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IT pro explains reasons for leaving Itanium: A Q&A

Dogged by lack of support, an Itanium user explains why he'll have to move off Windows-on-Itanium servers.

Just after Microsoft ceased Windows support for Intel's Itanium processor, spoke with Doug Burak, the director of IT security at Bucks County Community College. Based in Newtown, Pa., runs Windows on Itanium -- but not for long.

For more on Intel Itanium servers:
Microsoft Windows drops Intel Itanium

New Intel Itanium processor halts dead-chip talk

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 won't run on Intel Itanium
Do you still run Windows on Itanium? Doug Burak: Currently we still have a few. We have two Windows Itanium servers running, but we're phasing them out and we're moving over to (Hewlett-Packard Co.'s) ProLiant. We just ended up going that way before the Microsoft announcement.

Burak: It's just that there always seemed to be some kind of issue. If it wasn't a print driver, it was some kind of application issue. If we wanted to do some open source stuff, the software wouldn't run on that platform. It got to be more trouble than it's worth.

Can you give other examples of poor support on Itanium?
Burak: We have Symantec Backup [Exec] System Recovery. It's a good package and allows you to make restore points of your Windows Server and put them somewhere so that if your hardware fails, you can restore it to other hardware. But guess what? It doesn't support Itanium. Microsoft has printer management, and you can migrate printer shares from one system to another. You can do it with anything but Itanium.

Do you have other Itanium boxes?
Burak: We still have some HP-UX Itanium. They're still driving the college's ERP [enterprise resource planning] system, which is Datatel Colleague. Right now a UniData database is the back end. We're consolidating and we're probably going to be an all Windows shop. We only have about five to seven servers that are Unix or Linux. So that's the plan right now. It looks like the timeline for the support stuff might work for us also.

We have an [HP] rx3600 right now. It's a really good system and it's great for HP-UX. It can run Windows 2008. It's a shame. I like those systems. They're good performers and reliable. But if they're not going to support it, why even think about doing it?

Mark Fontecchio can be reached at

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