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.
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.
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.
Competitors Dismiss Itaniums Momentum
Competitors dismissed the notion of a growing momentum behind Itanium.
An IBM spokesperson said Itanium cant be considered a standard if one company, HP, accounted for more than 80 percent of the revenue for the platform.
IBM has given Itanium lukewarm support, and Sun Microsystems doesnt use it. Dell last fall stopped selling its Itanium-based PowerEdge systems.
A number of second-tier companies, however—including Unisys, NEC Solutions America, Fujitsu Technology Solutions and Bull—are bringing many parts of their high-end systems onto the platform.
Larry Singer, senior vice president and strategic insight officer for Sun, said there was little meat to Itaniums story. “Im not sure if there is anything new except HP and Intel trying to bang the drum louder,” he said.
Otellini said the next version of Itanium—dubbed “Montecito”—will bring significant improvements when its released in the middle of the year, about six months after it was supposed to be released.
The new chip will offer two cores per processor, hardware-enabled virtualization and HyperThreading, and will give users double the performance and more than twice the power efficiency of previous chips.
Montecito, he said, “is the machine weve been waiting for. This will help us accelerate the adoption curve.”
An HP spokesperson said the company had an aggressive road map planned for its Integrity systems this year, including rolling out new Montecito-based systems this summer, new Integrity blade systems with multiple operating system capabilities, and improved four-socket servers.
In addition, HP Integrity Virtual Machines will support Windows, Linux and OpenVMS, along with HP-UX 11i, and a new release of HP-UX will offer more dynamic reconfiguration and management capabilities.
“Were going to get aggressive in the marketplace,” Hurd said.
As an example of how this plays out for customers, Bucks County Community College, in Newtown, Pa., is continuing to invest in its Itanium platform. The college currently runs six HP Integrity systems, including four that run HP-UX and two others that run Windows applications, said Doug Burak, director of IT security for the college.
The key for him in the future will be continued software support, he said. The college currently is running its Colleague and Benefactor administrative applications from Datatel on a PA-RISC rp5405 system because at the time of deployment they werent certified on Itanium. Now they are.
“Ive got to have the software that will run on [Itanium],” Burak said.
He praised the performance and the reliability of the systems, saying that since bringing the bulk of them to the college three years ago, the only problem has been a hard drive failing.
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