back to article HP threatens Oracle with legal action for jumping Itanic

HP has threatened legal action in response to Oracle's recent decision to withdraw support for its software on future Itanium processors. In his keynote address at HP's Discover 2011 event in Las Vegas today, Martin Fink – senior vice president and general manager of HP's Business Critical Systems unit – hinted that HP will …


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  1. Ray 8


    I wonder what Mark Hurd has to say about this.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Aries2 is after Kittson

    ""currently starting exploratory work for what comes after Kittson", HP's (lack of) Integrity systems roadmap says "Kittson based servers remain active 12-18 months after replacement systems are introduced" Notice it is not next generation systems.

    HP was very proud of their Aires emulation....oh sorry the marketing term is "binary translation"

    Customers hated it because it was deathly slow.

    HP is trying to delay the rats from leaving the sinking Itanic until they can get them to Linux on Proliant. If it wasn't for their new found partnership with Microsoft they would have bought RedHat when it was affordable.

    But with Intel saying things like "we are only doing the tock for Itanium, not the ticks" and Poulson being pushed out to late 2012 and Kittson 2015....the complete lack of keeping up with x86 will kill it soon enough.

    The funniest thing was how they just now cry about the doubled price of Oracle software in December. The only reason it was that price was because it ran SQL Server...which M$ft just killed on Itanium....maybe they should sue M$ft and Redhat first.

    Everyone loses on this one especially customers. The only clear winner here is IBM

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    processor affinity, or not

    re: "Last December, Oracle lowered its per-core pricing for software on its own Sparc processors and raised them on the latest Itanium chips."

    This is meaningless, telling, but still meaningless. What is says is that Intel processors have gotten faster faster than Sparc processors (including core count.)

    1. Kebabbert


      It is not meaningless. It just tells that Oracle is attacking Itanium by making it more expensive. And by coincidence, it turns out that Oracle has stopped development for Itanium - which really proves that it is an Oracle attack on all fronts.

      Your statement would be true, if Oracle still continued to support Itanium. Because Oracle would reason something like this "we can not compete with Intel performance wise so we have to make them more expensive". But no, Oracle is attacking on fronts - it has nothing to do with performance problems.

      BTW, Oracle Niagara cpus happens to have several world performance records today. I would not call it "slow".

  4. John Savard


    A legal obligation "to continue to offer its software product suite" is not the same thing as a legal obligation to continue developing for the platform.

    Thus, Microsoft could continue to sell Windows 98 without having had to write Windows ME, XP, Vista, or 7.

    So this sounds like a misunderstanding.

  5. chairman_of_the_bored

    No kidding...

    Let's skip over the religious wars about which processor is better. It should be clear to any CTO and CIO that Itanium servers are now effectively single-source (I know, Oracle is also single-source, but give me the power to change the things I can) and it is a bad move for any customer to commit itself to only one hardware vendor.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: No kidding...

      "Oracle is also single-source"

      I'm assuming that you are talking Oracle DB? 'Cuz Oracle SPARC is not single source. Today, Oracle and Fujitsu supply SPARC. SPARC is an open standard and in the past many companies have made SPARC CPU's and systems.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Why would Oracle hold back Itanium benchmarks?

    I think the statement that Oracle is holding back on HP publishing Itanium benchmarks is bogus - RE" apparently sat on one TPC-C benchmark test result and could be sitting on others". If that’s the case, why would there be a Superdome2 benchmark running Oracle 11g on TPC-H here?: HP also published a world record TPC-H result with Oracle here as well:

    If you look at *all* the HP Itanium 9300 series benchmarks, there are *no* application or database based benchmarks available. Clearly HP could easily run on non-Oracle software like Sybase, SAP, DB2, Websphere and others so this argument is a total fallicy and its just that Itanium sucks at performance. Just look for yourself here. You wont find any realworld benchmarks on latest Itanium!

