Huawei to ship Itanium hardware

Intel's Itanium chip has gained two more original equipment manufacturers, Huawei and Inspur, in the face of Oracle's claims that the platform is being abandoned

Huawei and Inspur plan to sell Itanium-based servers, taking the total number of vendors for the platform up to three.

The two Chinese companies will become Itanium original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's datacentre group, said in his keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing on Wednesday.

Skaugen also said that the next generation of Itanium, codenamed Poulson, will launch in 2012.

Huawei is a major force in the world of telecom hardware and has been referenced by Cisco as a major competitor in its core switching products. Inspur is a Chinese hardware and software manufacturer. Until the announcement, HP was the sole Itanium OEM. 

Itanium's IA-64 architecture is a 64-bit parallel-friendly architecture. Typically, it is sold into the Unix and mainframe market, as well as other vital high-availability platforms, where it competes with IBM Power7, Sparc64 and Intel's own x86-64 high-end lines, such as the Xeon E7 range.

In March, Oracle announced it would cease developing software for Itanium's IA-64 architecture and accused Intel of planning to abandon the Itanium platform. Both Intel and HP, which at that point was Itanium's only remaining OEM, denied Oracle's allegations.

However, Oracle replied to insist that "Intel's future direction is focused on x86 and that plans to replace Itanium with x86 are already in place".

Huawei was unable to comment immediately, and said it would not be able to release information until Friday at the earliest.


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