Oracle, HP, Intel Join Forces to Push Itanium

Oracle is bringing its E-Business Suite to HP's Itanium-based Integrity servers and adapting its licensing model, as Itanium stakes out the high end of the market.

Software giant Oracle will bring its E-Business Suite to Hewlett-Packards Itanium-based Integrity servers, and is enhancing its licensing model for Integrity servers that are partitioned to run multiple workloads.

The moves were announced March 3 as part of a greater push by HP and Intel to tout the 64-bit platform.

The CEOs from all three companies reiterated their support for the Itanium line, which was first introduced 11 years ago by Intel and HP, but which struggled for industry acceptance early in its life due to performance issues and delayed releases.

"HP, Intel and Oracle see a lot of value in Integrity, and our mutual support is very strong," HP President and CEO Mark Hurd said during an hour-long conference from HPs Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters that was broadcasted globally on the Web.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made an appearance via a video feed from the companys Oracle OpenWorld show in Japan.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about an alliance formed to promote the Itanium platform.

Software support has been a key issue for Itanium proponents. Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said over 7,100 applications now can run on Itanium, more than double the number from this time last year.

HP officials said Oracles move to bring its E-Business Suite to Itanium by the end of the year will give users the complete Oracle portfolio to choose from.

Rich Marcello, senior vice president and general manager of HPs Business Critical Systems group, said the goal is to increase the overall number of applications to 9,000 within the next 18 months or so.

Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif., in December announced it would charge a single software license for dual-core processors, and said March 3 that it will now charge per processor running in a partition, rather than for the full number of processors per server.

/zimages/2/28571.gifIntel puts hardware-based 32-bit capabilities into Itanium. Read more here.

During Thursdays event, Otellini and Hurd both said they were continuing to invest research and development dollars in the Itanium platform, and pointed to the recently created Itaniums Solutions Alliance, a consortium of technology vendors—including HP, Intel and Oracle—which has pledged to spend $10 billion through 2010 to push the adoption of the platform.

Hurd said HP will spend $1 billion per year for the next five years to enhance the Integrity portfolio in such areas as virtualization and management. Otellini said Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., will continue to increase its spending on the platform, and that Intel engineers already are working on the next four versions of Itanium.

The platform has evolved from when it was first introduced by HP and Intel, who said the chip was being designed to be the general-purpose processor of the future. Intel has since refocused the architecture to be one that plays in the high end, as a replacement for RISC processors and mainframes.

Otellini said that market now stands at about $28 billion, more than the $22 billion volume space.

Both he and Hurd also noted points of growth for the platform, including higher revenues and greater adoption by the worlds largest companies. About 50 percent of the top 100 companies worldwide run Itanium systems, and that number will grow to 70 percent by the end of the year, Otellini said, whereas a year ago that percentage stood at 40.

Next Page: Competitors dismiss Itaniums "momentum."