The heads of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), Intel Corp. and Oracle Corp. Thursday sought to reassure users of their investment in the Itanium processor.

While Itanium-based servers have been slow coming out of the gate, some analysts expect to see an uptick in the next few years. Market research firm IDC predicts that spending on Itanium-based servers will grow to about US$6.6 billion by 2009 from $2.4 billion in 2005.

Kicking off a live webcast Thursday, HP President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd said HP will invest $5 billion over the next five years into research and development, software, hardware and services that all center around its Itanium-based Integrity servers. The end goal of these efforts is to help businesses create automated, remotely managed data centres, Hurd said.

Virtualization, security and automation of IT environments will be key areas of focus on the software side, Hurd said.

By year’s end, Oracle will support applications on the HP integrity platform in addition to its database and middleware stack, the company said. Oracle also is extending its licensing support for the partitioning technologies of the HP Virtual Server Environment, so that users with partitioned servers will only have to pay based on the number of processors they’re using for Oracle software, not for processors dedicated to other tasks as was the case previously.

Intel President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini said that around the middle of the year the chipmaker will launch its first dual-core Itanium chip, code-named “Montecito,” which will include virtualization and hyperthreading technologies. The new chip was expected to launch last year, but was delayed.

Otellini also said Intel also has a “clear road map” through 2010 for Itanium, with four new generations of the chip currently under development.

Last month, HP and Intel said that they had joined with other technology vendors including Bull SA, Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Data Systems Corp., HP, NEC Corp., Silicon Graphics Inc. and Unisys Corp., to invest $10 billion in the next five years to develop and promote Itanium-based products.



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