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Oracle Claims Intel Is Looking To Sink the Itanic

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the left-behind dept.

Intel 235

Blacklaw writes "Intel's ill-fated Itanium line has lost another supporter, with Oracle announcing that it is to immediately stop all software development on the platform. 'After multiple conversations with Intel senior management Oracle has decided to discontinue all software development on the Intel Itanium microprocessor,' a company spokesperson claimed. 'Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life.'"

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...and? (0)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593910)

Is anyone actually surprised by this?

Re:...and? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594496)

I thought it went the way of the DEC Alpha long ago

Re:...and? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594548)

I'm not surprised at the bias, poorly researched article that was published once again. Intel specifically said that they have no plans on dumping it and that Oracle is full of shit. The headline is like an attack at intel even though intel did nothing besides deny what oracle said.

Re:...and? (1)

MichaelKristopeit337 (1967528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594560)

you expected better?

slashdot = stagnated with the lies of hypocritically ignorant marketeers.

Sparc (5, Informative)

Gary Franczyk (7387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593922)

Now that Oracle owns Sparc processors from Sun, there is no reason for them to help out their competitor.

Re:Sparc (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593946)

And they managed to get in a good, FUDdy parting shot on their way out (lovely chaps, those folks at Oracle).

Unless of course they're telling the truth. Which would be a shame, if not a surprise. Itanium deserved at least slightly better a life than it go (and Intel, once burned, may never try moving away from i86 again, god help us).

Re:Sparc (4, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594012)

x86 is a small part of what's in a modern x86 CPU.

There's hardly any good reason to choose anything else over it, either. You can't beat it on performance the way Alpha did. PPC lost its simplicity long ago (and comes with some annoyances that make me wish it would just die).

Intel's latest stuff is the best that ever was. Nobody else does or ever has come close.

Re:Sparc (4, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594104)

There's hardly any good reason to choose anything else over it, either.

Well, yes and no. Certainly in the space between the notebook computer and any but the mightiest supercomputers there's no reason at all not to go with x86. But in the mobile processor space, where ultra-low TDP is the order of the day, ARM has a big leg up on x64. Intel sold out their Xscale division (which was only ARM 5 anyway) and now they're losing this increasingly important segment of the market.

I'm not counting Intel out by a long shot in that race, but ARM is the new hotness for most geeks.

Re:Sparc (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594486)

Well ARM is a hell of a lot less power using but it is also a hell of a lot less powerful clock for clock, so it evens out doesn't it? I mean sure in a cell phone where its main job is running a highly specialized OS, with tons of little support chips to help it out it does great, but I wouldn't want to do my day to day desktop computing on it.

I never did understand the Intel VS ARM comparisons because it made as much sense to me as comparing a Peterbuilt and a Kia. Sure the Kia is gonna get a hell of a lot better gas mileage but I sure wouldn't want to try to move into an apt using only a Kia to haul my furniture. You try one of those AMD or Intel ULV netbooks and comparing it to the little ARM netbooks is like night and day. I could easily see myself doing most of my day to day on the X86 and not getting frustrated, whereas anything not expressly thought up and prepared for by the ARM netbook OEM and it is welcome to slow town.

So while the Itanic will go down as just another failed Intel experiment, like that ARM based chip they tried to get everyone to switch to in the 80s, I really can't see X86 going anywhere, especially once AMD solved the 4Gb barrier with the X64 extensions. The little specialized devices will stay ARM while the general computing will stay X86.

I'm sure there will be a few crossover niches, such as ARM for specialized servers which stress low power over everything else, but for the rest of the jobs where performance matters I just don't see ARM stepping up to AMD or Intel quad levels of performance, not without killing the low power selling point. It is just one of those things you can't get around, faster equals hotter and more power usage, whereas slow chips with less complexity use less power.

Re:Sparc (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594698)

Well ARM is a hell of a lot less power using but it is also a hell of a lot less powerful clock for clock, so it evens out doesn't it? I mean sure in a cell phone where its main job is running a highly specialized OS, with tons of little support chips to help it out it does great, but I wouldn't want to do my day to day desktop computing on it.

Why do you think ARM is equivalent with less computation power? Maybe it is so for the present, but doesn't [wikipedia.org] seem so for [wikipedia.org] the near future [linuxfordevices.com]

Re:Sparc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35595142)

Why do you think ARM is equivalent with less computation power? Maybe it is so for the present

That word is; Based on your comment I don't think you fully appreciate its meaning.

Re:Sparc (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595258)

Quoting the GGP post

I wouldn't want to do my day to day desktop computing on it.

If that word must be interpreted stricto sensu, can you please point to me where can one find now a desktop computer powered by ARM? I would fully appreciate the reference, thank you.

Re:Sparc (5, Informative)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594922)

The problem is that the x86 is like the living dead. It's an ancient architecture which had a really bad architecture when it was new, and is now being held together through duct tape and an oxygen tent. Yes it's very fast, but it's very expensive to make it that way too. It works because Intel has tons of resources to throw at it. It is saddled with decades of backwards compatibility issues as well, 16-bit modes, segmentation, IO ports, and other things that no one uses anymore if they can help it. It requires tons more support chips than many embedded CPUs. The real reason x86 should die is that it's an embarrassment to computer scientists to see this dinosaur still lumbering about.

