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HP offers alternative to Itanium-based servers

Hewlett-Packard is offering customers an alternative to its Integrity servers based on Intel’s Itanium chips in response to Oracle’s decision to stop developing software that runs on the chipset.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is offering customers an alternative to its Integrity servers based on Intel’s Itanium chips in response to Oracle’s decision to stop developing software that runs on the chipset.

In the 1990s, HP co-developed successive iterations of the chip with Intel, which took over all Itanium development from 2004.

In March, Oracle announced that it was ending software development of HP’s Itanium servers, sparking a legal battle between the two companies.

In June, HP took legal action against Oracle for failing to meet its commitments to HP and 140,000 shared customers by ending software development for HP's Itanium servers.

Oracle responded with a countersuit, claiming the Itanium partnership was an informal one and that Oracle had always retained the right to support whatever HP technologies it chose.

In real terms, Oracle’s decision to discontinue Itanium support has sliced 23% off HP’s high-end server business revenue to $535m in the quarter ended 31 October, according to Bloomberg.

In a pragmatic move, HP has announced that customers which use HP software with Itanium-based servers will be able to run their programs on Intel’s Xeon chips in future.

Customers will also be able to move those applications to Microsoft’s Windows and Red Hat’s Linux operating systems.

Users of HP Integrity and other Itanium-based servers will be able to run Itanium and Xeon blade servers side by side in about two years, according to HP.

HP is also working with Microsoft and Red Hat to make the Windows and Linux operating systems work better with Integrity, which means customers could in future move applications and databases, including Oracle database, to the Xeon blades.

 HP also said it will continue to support and develop new features for Itanium-based computers.

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