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Intel Not Shaken by Microsoft's Itanium Phase Out

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.