ARM on the other hand has some decent designs. It's not low power because it was designed to be low power, but because it's got a relatively simpler RISC design, and because it was easily licensed for people to fabricate so it got used in a lot in low power designs (ie, ARM core included as part of a larger ASIC. But there are faster ARM designs too, and with the same resources that the x86 has it would be really great. ARM is not inherently a "small chip". The problem is trying to compete head to head with x86 when everyone knows it will lose. So it's high power designs are not intended for PC desktops, but for specialized purposes.

Internally the modern x86 is really a RISC at heart anyway. But it's got a really massive support system on top of that that converts the older style CISC instruction set into a VLIW/ RISC style that's more efficiently executed in a superscalar way. Just like the original RISC argument, it makes sense to try and rip out that complexity then either use the resources to make things faster or just leave it out entirely to get a cheaper and more efficient design.

Anytime a better design is out there it seems to be clobbered in the market place because it just doesn't pick up enough steam to compete with x86. This is why alternative CPUs tend to be used for embedded systems, specialized high speed routers, or parallel supercomputers. Even Intel can't compete with itself, Itanium isn't the only alternative they've tried. It's not just performance either, most unix workstations had models that ran rings around x86 but they were expensive too because of low volumes sold.

The public doesn't understand this stuff. Sadly neither do a lot of computer professionals. All they like to think about is "how fast is it" or "does it run Windows"

The analogy with cars is wrong. X86 isn't a Peterbilt truck, it's a v8 Chrysler land yacht with a cast iron engine, or maybe an gas guzzling SUV. People stick with it because they don't trust funny little foreign cars, they feel safer wrapped in all that steel, they need to compensate for inadequacies, they feel more patriotic when they use more gas, etc. It's what you drive if you don't want to be different from everyone else.

Re:Sparc (3, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595370)

It is saddled with decades of backwards compatibility issues as well, 16-bit modes, segmentation, IO ports, and other things that no one uses anymore if they can help it.

Actually, Google Native Client (NaCl) uses segmentation to sandbox downloaded code. It's either a brutal hack or a totally clever trick, I guess, depending on your POV.

It's just ARM heads (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595144)

Comes from the general geek thing of liking the underdog (though one has to ask how underdog they really are given their mass marketshare in embedded devices) and from hating CISC. A lot of geeks take CS classes and learn a bit about processor theory, but not any of the CE/EE to understand the lower levels and thus decide CISC = bad RISC = good.

What it all adds up to is they hate on Intel and love ARM, and want to see ARM in the desktop space.

As you said, I've yet to see anything showing ARM is faster than Intel in an equal setting. Yes, a Core i7 uses a lot of power. However it does a lot. Not only is it fast at the sort of operations ARM does, it does other things as well. Like 64-bit. You think ARM isn't doing that just because they are jerks? No, it is because 64-bit needs more silicon, and thus more power. How about heavy hitting vector units? Same deal.

ARM is great for what it does but those who think that it is some amazing x86 replacement just haven't done any looking. Turns out Intel is pretty much the best there ever was when it comes to getting a lot out of silicon. They produce some powerful chips. Could ARM design one as powerful? Maybe, but guess what? It wouldn't be a tiny fraction of a watt deal anymore. It'd be as big and power hungry as Intel's offerings.

You can see this from other companies as well. If x86 really was the problem, and another architecture could do so much more with less, then why doesn't anyone else do it? Remember IBM, Hitchai, Sun, they all made non-x86 chips. Yet none of them are killing Intel in terms of performance for watts. IBMs POWER chips are a great example. They have an apt name: They are fast as hell, and draw a ton of energy. They really are for high end servers (which is what IBM designed them for). Despite being RISC based (though you find desktop/server RISC chips are quite complex both in terms of number of instructions and capability) they are not some amazing low power monsters that can rip x86 apart. They are fast, powerful, high end chips that take a lot of silicon and a lot of juice to do what they do. Go have a look at the massive heatsink for a POWER5 chip on Wikipedia.

Different chips, different markets.

Re:Sparc (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594570)

There's hardly any good reason to choose anything else over it, either.

Well, yes and no. Certainly in the space between the notebook computer and any but the mightiest supercomputers there's no reason at all not to go with x86. But in the mobile processor space, where ultra-low TDP is the order of the day, ARM has a big leg up on x64

Yeap. But, in the context of the Oracle behemoth database server, does mobile processors have any relevance? It seems that it does - even if an ARM-based server [linuxfordevices.com] is no longer what one would call "mobile".

One on top of the other, may it be that the Itanium heavyweight approach is indeed a dinosaur of the past?

Re:Sparc (3, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595112)

And this segment is *important* because already, I do as much browsing and web-surfing on my Motorola Droid 2 Android phone as my fire breathing Intel Core i7 laptop computer.

Remember that x86 started out as the cheap chip on the block that was "good enough" for basic stuff that little people could afford, and it slowly grew upward and increased its applicable market segments until it, now, is the high end of the marketplace.

