The future of Hewlett-Packards Itanium-based high-end server business has become a topic of debate since the start this week of the trial between HP and rival Oracle over the software companys decision to end support for the controversial Intel chip platform.
HP already is seeing the impact of Oracles move, with revenues in its Business Critical Systems group in the first three months of the year dropping 23 percent and HP executives putting much of the blame on the disruption caused by the legal dispute between the former partners.
Some industry observers have forecasted that regardless of the trials outcome, the future of HPs Itanium server business is bleak as customers worried about the long-term viability of the Integrity systems and Itanium itself look for alternatives. And if Oracle officials were hoping that alternative would be them, that doesnt appear to be the case, either. For now, at least, IBM appears to be the winner, with some HP customers opting for its Power systems.
However, some analysts agree that while the Itanium dispute has hurt HPs business, it hasnt necessarily been a fatal blow. Many big businesses that have invested millions in their HP-UX Itanium systems arent going to change directions immediately, and HP already has plans underway to help companies move their business-critical workloads onto the x86 platform.
Still, in the short-term, the legal battle with Oracle has taken its toll on HP, according to analysts.