A week ago, Oracle surprised HP and over a hundred thousand joint customers by announcing that they were no longer going to develop Oracle products for Itanium processors - essentially HP Integrity servers. While I've spent most of the last 10 days learning how to burp and diaper my baby girl, I have followed the news with interest and concern.
While lots of articles have been written (and I don't want to re-cover them here), I do want to note a few things.
- While the industry trend is definitely towards industry standard computing and cloud computing, workload optimized systems are a long way from dead. While the trend has been away from mainframe for decades, there are still lots of systems being shipped. Even if the UNIX market isn't growing, it is still mostly flat (with declines during poor economic cycles) and still just a little smaller from a revenue perspective than the entire x86 market.
- Among the big three UNIX vendors, HP is #2 market share by revenue. It is bigger than Solaris. With over a hundred thousand joint Oracle and HP customers, there are a whole lot of Oracle instances on HP Integrity servers. While IBM AIX has #1 UNIX market share, there is also a lot of DB2 running on AIX. This at least makes you wonder if Power support may be next. And what about Windows, SUSE Linux, etc?
- When things change in the UNIX market, HP has given customers years of notice, and lots of support. For instance, the current version of HP-UX 11i v3 will have support at least until 2020 [PDF].
If you are interested, HP's official response is available on the Customers First site. If you are an Oracle customer, and are concerned because you either use HP Integrity servers or are concerned that your systems could be next, feel free to express your concern to your Oracle rep or email Oracle at email@example.com. I guess, at the end of the day, the biggest question for customers is what type of company they want to do business with.
Jacob Van Ewyk