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HP, Microsoft take joint aim at Oracle

Hewlett-Packard, which has a lot of Oracle customers, is trying to sell them on Microsoft. Welcome to the vendor wars.

June 9, 2011 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - LAS VEGAS -- Hewlett-Packard says that its customers run more databases and applications from Oracle on its hardware than any other vendor out there does. But if you are at HP's big user conference this week and interested in talking to Oracle, you won't find the company listed as an exhibitor on the expo floor.

But a couple of HP attendees did report seeing a truck with Oracle advertising on it outside the conference. And Oracle is nonetheless on the agenda at the conference. On Wednesday, one conference session was titled "Oracle database migrations to Microsoft SQL Server with HP services."

Welcome to the vendor wars.

Microsoft has had a major presence at this year's conference, the result of a joint $250 million, three-year investment that HP and Microsoft announced last year to improve the integration of their products.

The fruits of that investment include newly announced products optimized for Microsoft SQL Server, including the HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance and the HP Database Consolidation Solution for Microsoft SQL, used for consolidating transactional databases.

As HP officials try to encourage migrations from Oracle to Microsoft on HP hardware, HP is also saying that its Oracle customers have nothing to be concerned about, even as it touts the Microsoft platform.

"They are speaking out of both sides of their mouths," said Allen Allison, chief security officer at NaviSite, a co-location and managed hosting provider with 12 data centers in the U.S. and overseas, who was at the conference.

His firm runs Oracle on HP x86 platforms and its Itanium systems. "I think they realize that, at the end of the day, as much as [HP] loves being partnered with Microsoft, they do have a significant installed base with Oracle," Allison said

Paul Miller, HP's vice president of systems and solutions, enterprise servers, storage and networking, said, "We're going to have the best-performing solutions on Oracle for customers who choose that.

"Oracle does not own the networking technology," said Miller, who added that as networking becomes "more key to scale out architectures, we're going to continue to take their code and outperform them and outrun them."

Oracle said this week that its 11g database running on Sparc Enterprise M8000 Server beats HP and IBM in one benchmark.

HP is also trying to ensure that Oracle users running Itanium have options. In March, Oracle announced that it was stopping development of all future versions of Oracle products on Itanium but said that it would continue to provide support for existing versions of Oracle products running on Itanium.

"To be clear, there is still five to six years of support for Oracle on Itanium, so customers don't need to jump now -- most customers are looking at this as long term," Miller said.

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