ARM is now potentially in a similar situation. And like the x86 before it, it has tremendous inertia in the smartphone platform, any of which are easily capable enough to operate as a PC for most uses for most people. It uses something less than 1/100th the power of my laptop and is a reasonable, convenient stand-in for said laptop for pretty much all personal use other than for my work. (I'm a software engineer)

I've already started to note the conflict: do stuff on the phone or the laptop? So far, it's mostly worked because stuff I do on the phone is pretty much "in the cloud" and is accessible from the PC.

But Pictures? I've taken a few hundred pictures, and keeping them in synch starts to become a hassle...

At some point, it could make sense to jump, to switch from one to the other. Why couldn't my phone have a plug or a bluetooth connection to a keyboard, monitor, etc?

Re:Sparc (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594140)

You realize Power7 is ~80% faster than Intel's highest-performing server processor (Nehalem-EX), right?

Re:Sparc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594316)

and more than 5 times as expensive.

Re:Sparc (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594424)

And you can buy 7 of the Intel processor systems for the price of a single Power7 system. A slight performance advantage for a single generation doesn't do you a damn bit of good when Intel is tick-tocking every 2 years while power refreshes every 5 and Intel is at least 1 process tech ahead of everyone else including IBM. In 6 months to a year the Intel processor will catch up and then exceed the Power, 5 years later IBM will leap ahead again. That is providing the trend keeps up and IBM doesn't abandon power entirely further down the road.

Architecture is irrelevant, the modern x86 isn't even x86 anymore except for the 2% of chip real estate devoted to decoding the incoming instructions and dispatching them to the internal architecture. That's all x86 is these days, a bloody abstraction layer.

Re:Sparc (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594472)

You forgot to factor in the cost of datacenter-grade HVAC and redundant power. Those intel boxes will use a lot more power and create a lot more heat to get the same job done. Now, if you're talking about the Atom, all bets are off, but it better be an "embarrasingly parallel" problem.

Re:Sparc (1)

zaphirplane (1457931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594770)

I don't have the knowledge to have an opinion on what's being discussed

your power refreshes every 5 years sounded wrong, I double checked and ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POWER6 [wikipedia.org] power6 released 2007
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POWER7 [wikipedia.org] power7 released 2010

why do make up facts ? really I am interested

Re:Sparc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594586)

You realize Power7 is ~80% faster than Intel's highest-performing server processor (Nehalem-EX), right?

Where do you get this from? A single p7 core running a single thread is not faster than a Nehalem core. I do this for a living, trust me.

Re:Sparc (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595420)

That's kind of a weird comparison, though. Power7 cores have 4 hw threads. Nehalem has 2 'hyper' threads.

Like any tool, you pick the right one for the job. Nahalem is quite fast on a single thread, but if you have a web server processing boat loads of transactions/second, you may look towards a tool that is fast on many theads and can churn through many transactions concurrently.

Re:Sparc (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594264)

Or maybe Intel is more worried about the new ARMs [slashdot.org] race.

Re:Sparc (1, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594494)

Immaterial. The x86 is a lousy architecture and adding onto it hasn't helped any.

Intel's latest stuff is certainly not the best that ever was. It has no support for content-addressable memory and no support for MIMD, it isn't asynchronous, it's not 128-bit, it doesn't use wafer-scale integration, it doesn't support HyperTransport (which is faster than PCI Express) and it can't do on-the-fly instruction set translation --- all these things have been done on other architectures, making those architectures superior in these respects to Intel's latest and greatest. Even though some of these things were being done by others when Intel's best offering was the 8080.

IBM's POWER7 not only comes close, it beats the crap out of the Intel clone of the AMD x64 design. Yes, Intel were forced to clone AMD's design because theirs stank.

As for "ever has", the IIT 8087 was two orders of magnitude faster than Intel's. The 64000 was not only better than the 8086, it was a LOT better. The Transputer was 32-bit and could scale to the thousands of cores in a single box when Intel was 16-bit with an absolute limit of one core on one CPU.

In fact, I would be willing to bet that a 16-way Intel box with the latest CPUs could still be beat in raw processing power AND addressable memory space by a hypercube of Inmos T400s dating to 1984. THAT was "the best stuff that ever was" and I challenge you to show me a single thing Intel can do better now than Inmos could do then.

Re:Sparc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594760)

Immaterial. The x86 is a lousy architecture and adding onto it hasn't helped any.

Intel's latest stuff is certainly not the best that ever was. It has no support for content-addressable memory and no support for MIMD, it isn't asynchronous, it's not 128-bit, it doesn't use wafer-scale integration, it doesn't support HyperTransport (which is faster than PCI Express) and it can't do on-the-fly instruction set translation --- all these things have been done on other architectures,

i call logic error. just because all of these have been done on
some arch, doesn't mean all of these have been done on any
arch, nor does it mean even one of these are worth doing. 128
bit? why? do you own stock in hynix?

IBM's POWER7 not only comes close, it beats the crap out of the Intel clone of the AMD x64 design. Yes, Intel were forced to clone AMD's design because theirs stank.

and yet qpi has advanced to the point were it is more interesting than
hypertransport. intel may not have been first, but they understood what
amd was doing, and executed better.

