leave Itanium support by the wayside, Intel sees a continued need for its IA64 processor technology."
Did you expect Intel to say anything different? Even if Intel themselves were dropping support for IA64 themselves, next week, they wouldn't say anything different.
I don't think anyone was really worried that the Itanium was in danger.
This also appears to be a blow to HP's Integrity Virtual Machines. Without RH and MS on board, the Integrity VM strategy may have been a huge expensive marketing and development push to a dead end.
Tukwila was 3 years late, and that does not bode well for any future IA64 chip.
All in all, this appears to hurt Hewlett Packard far more than MS or Intel. It throws the integrity virtualization strategy in disarray, it creates a black cloud over future chip development.