THE LONG, SLOW DEMISE of Intel's Itanium server processors will finally reach its conclusion in 2021. Not bad for a widely-unloved chip that was allegedly ‘near the end of its life' eight years ago.
This time it really is, though. A notice sent to vendors last week declared that the Itanium 9700 series would be facing last orders on 30 January 2020, with a final shipment following 18 months later on 29 July 2021.
So it's goodbye to the Itanium 9720, 9740, 9750 and 9760 processors, while Intel C112 and C114 Scalable Memory Buffers also crashed the leaving drinks for the fast (well, slow) train to discontinuation town.
"Market demand for the products listed… have shifted to other Intel products," the company wrote in the notice. This is true but it's something of a delayed reaction, to say the least; the x86 Xeon chips have been taking not just the majority of Intel's server marketing budget, but the majority of the sales too.
In fact, Itanium has kind of been on life support for the majority of its life. At the turn of the century, combining the brains of Hewlett Packard and Intel certainly seemed like a solid strategy, but the AMD64 line proved to be more popular as an alternative - mainly thanks to its backwards compatibility. Worse, software needed different ports for different chips, making it a whole lot of hassle for customers who really just wanted an easy life.
By 2008, Microsoft had abandoned support, and Oracle only continued into 2012 because a judge literally told it to. Now the only big name OEM still supporting Itanium chips is HPE - coincidently the firm that Hewlett Packard transformed into. Its pledged to continue support all the way up to 2025, should you really want to buy one more Itanium machine for posterity. µ
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