As for "ever has", the IIT 8087 was two orders of magnitude faster than Intel's. The 64000 was not only better than the 8086, it was a LOT better. The Transputer was 32-bit and could scale to the thousands of cores in a single box when Intel was 16-bit with an absolute limit of one core on one CPU.

In fact, I would be willing to bet that a 16-way Intel box with the latest CPUs could still be beat in raw processing power AND addressable memory space by a hypercube of Inmos T400s dating to 1984. THAT was "the best stuff that ever was" and I challenge you to show me a single thing Intel can do better now than Inmos could do then.

now you're clearly batshit insane.

Re:Sparc (2)

JanneM (7445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594890)

On the low-power mobile and embedded side x86 is out. Never mind power-performance - absolute power levels is what matters most. And the big volume in cpus is in this market, from smartphones on the upper end down to windshield wiper controllers and stuff like that on the low end.

On the very, very high end, again, there's good reason not to use x86, and instead do something like Hitatchis Sparc-based cpus. You have basically low or no concern for binary compatibility - you're most likely running a custom-rolled linux and building all your applications from source or from scratch.

You need things like on-chip support for specialized high-speed interconnects, and power-performance as well as absolute power consumption becomes hugely important when you're trying to cram half a million cores into one single building.

Re:Sparc (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594044)

and Intel, once burned, may never try moving away from i86 again

The market will move Intel. Intel didn't create x86_64. Intel is looking over its shoulder at ARM right now. The fate of computing doesn't rest with Intel. It never has.

Re:Sparc (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594098)

Intel is looking over its shoulder at ARM right now

That's a given. When you look over your shoulder, you can't help but see your arm.

Re:Sparc (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594396)

There's an old saw that goes "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way". If you're looking over your shoulder, you're in the way.

Re:Sparc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35595210)

screw that, I obstruct

Re:Sparc (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594122)

Unless of course they're telling the truth.

Intel is strongly denying [intel.com] Oracle's claims that Itanium is near end-of-life. So it looks like more Oracle FUD, and probably intended to harm HP-UX rather than Intel.

Ya HP is calling bullshit too (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594336)

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-03-23/hp-calls-oracle-move-shameless-gambit-to-hurt-competition.html [businessweek.com]

I'm much more inclined to believe Intel and HP on it. While the Itanium did not become the be-all, end-all for computers Intel hoped (they wanted to go to it because their cross licensing is for x86, not IA-64) it has not been a failure. People like to joke about it and rag on it but all it means is they've done little to no research. It is a competitive chip in the super high end market. When you need massive DB servers or the like, it is a real option and one that people use.

Now as to what kind of future it'll have I can't say. The high end segment keeps shrinking as normal desktop hardware gets better and better. You can knock 4 8-core Xeons in a system right now and get some great performance at a good (relatively speaking) price.

At any rate I wouldn't listen to anything Oracle says, particularly about competitors. They are not known for their truthfulness, or for their sense of fair play.

Re:Sparc (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594440)

Yes, yes. Itanium's not dead, it's just pining for the fiords.

Re:Sparc (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594150)

Intel is obligated to continue developing Itanium, or HP sues them. Itanium isn't going anywhere, and Oracle is spreading FUD.

Re:Sparc (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594722)

Intel is obligated to continue developing Itanium, or HP sues them. Itanium is going nowhere, and Oracle is spreading FUD.

FTFY. Other than that, all your other assertions ring true to me.

Re:Sparc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594844)

You think HP would jump on over to IBM, AMD, or ARM processors and wait for its settlement check while tanking in the server market? HP has nowhere else to go.. they would continue doing business with Intel in all segments (desktops, workstations, servers, ...)

The only question is what the relative costs are:

a) continue developing itanic for $x payable in todays dollars
b) settle a contract dispute for $y payable in tomorrows dollars

Re:Sparc (3, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593968)

It's cleverer, and assholeyer than just saying that.

Old Lawyer's trick.

Instead of saying the obvious, i.e. "We won't support our competitor's (HP) fastest computers because we make hardware now" Oracle spreads FUD about the longevity of their competitor's product line by virtue of leaking information from anonymous sources in their competitors' sole supplier.

Even if Intel and HP completely deny it, their customers will be thinking it all along.

Re:Sparc (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594516)

Now that Oracle owns Sparc processors from Sun, there is no reason for them to help out their competitor.

Oracle develops and sells both Solaris and their database software for x86 platforms, which they do not own.

I think it is more the fact that (a) they *never* had a version of Solaris for Itaniium; and (b) with both RHEL and HP-UX dropping support for Itanium, they would have no platform to run their databases on.

Re:Sparc (1)

zaphirplane (1457931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594808)

.....
  and HP-UX dropping support for Itanium

really? what's hp-ux going to run on?

Marketing Coup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35593928)

Good thing that they managed to change the new architecture from "AMD64" to "x64".

That would be bad if customers thought that AMD out-innovated them.

Re:Marketing Coup (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593966)

Good thing that they managed to change the new architecture from "AMD64" to "x64".

