Here is a post of mine and response in a RHEL5 discussion, I think someone
here might find it interesting also and maybe give me an insider's hint
(about all linux and xen distributions for IA64):

I feel deceived :( ... Itanium is not going to be supported after March 2014
and in RHEL 6 ?!!?!?!! I know this probably is a bit late reaction, I have
also a SR open with this question and a business case officially  documented
in my company (I can send it gladly to anyone interested) with proposal
based on RHEL and HP Integrity blades (Itanium). I will open another SR if
needed, but I am not sure this is the best way. Now, can anyone give me
deeper insights on this, hints how to turn somebody's attention (manager in
RHEL which could help or at least deliver options), suggestions, anything ?
I know that Itanium has a strange story, but you don't just give up like
that  on a platform which is still supported by other vendors, this is not
good. I have Micro$oft people here awaiting this situation with all the joy
knowing that hardware migration is not an option, and HP being indifferent.
Please help,
Zoran Popovic.

/*                                      I got one response so far:


> I feel deceived :( ... Itanium is not going to be supported after March
> and in RHEL 6 ?!!?!?!! I know this probably is a bit late reaction, I have
> also a SR open with this question and a business case officially
> in my company (I can send it gladly to anyone interested) with proposal
> based on RHEL and HP Integrity blades (Itanium). I will open another SR if

Sure, I'm interested in looking at your business case. We have two SGI
itanium altix 350's (8 node/16p total) and another with 2 nodes/4p and
all I know is that replacement parts are expensive, the warranty
contracts are expensive, and the systems are expensive, and they have
a bigger rack and environmental footprint. The 1.5GHz 16p system has
lower performance than a single node 16p 2.93GHz Xeon nehalem system
(for our computational work loads). Let's just say we're not replacing
the itaniums as the nodes start dieing. Ours used to run RHEL3 but SGI
made us switch to SLES9 or 10, perhaps that's another option if you
really want itanium support (don't know about novell's plans).

In any case, even SGI's new "UV" large shared memory/many cores system
uses nehalem CPUs.


/*                                      And this is what I've

I am still compiling some data about current state and different
benchmarking (both official SAP, Oracle and HP, and my personal unofficial
I will send you what I have (document about half year or more old) at the
moment, to your personal mail if you tell me why you need it.
In short, my company bought 10 HP Integrity servers (two rx2620, 10 rx4640)
five years ago, having older non-dual non-HT/VT-i (Montvale, Madison, I
don't remember anymore) cores, with FC SAN EVA 5000 at that time. They were
unfortunately implemented on Windows 2003 (for reasons I do not wish to
discuss). And here comes my favourite anegdote about Itanium raw
performance: while doing an Oracle 10g patch (CPUJan2009 bundle, I think or
something like that), carelessly for some reason (I usually don't do it that
way, of course) I haven't read the patch README and I have omitted to do
additional view compiling by habit (many patches/patchsets do not need it
beside the usual compiling). Production database node has two dual 1.1GHz
processor modules and 8 or 16G of RAM at that time (mx2 modules, let's say
it is like 2 CPUs with dual cores), and the moment I have had database ready
for use I have concurrently read that I need additional compiling which
needs about 30 minutes for average database with 2000 objects by internal
Oracle benchmarking/testing. I have sighed, did query and saw three to four
times more objects in my database than stated in the README manual, and
started swearing in myself about complicated corporate procedures and flows
about informing users, system availability, internal QA, etc. So, I decided
to put system back down with my teeth strongly clenched together and started
these two scripts on production system (not the usual situation, I repeat).
It lasted not more than 5 minutes ! I didn't have to follow all the strict
QA procedures, inform users, and so on ...
In the mean time, my company bought additional two rx4640 and 4 Integrity
blades (Madison dual core HT/VT-i enabled and newer 1.6GHz CPUs). There are
many different Itanium models, I don't want to go into details, but blades
were bought recently a year ago or so. Official vendor support was obtained
for three years, and knowing that a previous old and historical Alpha 4000
server worked in production for nearly 8 years, and that we still have
legacy non-SAP Alpha ES47 OpenVMS cluster systems working now for 7 years, I
don't believe our management will change much about Itanium, especially
having all this crisis situation (though, support becomes progressively
expensive for systems older than 5 years, that's with HP and more or less
same with all hardware vendors). My company supported me in making prototype
with Xen virtualization based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux on those blades. I
was able to run 4-5 guest machines on 4p host with 32G RAM without
significant performance loss compared to 1 guest, and it proves to be very
stable (though having HVM windows guest which show poor I/O, it shows to be
almost comparable with current production). I have followed all the
recommendations given by SAP, Oracle, HP and RHEL and their support, and
showed that this configuration is supported and practically useful (some bad
experience with database, but nothing unsolvable), while optimum performance
would be with PV RHEL guests. Business users and management in a
pharmaceutical company have very high expectations about reliability,
availability, QA and many other things, so it is really not just about
making things work  cheaper, and I think I have managed to prove that for
RHEL on Itanium.
One of the reasons I didn't choose SLES is that I had problems with
installation (though I've found workarounds) and Xen on Itanium, and more
important, I think there are issues about official SAP support for it. SAP
is a very serious and affected vendor, you get roadmaps, strict patch dates
(including Itanium), extensive support infrastructure, and it is very good
for planning critical business environments like those I have now, so - Suse
is an option, but not for production at the moment. My long run goal is to
move to RHEL. That is the basic reason I am disappointed with Red Hat's
decision to move away from Itanium so quickly and suddenly. They left me
either to migrate to different hardware, or stay with awful Micro$oft (they
obtain Itanium support, but no VT for it, only resource management) - we
already have VMWare as VT platform for x86/x64, so I don't expect anyone
will invest in additional linux or VT like Xen in first case. HP has it's
HP-UX which is an excellent OE and AFAIK the only true alternative, but also
very expensive and I have lost management's support for it long ago. And now
I'm kind of stuck. Yes, year 2014 is far away, while M$ signs here extensive
contracts and I get less artillery for persuasion. Oh, and an option I
usually forsee is to take some of those nice tranquillizing pills from the
production plant directly in the mean time, or someone just kills finally
and completely that Itanium CPU so all affected can continue their lives.
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