In other news...
In other news, bears have been observed defecating in the woods.
Why would anyone who wants Red Hat want it on anything other than a decent industry-standard x86 server, or if the customers are still strategically committed to the mainframe business or committed to PowerPC, on one of those boxes. Why would someone like Red Hat want to continue to support a particular hardware platform if the revenue they get is unlikely to cover the costs of qualification and support for that platform?
For years now there's been almost no interest in Itanium for its own sake, only in the software and hence systems that are still exclusive to Itanium - HP-UX, Tandem NonStop, and VMS, which by coincidence are all HP OSes.
Where the same software is available on a different platform than Itanium, a more mainstream platform whose life support is not in doubt, then users, developers, systems integrators, consultants, etc would be silly to accept Itanium, whereas AMD64 is a perfectly acceptable choice - they're not going away for a while. Meanwhile, mainframes are not going away for a while yet either, much to the surprise of some industry commentators.
There is still a tiny niche that Itanium hardware can address that other non-mainframe boxes can't yet address - the ultra-large-memory single-system-image massive-SMP box.
As the AMD64 offerings encroach further into Itanium "big system" territory, Itanium hardware's exclusive market gets smaller and smaller, and the economics of continued Itanium development in parallel with development of AMD64 chips and systems in the same companies get crazier and crazier too. Intel HQ know this, HP HQ know this, most of the industry knows this (even if they don't admit it in public). The only question: when (not if) Itanium dies, which of the Itanium-specific OSes will HP port to AMD64 (presumably on Proliant, which is already the world's default server for most business-critical IT)? Which of HP-UX, Tandem NonStop, and VMS will HP continue to market post-Itanium?
This Red Hat announcement should surprise no one.
Itanium-dependent customers need a plan of escape, if they haven't already got one.
For clarity: AMD64 here also includes Intel's own last-minute AMD64 clones; the ones that Intel repeatedly said they weren't going to do because IA64 was going to be the "industry standard 64bit server". Right?
A merry Christmas and an Itanium-free New Year to both the readers that got this far.
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