That would be bad if customers thought that AMD out-innovated them.

Actually, I think AMD originally called it x86-64, and then their marketing department got them to call it AMD64 (not a bad idea, from the marketing point of view). Sun and Microsoft decided to call it "x64", probably after Intel licensed it, perhaps so as not to peeve Intel. Intel thrashed around a bit with names, passing through EM64T before arriving at the innovative name "Intel 64", which does not at all resemble "AMD64".

(Not that Intel invented PA-EPIC^WIA-64^WItanium all by themselves, either.)

that's still around? (2, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593936)

I didn't realize the Itanium was still being produced. I thought they shut it down years ago.

Re:that's still around? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593990)

It's still being used in certain proprietary big-iron systems. And it still kicks some ass. But it won't supplant the genetic ingrainment of x86. Which itself is hardly x86 any more. Intel is still selling it, but only the foolish are buying it to use in new designs.

Re:that's still around? (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594164)

It's still around and a valuable tool in the toolbox. The next-gen one (Poulson) should be the fastest processor in the world at release, assuming Intel manages to get it out on time.

that's okay (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35593964)

Kate Winslet will get fucked first.

Can't blame them (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593978)

It was botched from the start w/ no x86-32 backwards compatibility, & to make matters worse this weird AMD company takes the existing X86-32 architecture & just extends the buses & registers 2x creating a more successful architecture. On top of that Intel only sold Itaniums to enterprise, screeching compiler development for it to a hault.

Re:Can't blame them (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593998)

"On top of that Intel only sold Itaniums to enterprise, screeching compiler development for it to a hault."

except for maybe Intel's compilers?

Intel's compilers are very very good. Intel inherited the old DEC compiler group (which was very skilled) after some woeful time at Compaq.

Re:Can't blame them (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594082)

Yeah but think about it, most enterprise users will likely be using FOSS or some variant, & try getting Gentoo installed without GCC :P

Re:Can't blame them (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594224)

No they won't. They'll be using HP's compilers.

You think Linux is the platform of choice for high-end RISC servers? Seriously?

Re:Can't blame them (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594110)

>>On top of that Intel only sold Itaniums to enterprise, screeching compiler development for it to a hault.

I had experience working with the preproduction Intel compilers for it, and it was very, very good.

One of the best things about the platform, really. Kind of like the Tera.

Re:Can't blame them (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594174)

Uh, you realize SPARC, Power, z, Unisys BLS, Unisys Dorado, and all the other enterprise platforms lack x86 compatibility too, right?

Itanium has its failings. That isn't one. Those who talk about how that is the problem aren't the people that Itanium is for.

Re:Can't blame them (3, Informative)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594234)

What are you talking about? The early Itaniums were x86-32 compatible.
"Itanium processors released prior to 2006 had hardware support for the IA-32 architecture to permit support for legacy server applications"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itanium#Architectural_changes [wikipedia.org]

It wasn't until later the Itaniums lost their hardware based x86 compatibility.

Re:Can't blame them (2)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594456)

What are you talking about? The early Itaniums were x86-32 compatible. "Itanium processors released prior to 2006 had hardware support for the IA-32 architecture to permit support for legacy server applications"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itanium#Architectural_changes [wikipedia.org]

It wasn't until later the Itaniums lost their hardware based x86 compatibility.

While true, you omitted the crucial continuation of that sentence:

Itanium processors released prior to 2006 had hardware support for the IA-32 architecture to permit support for legacy server applications, but performance for IA-32 code was much worse than for native code and also worse than the performance of contemporaneous x86 processors.

Re:Can't blame them (0)

MichaelKristopeit338 (1967530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594608)

how does an omission of obviousness in any way change the statement's truthfulness?

do you want a pipeline stage dedicated to determining if an emulation layer should be implemented, or would you rather scrap the stage and gain lower latency AND higher throughput?

you expect a processor not natively built to run arbitrary code to perform similarly to a processor that was built to run the code natively?

you're an idiot. is that why you are mad?

The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (4, Informative)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35593992)

I still remember the day the HP sales/technical team came on-site to give us a presentation. Flashy videos with Carly Fiorina's new vision of the future. And a bright tomorrow with a new CPU line... out with PA-RISC and in with Itanic. Their sales team looked at each other nervously as we expressed our evaluation of the arrangement as a failed vision. It didn't take them long to figure out that dumping their in-house CPU to go with the Itanic would doom them to irrelevancy. And it did.

Now the Itanium itself is sinking from irrelevancy. It took too long. This chip was a disaster. Glad to see it go.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (4, Informative)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594006)

Yep, I think HP is the main customer for Itanium nowadays. Windows is going to drop support after Server 2008 R2 (support was limited in Server 2008 to certain parts). Red Hat dropped support for it with RHEL6.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (4, Informative)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594130)

You have to wonder what chip architecture HP is going to move to now, considering losing Itanium leaves them high and dry. Of course, Itanium was largely developed by HP. Perhaps HP will continue the processor line?