    I think its time for HP to just abandon Itanium, focus on selling x86 and keep HP-ES (former EDS) people busy with selling migrations, just like they’ve done before with Alpha and PA-RISC.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's not bogus

      Some later day benchmarks were not signed off by Oracle on a technicality. The ones you quote predate the sun acquisition. TPC requires sign-offs from both server and database vendors.

      (I am not an HP employee. Or Sun. Or Oracle).

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    So, how does that work?

    "I'm going to force you to write software?" Yeah, I'm sure even if hp win that Oracle will put their best people on it right away - not! Even if hp win, I'm sure what will happen is Oracle will then continue to rig their software to run best on unwanted SPARC. I don't remember there being a legal commitment from Oracle to hp to ensure Itanium releases come out the same time as Slowaris releases, even though hp did push for that in the past, so it looks like Oracle could lose and still cripple their software development on Itanium. I hope Leo enjoys putting Larry on the rack, but I'd much rather he put some money into developing better options to replace the Oracle products.

    Why do I think Oracle might lose? "......Oracle declined to comment on the matter....." When Larry goes quiet you know it's serious!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Let's send it to Safra...she might have a soft heart

      We can't send a letter to Larry....he will just rip it up

      We can't send a letter to Mark...he really hates us

      Let's send it to Safra...she is the one that really runs the company

      Let's get every customer to send a letter to Oracle demanding they support Itanium


      WTF is this... what a bunch of cry babies. If they don't shut up we wont support their DL890 box with those crappy glue chips.

      Well we have gotten two letters from customers complaining...let's sign them up for a ULA and give them a free Exadata in the bundle.

      1. Pony Tail

        Mark Hurd knows HP and Intels plans

        I can't believe no one has talked about why Oracle knows so much...and why they say HP is hiding the truth.

        1. Billl

          re: Mark Hurd knows HP and Intels plans

          Blah blah blah. Yes Mark Hurd knows a lot about what HP is doing or going to do, but you think that Oracle as an important Intel ISV or Sun as an IHV of Intel does not hear from Intel their future plans?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    "Itanium servers are now effectively single-source"

    For all practical purposes they have been since day 1.

    At least with Alpha there were licenced second sources for the chip (Samsung, Mitsubishi) and Samsung did actually produce some Alpha chips and design some systems around them.

    No significant Itanium second sources either at chip or board or system level.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While the lawyers do their stuff...

    Most customers aren't interested in "what the roadmap might be after the lawyers have done their stuff", they're interested in how it is now. Further, they're interested in whether their platform will be tier-1 for support.

    So almost every customer will be running Oracle atop one of:

    a) x86/Windows

    b) x86/GNU/Linux

    c) Sparc/Solaris

    d) Power/AIX

    The competition don't need to fight HP/itanium, their most effective tactic is simply to ignore it.

    1. Billl

      re: While the lawyers do their stuff...

      Don't forget:

      e) X86/Solaris

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Thy name is DB2

    So what. Sod Oracle.

    A customer of mine (big bank) replaced Oracle with a flick of a hand because of the hike the license costs took (really quickly) with DB2 and they save 90% of the previous costs. Performance is great too.

    Mark my words, Oracle is living its last hours as a db vendor. That's why one can sense their not so quiet desperation.

    1. SplitBrain

      Sorry...but no.

      So your customer, "big bank" just ported all their code to DB2 with a "flick of the hand" eh? Really that easy is it? Really save 90% do they! I call utter bollocks on your post mate.

      I'd love to know how "big bank" does this, because no one else can.....not with a flick of the hand (?!) anyway.

      Migrating to a different DB is a LOT of work, it's affects everything, every app you have needs to be re-written to some extent and then extensively tested. It's one of the last things any company ever wants to have to do, Oracle knows this and is abusing it's monopoly DB postition to some extent, but why not, it's business, nothing wrong with it.

      I take it you are no Sys Admin or DBA then?

      1. Kebabbert


        I do not always agree with Splitbrain, but in this matter he is correct. The database is the heart of a company, all data is stored there. Without the data, a company is nothing. And you can not just do a heart surgery "with a flick of hand" as you claim. If you really know how to migrate from Oracle to IBM DB2 in a quick and easy way, I suggest you write a book or start a consulting firm - you will be very rich.

