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IBM Lures Oracle Itanium Customers

By - Source: IBM | B 15 comments

Intel's Itanium is causing more headaches for HP and Oracle.

After Oracle announced that its software will not be supporting Itanium anymore, and HP is fighting to get Oracle back, IBM has launched an aggressive advertising campaign that is going after Itanium customers.

IBM states that it will continue support for Itanium with its DB2 database system running on HP/UX. According to the campaign, more than 1000 customers using Oracle databases switched to DB2 and, of course, IBM does not miss to note that "morethan 1500 clients" switched to IBM's Power architecture from Oracle/Sun and HP. And, yes, Oracle software runs on IBM systems as well.

A switch of a database is a costly effort in time, money, resources and potentially heart surgery for the availability of a business. It's unlikely that switches will occur without extensive investigation, but Oracle's announcement to move away from Itanium questions the overall investment protection in Itanium processors, which could be a huge problem for HP and its HP/UX and billion-dollar services business.

It is an obvious move for IBM to lure Oracle on Itanium users to a Power/DB2 system. IBM claims that DB2 may incur only one-third of the cost of an Oracle database and may be more than 90 percent compatible.

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  • 2 Hide
    COLGeek , December 15, 2011 3:03 PM
    Smart move by IBM to add to its customer base.
  • 1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , December 15, 2011 3:18 PM
    It's funny how the article mentions problems for everyone but Intel, who actually makes Itanium...
  • -2 Hide
    de5_Roy , December 15, 2011 3:20 PM
    leave itanium, get interlagos and valencia, hp! :p 
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    ta152h , December 15, 2011 3:38 PM
    It's nice to see Oracle's plan backfire. Screwing your customers so they spend more money on your products is a dubious endeavor, and they were stupid to even try it. It creates ill-will that will last a lot longer than any benefits, and has hurt their reputation. They look very petty, very predatory, and very unreliable as a vendor.

    Contrast that with IBM, who took the high road instead of discontinuing DB2 support for Itanium. They're getting more hardware sales without even doing that, plus, they're getting DB2 sales for Itanium. And they look good doing it.

    It's not clear why Oracle thought HP was their enemy instead of IBM in the first place, outside of possibly it being a petty vendetta. But, they damaged themselves and a company that's not really a competitor, and helped a company that not only sells hardware, but competing software, not to mention services. Nice job, Larry. I'm just glad I'm not a stockholder.
  • -1 Hide
    wiyosaya , December 15, 2011 4:40 PM
    Whether organizations actually go for this will depend on how many Itanics there are out there. Converting from one DB to another is not necessarily a trivial task, and in some cases, I could see it as being just as expensive, and perhaps more so, than converting to another hardware platform since the Oracle database files likely would not need to be changed from one hardware platform to another. Thus, to "convert" an Oracle DB to another hardware platform may be as simple as copying the db files from the old platform to the new one in some cases.

    Personally, I don't think Oracle is screwing their customers. It sounds more like a business decision since Itanic has been a dying breed for a long time now. Perhaps it will finally die.

    Unfortunately, the article does not mention how many out there have decided to skip IBM's offering and actually switch their hardware instead. It would be interesting to know what percentage of Oracle Itanic customers that the 1000 who converted represent. IBM is definitely trying to spin this in their favor.
  • -1 Hide
    dgingeri , December 15, 2011 5:19 PM
    I find it even funnier that the last CEO of HP actually planned to move the focus of the entire company over to those Enterprise services that run on Itanium, while Itanium has been going down hard for years. I have never seen how his plan ever made sense, business or otherwise. He must have been completely out of touch with reality.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 15, 2011 9:19 PM
    IBM deserves to win this fight between HP and Oracle. HP de-invested in HP-UX and building chips. They have been milking the install base for years without any real improvements. Oracle is Oracle. They think everyone is fortunate to be able to use their amazing database and it is their right to tell them what to run under it. Mark Hurd is the touch of death everywhere he goes. He set HP up for its current spiral by cutting everything to meet quarterly numbers. Now he is making Oracle, usually a very savvy company, do things which just do not have an upside for them... certainty not an upside that is worth the risk.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 15, 2011 9:27 PM
    Oracle has finally pushed customers too far. People have gone down the vertically integrated road before and, although there are integration benefits, the ability of the vendor to name their price for support is not a great bargain in the long haul. It benefits the vendor far more than the customer.... They are going to lose DB customers and there is no way they are going to make up those loses by (possibly) selling a few more Exa-xxx instead of HP Itanium servers. No one will buy Sun even if they are forced to move away from HP Itanium. They will buy x86 servers or IBM Power.
  • 0 Hide
    nrgx , December 15, 2011 10:08 PM
    I have to wonder if Oracle's move is monopolistic.
  • 0 Hide
    Thunderfox , December 16, 2011 3:52 AM
    Losing customers is good for Intel at this point. The sooner they can stop making Itanium products, the better for them.
  • 0 Hide
    seezur , December 16, 2011 4:01 AM
    nrgxI have to wonder if Oracle's move is monopolistic.

    I have to wonder if the move is a sign that Oracle is having financial troubles as well. Programing for a Itanium based system is far more complex and takes someone with experience to do it. Maybe they want to cut their development staff and this is the easiest way for them to do it, by cutting a product.

    It does make you wonder what the motivation was, either way it's not a good sign for them.
  • 0 Hide
    martel80 , December 16, 2011 5:43 AM
    seezurPrograming for a Itanium based system is far more complex and takes someone with experience to do it.
    While it takes experience to be a good programmer in general, programming for Itanium is pretty much the same as long as you're programming in C/C++/Fortran. Only a maniac would do in-line assembly on Itanium (or even x86).

    Programming under Itanium (OpenVMS) is a part of my job.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 16, 2011 6:29 PM
    This situation will be positive for IBM. Negative for HP. Neutral for Intel. Oracle is the real question mark. It will probably be slightly to the negative for them because users are blaming them for the death of Itanic and some are considering migrations. Even if they win some server business, they will need to sell a lot of servers to make up for a marginal drop off in their DB support base. I don't think you can pin the death of Itanic on Oracle. Maybe the acceleration of the death, but the Itanic was a sinking ship before Oracle stepped off.... I don't really understand why all of these HP - Itanium users are so up in arms. Did they really not see this coming? Not to mention, it isn't as though they need to throw their current servers away now. They have until the 12g migration, which could be years, to find a different platform. By that point, they probably would have migrated off of Itanium anyway.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 16, 2011 6:48 PM
    I agree with Oracle. Even though users on Itanium are going to scream, Oracle is doing what is ultimately in the users best interest (even if they do not recognize it). Net: The users will save 50% on their server costs, increase application performance, and be on a modern platform.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 19, 2011 8:51 PM
    This is bad thing altogether for the sinking UNIX segment. It tells customers: "Hey; we the vendors can play with your investment at will, this is fading away, so we will milk our cash cows till the end". This will accelerate UNIX sunset. Pushing customers to Linux on top of several architectures. There customers will be a little more free. Again it will be IBM that will survive in the UNIX market, holding a shrinking share over many years to come...