It certainly isn't going to do HP any good having to do another architecture switch. To this day, most of the HPUX servers in my shop are PA-RISC. Moving to Itanium has generally been painful enough that when our development teams are forced to upgrade their applications, they generally opt to rehost them on Linux on x86 rather than HPUX on Itanium. Only a few applications where that isn't adequate have made it to HPUX Itanium. Putting their customers through another painful transition isn't going to win HPUX any friends.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594186)

HP claims to have a 10-year roadmap. I suspect there's a contractual clause that says if Intel kills IA64 development, the IP and some amount of money gets transferred to HP.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (3, Interesting)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594208)

I've long argued that Itanium was Intel's vehicle to kill PA-RISC and get HP out of the high performance computing market and it worked. Intel let that CPU die a death of a thousand committee compromises while simultaneously plundering all of the technology they could out of Alpha and rolling out their Xeon cpus out at much higher clock speeds and with features that weren't in Itanium.

I worked at a computer company and we built servers that used PA-RISC cpus at the time and we got our hands on some Itanium samples and needless to say, we decided to migrate the platform to Xeon instead.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594438)

I've long argued that Itanium was Intel's vehicle to kill PA-RISC and get HP out of the high performance computing market and it worked.

I believe it was HP that decided that designing (and production, this was the days of "Real men own fabs") the next gen was just too expensive to continue for a low volume chip like PA-RISC. Intel made them an offer they could not refuse (taking on the HP chip designers, and modifying the architecture to HP's liking, and committing to production). I believe that if AMD had not kicked Intel's butt with the Opteron (and its 64-bit extensions) Itanium would be a likely leader today (as Intel would have dead-ended the x86).

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (1)

davidgay (569650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595020)

You may have long argued that, but if you actually looked at its history (how the architecture was defined, etc), you would actually understand that Itanium(ic) is a not-very-successful(*) joint HP-Intel project.

David Gay
*: For ambitious definitions of success.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594790)

It didn't take them long to figure out that dumping their in-house CPU to go with the Itanic would doom them to irrelevancy. And it did.

So you're saying that HPUX would be popular otherwise?

They were already well on the way to irrelevancy.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594968)

Kind of sad. PA-RISC was a nice design and very fast. The problems are more business oriented. Developing your own chip is expensive, so companies either want to be chip makers, or computer builders, but not both. Second the high end market made a leap from being unix oriented servers to Windows based servers. So customers don't like oddball chips that their software suppliers don't support. And in this context, "oddball" means anything that isn't x86. It's is also convenient from a business perspective if your desktop IT staff can be interchangeable with the server IT staff; then you can dump the unix guys with their funny beards and and the big-blue guys with their starched shirts and replace them cheaper cogs.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (3, Insightful)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595044)

Not that I'm a big fan of Carly, but you can't necessarily blame her for that. The decision for HP to go with Intel's fancy new solution was made in era of Lew Platt being CEO, well before Fiorina took over. I was at HP in the mid-90s and recall seeing roadmaps that showed HP's UNIX solutions all being based on the super-amazing upcoming new Intel architecture well before the end of the decade. PA-RISC was old and busted, and Intel had the new hotness just around the corner. The suits just couldn't say enough about what an unstoppable juggernaut Intel's new baby was going to be. According to them, it was going to solve everything, do everything, and pretty much take over the world.

I left in 97, but I am sure those roadmaps had to be quietly adjusted each time Intel's new chip was delayed (over and over). It was well past 2000 when the thing finally came out, and in the end, it was a huge disappointment (dare I say disaster) after PA-RISC had been sailing along smoothly for so long. The perf was terrible, the instruction set was a mess, and pretty much the entire industry did their best to avoid it. I'm surprised it took this long for Intel to throw in the towel on it.

PA-RISC really was a great series of CPUs. It's a shame it had to die. At one point I believe it actually surpassed the (at the time) much-vaunted DEC Alpha as the fastest thing on the market, if only for a little while. Itanium seemed designed solely to kill off the x86 CPU clone market. Intel came up with a completely new instruction set, and patented it so there would be no clones. Actually making a good chip did not seem to be a consideration.

Good riddance to Itanium, and a bittersweet farewell and R.I.P. to PA-RISC.

Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (3, Insightful)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595122)

Oh and I have to mention that HP's decision wasn't necessarily a bad one given the trends that were happening in the mid-to-late 1990s. The big story in everyone's minds was that expensive UNIX workstations were on the way out, to be replaced almost overnight by cheap commodity PCs running WindowsNT (don't laugh, it was the first "Windows" to be taken seriously). SGI pretty much lost their entire hardware business that way. HP was just trying to save themselves from that fate by hitching their future to what looked to be the industry's dominant player.

Sink the itanic? (-1, Troll)

slashdotfan4 (2024592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594022)

What an irony. Sad stuff all I can say. Itanium was really wondefull chip.
But legacy of x86 killed it.
Just look at the crazy ways its assembly can be used [blog.com]

Re:Sink the itanic? (0)

linux_geek_germany (1079711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594126)

What's up with this goatse bullshit????? Nobody cares viewing it the umpteenth time, nobody at /. will be upset by it and you just fucking waste our valuable time... YSSCGKY!!

