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VERITAS a Believer in Itanium

If VERITAS Software has its way, running Linux on the Intel Itanium platform will become wildly successful as more software vendors build applications that will run on the open source operating system and 64-bit computing architecture.

That's why the Mountain View, Calif., maker of storage and utility computing software extended its support for the Intel Itanium 2 platform on Red Hat Linux 3.0, with the introduction of VERITAS Foundation Suite 2.2 storage management software and VERITAS Cluster Server 2.2 on Itanium for Linux.

Adding support for Itanium may seem like a minor perk, but not to VERITAS. According to Ranajit Nevatia, director of Linux strategy at VERITAS, the company is intent on making sure enterprise-class Linux is available for both IA-32 and 64-bit Itanium architectures. The outfit first supported Itanium on Linux last year in its VERITAS OpForce software.

VERITAS has a vested interest in making Linux on Itanium work. According to research from IDC, the market for Itanium-based servers shipped with Linux is forecasted to grow to $2 billion by 2008. Customers looking to run enterprise workloads on Linux have been asking ISVs like VERITAS to bring support to Itanium on Linux, Nevatia told internetnews.com.

Moreover, the company has more or less bet the ranch on its utility computing strategy, which vows flexibility and heterogeneity in offering computing resources to customers on the fly at reasonable prices. Linux on Itanium can help deliver that, Nevatia said.

Together, Cluster Server and Foundation Suite software bring storage management and high availability to Linux deployments with demanding service levels. Nevatia also said Linux on Itanium is inherently cost-effective and easy to manage.

The news is also a coup of sorts for Intel, which has been trying to get more support for Itanium to compete with AMD's Opteron architecture and, to a lesser extent, IBM's POWER platform. Until recently, hardware vendors were loathe to build Itanium-based servers until more applications were designed to run on it.

That's changing, analysts say. Some 400 applications have been certified on the architecture, according to Aberdeen Group analyst Peter Kastner.

Meanwhile, HP has been an eternal supporter of Itanium while Dell Monday announced a high-end, 4-way server -- the PowerEdge 7250 -- based on Itanium.

The news is telling: Dell isn't known to bet on technology if it doesn't think it will scale to a high volume. The fact that Dell has thrown its weight behind Itanium with a high-end server means it believes in Itanium's value and ability to sell.