        Your post reminds me of the usual IBM FUD "I work at a large bank / stock exchange / biggest company in the world, and we love SPARC, but recently we tried IBM POWER and wow they are cheap and fast. No matter how much we love SPARC we must now migrate to SPARC. Too bad. We really really love SPARC but POWER is just so much better. I advice everyone to do the same. Migrate to POWER, or you will go bankrupt"

        It is just a another variant of the normal IBM FUD:

        "It is easy to migrate from Oracle to IBM DB2, anyone can do it. We love Oracle, but it turns out that IBM DB2 is better and cheaper, and easy to migrate to". Highly dubios.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        SAP systems

        Nope no admin. I don't do SQL since 2000 anymore. It's about the servers used for sap systems. flick of hand means only a couple of months of course thought that would be obvious. Not very many stored procedures when used in sap systems and they are there for each .

        I actually just mirrored my customer (the program manager), who was totally enthusiastic about it. I think that there is something cooking which will replace in my SAP world the relational database in a classical sense, that's why i'm foreseeing that Oracle will not be earning so much out of DB business anymore and they know it. After all SAP sells Oracle quite a lot, if the brewing work fine, DB will be an accessory not a central part of the system anymore.

    2. asdf


      Shh don't go confronting the HP sale drone shill with facts. Granted I pretty much loathe every company mentioned in this article and will never defend Oracle but the dead man walking in the next several years sure doesn't seem to be Oracle's DB business.

  11. SplitBrain

    How very desperate...

    Sour grapes? I think so....

    Just goes to show, even if you are the worlds premier tin pusher, without a decent (or any!) enterprise software offering you are vulnerable to exactly what Oracle is doing. Now they are trying to litigate their way out of the hole they are in. Said it before, I'll say it again, the only way HP can get themselves out of this hole and to compete as a stack provider against Oracle and IBM is to buy SAP/Sybase, they will need to find $50 billion to do that however....which I don't think they have right about now!

    The fact they have taken this long means they must have had their law bods at it looking for any/every angle to litigate with since the original announcement. If their case had any merit at all, they would have come out with their arsenal of expensive lawyers a lot sooner than this.

    No legal action was taken when M$ and Red Hat did the same, because they know nearly all customers run HP-UX on itanium anyway, the vast majority of their HP-UX customers run Oracle, so now they litigate, you can't have it both ways, idiots.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    Really guys - are you seriously taking this at face value?

    Just as we all know the reason Oracle dropped Itanium wasn't the reason they gave, its more than likely that the reasons HP are giving here for these actions are somewhat "veiled" as well.

    If you think the execs at HP are so dumb they think they can "force" Oracle to produce software for a platform, then I guess you have a very low opinion of them.

    This is I suspect about just making it clear to Oracle that they can't expect to get away with this without _any_ repercussions - that just makes HP look weak. So what this is about is showing Larry and Mark there are consequences for their actions and that sometimes the playground bullies find out those they are picking on aren't as defenceless as they thought. *If* this actually plays out as far as a court case and *if* HP won that case, I would imagine it would result in payment of damages rather than any actual reversal of Oracle's decision.

    If HP had made business investments based on agreements with Oracle which they believed to be contractually binding, and Oracle then reneged on those agreements, what are HP supposed to do? Just say "oh well there's several $B down the drain?" I think regardless of the questionable business ethics on Oracle's part here, there appear to be some real contractual issues to resolve.

    And to all those smirking about this... well when you are stuck running Oracle software on all oracle hardware with exorbitant license fees and crap support... I hope you can still laugh

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it time to boycott Oracle

    I'm not a pro boycott person, but with all the things Oracle is doing lately, maybe its time to begin an industry-wide boycott of this company.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    They could do what Dell does with Linux

    Say they offer it, but make it impossible to find it to actually buy it.

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