Oracle Customers Using Itanium Chips Rethink IT Upgrades

Oracle customers this week expressed concern about the effort and cost of upgrading IT infrastructures after the software maker said it would stop development for Intel's Itanium chip architecture. In a terse statement issued on Wednesday, Oracle said it would discontinue software development for Itanium, reasoning that Intel's strategic focus was on the x86 architecture, and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life. The decision has forced Oracle customers using Itanium servers to rethink long-term IT upgrade plans, as Oracle's decision limits future hardware and software options. Some customers are considering buying new hardware or porting code around a new chip architecture, which could cost millions of dollars. However, Oracle's continuing support of existing software on Itanium servers could protect investments and mitigate short-term issues. Intel's Itanium chips are primarily available on Hewlett-Packard's Integrity servers, which are designed to be mission-critical systems, built for high uptime. In reaction to Oracle's decision, Intel this week reiterated its commitment to Itanium, while HP said that Oracle's "anti-customer actions" were designed to force customers into buying Sun servers.