Hewlett-Packard will spend more than $3bn in the next three years on Itanium-related product development.
The money will be spent on research and development, software and hardware design, and marketing, all with the aim of increasing its existing 5% market share.
HP said it expected Itanium-based server unit sales to constitute more than half of its reduced instruction set computer- (RISC)- based unit sales by the end of 2005 and 70% a year later.
However, it is not clear if this is a reversal from its statement in August, when it introduced enhancements to its HP-UX operating system that were designed to narrow the gap between the capabilities of the company's Itanium-based Integrity servers and HP 9000 servers, which house HP's own PA-8800 processor.
More specifically, HP’s plans include coinvesting with Intel to persuade more independent software suppliers to develop applications for the platform and to expand marketing programs.
The aim is to expand the number of applications from 2,900 to more than 4,500 by the end of 2005.
HP and Intel "will focus on telecommunications, financial services, government, healthcare and manufacturing”, said HP's divisional vice-president, Rich Marcello.
With the increased investment, HP plans to add value to the processor by focusing on growth in the two to four-processor server market.
HP said that development work is already under way in this area, with plans to introduce Itanium-based NonStop servers in 2005.
HP said it would continue to develop its HP-UX 11i RISC-based OS, with particular emphasis on enhancing its virtualisation, high-availability and disaster-tolerance capabilities.
For Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server, HP added that it collaborates closely with Microsoft to provide a trusted and scalable platform and has established a dedicated engineering team to optimize Linux on Integrity servers.
Next month, HP expects the production release of OpenVMS to be widely available for Integrity servers, which it sees a migration path for its customers using AlphaServer systems running OpenVMS.
Virtualisation technologies will be a main element of its Integrity server, and it will deliver virtual machines for them in the second half of 2005.
Meanwhile Intel has concluded an agreement to hire HP’s Itanium design team, to improve its multicore, multithreaded processors.
"As HP and Intel continue to invest in server innovation and Itanium, Integrity servers become a 'must have' competitive weapon to drive customer value for the next decade and beyond," said HP boss Carly Fiorina.
Manek Dubash writes for Techworld.com