HP executives are urging channel partners-many of whom also work with Oracle-to convince the software giant not to stop development for the Itanium chip platform.
executives reportedly are looking to their channel partners to pressure Oracle
into reversing its decision to end software development for Intel's Itanium
During a March
29 keynote address at HP's Americas Partner Conference 2011 in Las Vegas, Dave
Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of HP's Enterprise
Servers, Storage and Networking business, urged attendees to contact Oracle
directly, suggesting that officials at the software giant could be convinced to
change their mind, according to a report in CRN
asking you to rally around and ask Oracle to reverse this decision," Donatelli
told the HP partners, many of whom also work with Oracle. "Call or write-they've
changed their minds in the past on issues, and we're asking you to rally to
make this happen."
announced March 22 that it was ending software development for Intel's Itanium
platform, saying that after speaking with several Intel managers, it became
apparent that the chip giant was phasing out Itanium and would concentrate more
on its lucrative x86 processors.
announcement was quickly disputed by both Intel and Hewlett-Packard
primary consumer of Itanium chips and a rival of Oracle's in the high-end RISC
hardware market. Intel executives, led by President and CEO Paul Otellini, said
that Intel already has the next two generations of Itanium chips-code-named
"Poulson" and "Kittson"-in development, and a product roadmap that stretches
out at least 10 years. For their part, HP officials said it will continue to
invest in the Itanium platform for its Integrity and NonStop processors, and
blasted Oracle's move as an anti-competitive ploy by the company to prop up the
struggling SPARC hardware business that it inherited when Oracle bought Sun
Microsystems last year for $7.4 billion.
The ones being
hurt the most are customers, Donatelli said in a statement the day after
Oracle's announcement. He reiterated that claim during his pitch to HP partners
at the Las Vegas event.
high market share area, this is a shameless attempt to force customers to spend
a lot of money to move to a platform over time that gives customers no
benefits," Donatelli said, according to CRN. "Oracle made this
decision to slow Sun SPARC market losses."
spokesperson fired back
, saying it was Oracle that was
looking out for customers by letting them know well in advance of the company's
decision and promising to continue support for Oracle software running on
well aware that Intel's future direction is focused on x86 and that plans to
replace Itanium with x86 are already in place," the Oracle spokesperson
said in the March 23 statement. "HP is knowingly withholding this
information from our joint Itanium customers. While new versions of Oracle
software will not run on Itanium, we will support existing Oracle/Itanium
customers on existing Oracle products."
There are several
implications for HP. Analysts estimates say that at least half the
Itanium-based Superdomes HP sells run Oracle database software. In addition, HP
last year jumped into the No. 2 spot behind IBM in the Unix server market,
leapfrogging Oracle with a 26 percent share. The move could bolster Oracle's
flagging hardware business. While, overall, the company saw a 37 percent jump
in revenue in the last quarter, it's Sun-based hardware business missed analyst
Oracle's arguments to the contrary, analysts have said that the company's
Itanium decision is an obvious attempt to strengthen its SPARC hardware
business while hurting HP's Unix server unit.
"Oracle made a
measured decision to discontinue development for Itanium processors to reduce a
competitive threat to its own SPARC-based hardware in the enterprise server and
high-performance computing market," Stuart Williams, an analyst with Technology
, said in a note March 24. "HP-producer of the
Integrity line of Itanium-based servers-is the immediate target, while Intel-producer
of the chip that was supposed to replace the x86 architecture-is a secondary
target. Oracle is trying to force HP and Intel to remain producers of lower-margin
X86-based systems by reducing competition for its SPARC line of hardware;
however, IBM's Power-based servers remain the strongest alternative to SPARC."