Re:Sink the itanic? (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594178)

(a) Don't feed the trolls (b) It's /.'s lacking security and poster verification that allows crap like that to be posted over and over again.

Is Larry's foot sore yet? (1)

linatux (63153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594052)

Itanic now only used for HP/UX. Those big customers are forced to move to a different platform. Why would they continue to choose Oracle - the company that forced them to move?

Re:Is Larry's foot sore yet? (2)

stevel (64802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594180)

... and VMS .. and NonStop. Both systems with a lot of customers that find lots of value in those platforms and don't want to give them up.

Re:Is Larry's foot sore yet? (1)

cblguy2 (1796986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594324)

Yup. We purchased a number of VMS boxen within the last year. The Itaniums run solid with VMS, albeit HP stuck enough fans in there to make the box uncomfortably loud (data center only, nobody wants one of these things anywhere near their office, even as a test platform).

Re:Is Larry's foot sore yet? (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594198)

It's also used for VMS, HP NonStop, and some proprietary systems (GCOS, ACOS). NonStop is probably tougher to move away from than HP-UX.

NEC's ACOS (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594330)

I think NEC has already started to transition ACOS to X86. (Itanium doesn't offer any value-add to ACOS except perhaps avoidance of endian emulation.) But who cares? ACOS is exclusively supported in Japan, is in maintenance mode only (like Hitachi's VOS3 and Fujitsu's MSP and XSP), and has even less marketshare than those Japanese competitors. If you collected all the Itanium chips NEC sold in a year to run ACOS they'd easily fit in a shoebox.

Re:NEC's ACOS (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594364)

ACOS-2 is going to x86, but ACOS-4 is, at least currently, still on IA64.

Ask Intel about Itanium Compilers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594138)

Ask Intel how committed they are to Itanium since they just dropped support from their compilers.
They're probably just running out the hardware development pipeline.

Make now mistake about it, Oracle is a vicious competitor but this time they might have just made the correct technical decision.

Re:Ask Intel about Itanium Compilers (1)

stevel (64802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594196)

Ask Intel how committed they are to Itanium since they just dropped support from their compilers.

Not true.

Re:Ask Intel about Itanium Compilers (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594838)

put down the crack pipe, in January Intel came out with C++ version 11.1 update 8 for Linux and Windows on Itanium

No worries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594190)

Whatever happens, its heart will go on.

Titanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594200)

Hard to sink a ship thats already resting on the bottom.

Ah well (3, Interesting)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594226)

I work directly with a VLIW architecture myself (the TI C6000 family of DSPs). From that perspective, I'm a little sad to see Itanium go. I realize EPIC isn't exactly VLIW, but they had an awful lot in common. Much of HP's and Intel's compiler research helps us other VLIW folks too.

I think EPIC tried to live up to its name a little too much. The original Merced overreached, and so it ended up shipping far too late for its performance to be compelling. Everybody always zooms in on the lackluster x86 performance, but x86 wasn't at all interesting in the spaces Itanium wanted to play in originally. It wanted to go after the markets dominated by non-x86 architectures such as Alpha, PA-RISC, MIPS and SPARC. And had it come out about 3 years earlier, it may've had a chance there by thinning the field and consolidating the high-end server space behind EPIC.

Instead, it launched late as a room-heating yawner. And putting crappy x86 emulation on board only tempted comparisons to the native x86 line. That it made it all the way to Poulson is rather impressive, but smells more like contractual obligation than anything else.

Rest in peace, Itanium.

Re:Ah well (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594824)

Excellent post!

Well... (1)

jakartus (1287248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594240)

It seems the elephant in the room just farted.

LV (-1, Offtopic)

hieuwhf (2019884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594260)

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Sink It? (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594272)

To Sink it, doesn't that imply that at some time it actually floated. That processor line has had all the floating abilities of your average house brick since launch, sure for a while a few companies tried to fit the brick with lifejackets, but in the end they were always destined to sink to the murky depths of hell.

Oracle Had a Lot of Itanium Software (2)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594294)

HP has very little software to offer, so with major software vendors (Microsoft, Red Hat, and now Oracle) fleeing Itanium, it certainly isn't good news for HP. Oracle Database is probably the most popular software product running on HP-UX, as a matter of fact, but Oracle's announcement represents the end of the line. Oracle has a lot of other significant products, too, like Tuxedo, WebLogic Application Server, and Siebel, among others. Ironically IBM may now be the biggest vendor of Itanium-compatible software. Of course this Oracle announcement is self-serving, but it's also brutally smart business strategy. Itanium really is dead as a doorstop without popular software. This move also kills HP's aspirations of overtaking IBM any time soon, and it also kills one of HP's more profitable business lines. (Well played, Larry.)

Re:Oracle Had a Lot of Itanium Software (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594748)

IBM stopped DB2 support for Linux on Itanium with version 9, 9.5 doesn't support it....guess that leaves Websphere for HP/UX, that bloated piece of shit that is excuse for IBM to suck a client dry with consultants to attempt to make it useful

Re:Oracle Had a Lot of Itanium Software (2)

durdur (252098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594880)

> This move also kills HP's aspirations of overtaking IBM any time soon

Exactly - HP nowadays really wants to be IBM, a one-stop shop for hardware, software, and services. But they're not. IBM has a better mix of businesses and is executing better. HPQ operating margin - 10.49%, IBM operating margin - 19.97%. HPQ return on equity - 21.85%, IBM return on equity - 64.59% (from Yahoo finance).

