HP Has Options in Wake of Oracle's Itanium Move: Forrester

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2011-03-24 Print this article Print

title=A Ripple Effect in the Industry}

Oracle's decision will have a ripple effect in the industry, Fichera said. For Intel, it will be more of a nuisance-a loss of some credibility for Itanium, though Oracle was the third top-tier software maker, behind Red Hat and Microsoft, to abandon the platform, and "only a token loss of revenue." Microsoft could profit by promoting its SQL server as a solid database alternative.

IBM also could be helped, again by pushing its Power-based servers running AIX as an alternative to HP-UX, and by promoting its DB2 database on AIX. However, Fichera also said that given IBM's competition with Oracle on servers, Big Blue could find itself the next target of Oracle's aggressive competitive nature.

Meanwhile, HP-UX customers will see their options shrink and their budgets grow, whether going the expensive route of migrating from an Oracle database or having to prematurely refresh their systems for need of a newer version of Oracle on Unix, which would make Oracle's Sun SPARC-based hardware platform a viable option, Fichera said. He estimated that up to half of HP's Itanium-based Superdome systems run Oracle.

"We should note that this does not equate to either wholesale abandonment of HP platforms or an immediate dip in revenue," he said. "Oracle versions tend to live for years after their successors are announced, so many HP customers with current Oracle versions (which Oracle will continue to support on HP-UX/Itanium) will still buy additional capacity for years after the next non-Itanium versions are introduced."

Fichera said HP does have the options of bring HP-UX to x86-based systems and putting x86 chips into such high-end Itanium systems as Superdome, something the company has been reluctant to do. Still, Oracle's move may force the issue.

Still, businesses running HP's Itanium system shouldn't feel any impact in the short-term, he said.

"From a customer perspective, there is no real need to consider abandoning a strategic HP relationship," Fichera said. "The company has a good track record in bridging generations of hardware for its HP-UX users, and there is no reason to think that the transition to an x86 system would be different-current Itanium customers should expect multiple years of parallel availability, and HP has said they will support Itanium systems for at least a decade."


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