Solving the Itanium saga

In what’s shaped up as something of a cliffhanger episode of The Housewives of Silicon Valley, Oracle’s decision in March to end software development for Intel’s Itanium platform still has everyone in the industry hot and bothered – and not in a good way.

No one – except maybe Oracle – is exactly sure why it dropped support for Itanium. Some believe it’s simply an economic decision – the number of Itanium-based servers sold isn’t high enough for Oracle to justify spending resources on supporting versions of its software on the processor. Others with a more conspiratorial bent see the move by Oracle as an attack on HP’s high-end server business in favor of its own SPARC/Solaris servers, which it acquired last year from Sun Microsystems. As for Oracle itself, it simply says it’s focusing on Intel’s x86 processor line and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life.

To be continued….

Whatever the reason, Oracle promises to continue providing customers with support for existing software running on Itanium. But support isn’t development and customers will likely become increasingly irritated as Oracle rolls out new applications and database features that aren’t available on Itanium, not to mention concerned with questions about security alerts, data fixes or critical patch updates. In other words, Oracle’s suspension of future development could raise user investment risks, with HP-UX users needing to re-evaluate their platform and life cycle support options.  

Options, options, options.

What to do? First off, organizations running Oracle on Itanium that plan to do so for several years should upgrade to Oracle Database 11g Release 2 as soon as possible to maximize the time available with Premium Support — officially until 2015. For customers running Oracle on Itanium that plan to move shortly to a new Itanium platform, they need to [Read more…]