Commercial software for Itanium? (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594404)

I didn't know there was any. Oddly enough the Itanium has a pretty active Linux community - check out gelato.org [gelato.org] . Frankly it has been such a niche market anyways that I didn't think anyone still bothered releasing any new software for it other than dedicated open source guys who were recompiling everything they could get source code for (since that is what you use 90% of your actual time for on an Itanium anyways - compiling software).

Quite simply, I'd be surprised if anyone who used Oracle on an Itanium actually cared about new releases.

Re:Commercial software for Itanium? (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594798)

I work for HP VAR, that's the main use of our clients HP/UX and Itanium LInux boxes, to run Oracle software. A few even ran Windows for Itanium for SQL server, some ran BEA Weblogic. If IBM throughs Websphere for Itanium HP/UX under the bus, then that's all she wrote.

Why not post intel's response? (5, Informative)

sitkill (893183) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594446)

Not sure why the submitter didn't post the Intel response denying it: http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2011/03/23/chip-shot-intel-reaffirms-commitment-to-itanium [intel.com] While you would think Intel would of course deny it, but considering Intel just took the wraps [realworldtech.com] off their next revision of the Itanium, this is pretty much just FUD coming from Oracle.

It's already sunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35594552)

It's surprising how few noticed Intel dropping support for Itanium in their compilers a few months ago.

Itanium is, for better or worse, dead. (Having said that, I'd take an Itanium box over a SPARC one any day of the week.)

Dang Windows (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594742)

You know smartphones and servers do not have the same issues of a one 1978 era set of instructions compiled executables that have to run only under one platform.

I know Windows NT was first designed on a Mips but that did not help. Maybe byte code interpreters like those on Android will save this. It is a tragedy.

But, in fairness Itanium did suck quite hard compared to Alphas. They overclocked them and crippled the alpha and tried to make their FPUs increadible powerful to do some nice benchmarks. Even with Alpha dead the chips could not do hardware supported threading like Sun's Sparcs nor could it have the performance of a fast AMD Opteron. Intel just had no choice but to make the Core2Duo and i5s and i7s that killed it. ... come to think of it Oracle now has sparc processors. I sense to support Itanium would be a conflict of interest at this point.

Itanium? (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#35594842)

What the heck is an Itanium?

who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35595008)

all 2 customers impacted are disappointed

Itanium, from the same people that brought the P4 (2)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595056)

In all truthfulness it did have some ideas going for it but it should have stayed a pet project. An R&D project but produce enough that the market could play with it in self built systems. In my opinion they should have basically given the processors away to inspire developers for hobby and niche products. They wouldn't have lost as much money and would have had more realistic ambitions for it. They had the fabs and the prototyping equipment already...

The Itanium, a processor designed for programming languages that could provide optimization hints... that could have a concept of L1 cache and manipulate it and be able to provide feedback to the processor when it could do better branch prediction than the processor. Radical concept, only problem was you HAVE TO code to each processor model specifically. Caches changed and the processor logic changed with each revision. That's why they would have made better embedded processors. The generic systems that would benefit the most would be systems with source code you could compile right for the machine, and dynamically compiled code, and code that could self compile and optimize itself.

They should have been much more radical instead and designed for massively parallel systems based on a RISC design with minimal branch prediction. So even if the processors weren't running the more efficient code a developer could at least attack a problem with the brute force of hundreds of threads at the same time. More or less they should have aimed for something along the lines of the cell processor. Another current story here on Slashdot is how how the US Air Force took 1700 PS3's and turned them into a computer that qualifies in the top 40 for supercomputers.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35595106)

At first I was wondering why Intel would want to sink the Titanic...

Yay? (1)

parlancex (1322105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35595124)

I don't understand why this is tagged 'yay'. What this means is that the world's largest chip maker with partnership from the world's largest software company couldn't get a competing architecture off the ground in any meaningful way. That's not yay, that to me is just a little sad. Sure we have great designs beneath the all the baked-into-silicon legacy x86 translation, but as developers (especially the developers of compilers) we'll never get to see any of it, and we'll never get to reclaim any of that silicon for something more useful either.

as a former Itanium employee (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35595274)

I agree with Oracle that it is close to over for the chip. Intel lost every good engineer working on it to AMD in Fort Collins, CO and can't (even with massive financial incentives) coax anybody on their x86 teams to transfer over. Itanium is considered the kiss of death on a resume so they are having a hard time even finding people willing to work on it. Work on Itanium is about 6 years behind original schedules! Originally designed and marketed as a performance leader to the Xeon series it has fallen so far behind that it had to be re-marketed with FUD about quality, scalability, and stability. While I agree it has better quality and stability than the i3,5,7 series, Intel has a hard time explaining how it is better in those terms compared to their higher end Xeon series.

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