Intel claims Itanium not hurt by HP's Odyssey

Intel has spoken out regarding HP's Odyssey programme, which provides support for customers looking to take their Itanium-specific code and make it run on cheaper x86 hardware, claiming that it will in no way hurt the Itanium architecture.

Intel's comments come in response to fears that Itanium is sinking even faster than its 'Itanic' nickname suggests: following the cessation of support for the architecture that was once seen as the saviour of big business by numerous software vendors, HP's announcement of the Odyssey programme was seen by many as the final nail in the coffin.

The news came on the back of increased focus on x86 architecture Xeon chips, which Intel is pushing as a solution for big-iron, high-performance computing and even supercomputing implementations - all areas in which Itanium is supposed to be competitive.

The company has admitted in the past that Xeon chips, which offer the same 64-bit capabilities as Itanium in a significantly cheaper package with full backwards compatibility with existing 32-bit x86 code, compete with Itanium, but has yet to publicly kill the project off - despite this latest blow from HP, the company responsible for development of the IA-64 instruction set architecture on which Itanium is based.

Speaking to X-bit Labs, Intel's Radoslaw Walczyk claimed that Itanium is going nowhere. "We remain to be equally committed to the Itanium and Xeon platforms, both of which represent our portfolio approach to bring open, standards-based computing to the mission critical computing market segment.

"Customers buy Itanium-based systems for its support of resilient Unix operating systems, along with the combination of scalable enterprise performance and exceptional system reliability that is important to their mission critical needs," Walczyk claimed. "We are very happy with [the] HP announcement as it will provide more flexibility and choice for our customers."

For now, however, the industry is wondering: just how much longer can Intel keep the Itanium afloat?