Choosing a sustainable hardware platform isn't probably something you want to do everyday. Get it wrong and you'll probably get your company sinking like the Titanic.
But even the most prepared IT manager might find himself caught with his pants down when manufacturers themselves decide to call it a day, and abruptly terminate or kill technologies that were supposed to last for years, if not decades.
This is exactly what might happen if Intel decides to remove life support for its ill-fated Itanium range. Hints that the multi billion project might finally be buried have abounded in the past year, which if it comes to pass would signal one of the costliest mistakes in computer history.
Speaking at the launch of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, Intel itself let slip a line mentioning moving from RISC to the more popular x86 slipped somewhere. Itanium is Intel’s only RISC product.
One by one, Intel’s Itanium premier customers; Dell, IBM and Sun Microsystems have left the cruise ship. HP, which partnered with Intel to create the original Itanium/Merced, took it off from its Workstation and is now selling two Itanium processors for the price of one .
You never hear this kind of BOGOF promotions in the higher spheres of technology, which speaks volumes about what is happening underneath.
Add to this the fact that Intel itself is pushing its own Xeon platform on its big brother's traditional turf, with a common socket planned in a near future and you can be almost sure that in 24 months, Itanium servers will end up on eBay selling for a fraction of their price.
Even with the world's largest CPU manufacturer, you can never be too safe.