Oracle to continue Itanium support for HP after court ruling

Oracle to continue Itanium support for HP after court ruling

Summary: Technology giant Oracle will continue to build software for Intel's heavy-duty Itanium chip after HP won a court case forcing the company to adhere to its prior agreements.


After a lengthy and bitter legal battle, Oracle said today it will continue to support HP's Itanium-based servers, more than a year after the technology giant said it would cease support for the ailing platform. 

Credit: James Martin/CNET

HP prevailed its legal challenge on August 1 after Oracle said it would no longer support its software built the Intel-built server processor because Intel was planning to no longer support the platform in the long run, despite the chip-maker's courtroom denial.

In a statement today, Oracle said it was backtracking on its move to stop developing new versions of its software for the chip after "a judge recently ruled that Oracle has a contract to continue porting its software to Itanium computers for as long as HP sells Itanium computers."

"Oracle will continue building the latest versions of its database and other software covered by the judge's ruling to HP Itanium computers. Oracle software on HP's Itanium computers will be released on approximately the same schedule as Oracle software on IBM's Power systems," the firm said in a statement.

Both firms, who remain at loggerheads, share about 140,000 mutual customers, but their relationship turned bitter after Oracle's buy-out of Sun Microsystems in 2009. In doing so, it jumped into the server hardware sector and would begin rivalling its old friendly neighbor, HP.

Oracle said that there was no contract with HP that required the firm to continue supporting Itanium chips. HP wanted to continue using the heavy-duty chip, often used in datacenters, in its high-end servers despite Intel shifting focus to 32-bit processors. 

During the trial, Oracle was first to release a slew of documents for customers to "make [your] own decision" on the case. HP fired back with its own cache of documents, such as instant messages and emails from Oracle staff and executives. 

In one HP-released document, former Oracle sales executive Keith Block -- who resigned a fortnight before the trial ended -- called Sun's hardware a "pig with lipstick." 

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Legal, Oracle, Servers

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  • OpenVMS support from Oracle is needed

    As most 'native' databases on OpenVMS that originate from DEC were sold to Oracle.
  • IA64 is dead for all but the niche customer

    While there are some problems where IA64 is a good choice, it is not for the general business environment. Some in our environment bought a few of these processors due to the HP marketing hype, sadly they are no longer in a position to make those decisions again. The IA64 servers are sitting on a self powered off. I imagine that many of those 140K customers are in the same position. In my opinion x86_64, IBM's Z series, and yes ARM will own the datacenter in the next 10 years.
    • Power

      Agree, and I would add IBM Power... which will = the remaining Unix market plus AS/400.
  • Good news for HP OpenVMS and HP/UX customers

    There are compelling reasons why HP customers continue to use OpenVMS and HP/UX on Itanium. Whilst the processor performance has lagged behind the x86 line the gap will close substantially as the 32 nm Poulson processors come on line (and please don't use clock frequency as an indicator of performance). It's good to see Oracle see sense. OK, so IA64 and x86 are both from Intel but there are precious few alternative processor architectures out there and we should celebrate diversity for as long as we can.