Intel's Itanium processor got a boost as Oracle announced that it would port its Oracle 9i database application onto the troubled 64-bit platform.
Oracle announced support for Itanium at its Openworld conference in San Francisco. The database company also took the opportunity to trumpet new versions of its database and application server products.
The developer version of Oracle 9i runs on Linux 64, HP-UX and Windows XP operating systems, and allows software developers to start building and testing databases made with the new version.
Dell, Compaq and Hewlett Packard are among the hardware vendors supporting the Itanium version of the database.
Oracle said that a developer release version of Oracle 9i was now available for download and claimed to be the first major database vendor to do so.
Software support will be critical to Itanium as Intel tries to position McKinley, the next version of the chip, as a credible enterprise architecture. The chip is due for release by the middle of next year.
Craig Barrett, chief executive at Intel, talked up the relationship his company had with Oracle during his keynote speech to delegates at Oracle Openworld.
He explained that the internet was driving commerce and communications, and that both companies had a big part to play in web infrastructure development.
"Companies need to look towards a 100 per cent ebusiness. I think most of us are obviously on the net today and starting transactions on the net," he said. "There is not only big bandwidth and big databases needed, but lots of processing power is required here."
There are fears that the success of Oracle on Itanium may dent the fortunes of other hardware manufacturers. A Sun Microsystems spokesperson hit back saying that Sun hardware offered a "better value proposition for its customers".
"The whole stack of things built up over a long period of time makes the Sparc Solaris platform absolutely industrial strength," said the spokesperson. "That cannot be said for Itanium and that goes for all applications that run on it, whether that is Oracle or others."
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