Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

HP Itanium Fans Rally to Chip's Defense, Hope to Change Oracle's Mind

Remember the day last month when Oracle said it would stop building software for computers using Intel’s high-end Itanium server chip? No? Well a lot of people do, and they’re not happy about it one bit.

So unhappy, in fact, that with help from Hewlett-Packard–the company that makes something like 90 percent or more of the servers using that chip–they have taken to YouTube to try to persuade Oracle to change its mind.

The Connect Advocacy Committee is a group of HP enterprise customers who banded together basically to tell HP what they thought about this or that product. Many buy HP’s Itanium-based servers and also run Oracle software on those HP systems. The group has 52,000 members. In the videos–there are three; you can find the first one below–HP partners who have for one reason or another hitched their wagon to the Itanium train and rely on Oracle software describe how the decision is going to cause trouble for them and for their customers.

Oracle made its move, it said, because it’s convinced that Intel plans to retire the Itanium line of chips, which are both expensive and aimed at a fairly narrow set of applications, and to nudge customers toward its more mainstream line of Xeon server chips, which are getting a lot more powerful and more capable of handling workloads that only a few years ago only an Itanium could. Intel and HP shot back that Oracle was wrong and that Intel had no plans to end Itanium production. Oracle stuck to its guns, saying that Intel wasn’t being entirely honest with its customers.

Meanwhile, Intel says nothing about Itanium has changed. Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group, took to the keynote stage at the Intel Developers Forum this week in Beijing and reiterated that the forthcoming version of the Itanium chip, codenamed Poulson, remains on schedule for release by this time next year. Another version of the chip, about which nothing is known other than its codename, Kittson, is, given prior Intel statements that Itanium upgrades will come in two-year cycles, expected sometime in 2014. Intel has yet to say anything publicly about plans for Intanium chips beyond Kittson.

Oracle, which usually spares no opportunity to say something snarky about HP, was today uncharacteristically quiet and had no comment.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik