Since Oracle dropped their bombshell on HP and Itanium, I have fielded multiple emails and about a dozen inquiries from HP and Oracle customers wanting to discuss their options and plans. So far, there has been no general sense of panic, and the scenarios seem to be falling into several buckets:
So what are these enterprises planning on doing regarding their server technology? The majority are planning to run their environments for some additional period of time while they look at alternatives. Only two of the clients I have spoken to are in what I would call a “panic mode,” and in both cases it's due to the announcement of termination of Itanium support coming at the end of the life cycle of their current installations and just as they were planning for major upgrades of HP servers and Oracle and other software. These two companies are, quite frankly, in a bind, and must find an alternative within the next 6 to 12 months.
However, lack of panic does not mean complacency. All current HP customers are considering options that boil down to three options, some of which they are pursuing in parallel:
Customer emotions are running high around this event. Every client that I have spoken to feels like they have been directly attacked by Oracle, and a common thread running through all of the discussions I have had is “How can I move forward in a fashion that does not reward Oracle for this behavior?” The pragmatic reality is that most clients do not have any short term choice – the option to stay with HP-UX and run Oracle for a period of time and the option to move to Linux both reward Oracle. However, Oracle has primed the pump for users to consider a migration to Windows/SQL server, an option mentioned by five of the clients I spoke to, and for SAP customers, Oracle has created a group of customers who will be receptive to any attempts by HP and SAP to promote an “Oracle-less” solution.
As I noted in my previous post on this topic, the competing UNIX vendor that appears to be positioned to exploit this situation is IBM. IBM can easily run the Oracle workloads on its POWER servers, and has a viable option in DB2 UDB for migration from Oracle. There is a risk that Oracle can do the same thing to IBM that they did to HP (after all, any logic about relative CPU volumes that they applied to Itanium versus x86 is certainly applicable to POWER), but I think that they will not do so in the near term if at all for a variety of reasons, possibly including fear of a real customer panic and real customer loss to IBM, which, with its DB2 offering is not as defenseless as HP.
So, enough of my opinions. I would very much like to hear your take on this situation. What are your plans if you are affected, and what are your opinions if you have the luxury of being on the sidelines for this upheaval? I have created a Forrester Community discussion for Oracle versus HP, so please weigh in.