December 01, 2011
HP starts to suggest an Oracle alternative
It's come to this: Unix managers who are wondering, like Rosen Marudov inside HP's support operation, what's going to replace Oracle on HP-UX are getting an answer. And the reply is not, "hold onto your hat for a friendly outcome of that lawsuit against Oracle." Marudov noted on the LinkedIn HP-UX Users forum, "There should be a program for replacing the Oracle products running on HP-UX. I cannot see any efforts in that direction."
Steve Shaw, HP Canada's Chief Technologist, suggests, "There are many alternatives, yet one that is relatively minimal risk is to use EnterpriseDB. It has the benefits of open-source (uses Postgres) with an Oracle compatibility layer, so it is a straight replacement. It's not for every situation, but where you have custom code and are only using the Oracle database, this is a great way to drive down costs while maintaining your Integrity/HP-UX/application environment. Check it out at www.enterprisedb.com." More than six years ago, there's Shaw (above) depicted at a user group presentation talking about "HP's corporate strategy for hardware and operating environments including roadmaps and capabilities."
There are other ways to go to replace Oracle in a strategy. Michael Marxmeier told us last month that customers once bought his Eloquence database as a stepping stone to Oracle. There's not much stepping going on anymore. But if an HP Unix customer is trying to move an Oracle-centric homegrown application, HP believes there are still databases to that can step in. The real work in such a plan shows up when HP-UX sites have home-grown code -- the very kind of programs the sites did a "lift-and-shift" operation upon to get away from their HP 3000s.
Project Odyssey is on at HP, a migration that Bob Orton, a Unix support manager at SourceDirect, defined as, "Odyssey: 1. A long wandering or voyage fraught with peril. 2. Any long intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest -- see Hewlett Packard."
Among comments like "I hope the customers are mature enough to understand this," there's a belief that moving HP's Unix advantages to Linux on x86 won't have a negative impact on the Integrity server line, or the future of HP-UX.
HP's Shaw added, "I agree that customers with legacy/home-grown code may be reluctant to change. Hence why HP-UX/Integrity will be around for years to come -- and with a wide variety of database choices to pick from, they don't have the risk or expense to port to another OS platform."
Then there's talk of Mimer's database for the OpenVMS customer at HP as an Oracle replacement. Those folks aren't even part of the Odyssey; HP expects the VMS folks to make do with Integrity/Itanium upgrades for years to come. "I would highly recommend Mimer over Oracle," said Jamie Edgar at Savant Ltd. "It handles complex cluster-wide environments very well." Clusters are essential to the VMS experience, but Mimer isn't a solution aimed at any HP Unix site.
Linux is a migration option for target apps that run on HP's Unix today, Shaw noted. "I do believe that most ISVs today have a certified Linux option for their applications and software," he said on LinkedIn. "Today customers need to choose between different infrastructures for the different OS deployments. Project Odyssey will help their decision because regardless of the OS, they can get a mission-critical experience in a common infrastructure that was previously only on Unix."
HP tried this kind of thinking when it pulled the plug on its HP 3000 futures. The company assumed everybody would flock to HP-UX while replacing HP 3000s. When the dust settled seven years later, the vendor said it'd lost half of the 3000 customers to other vendors. Before the plug was pulled, there was advice to choose different OS environments for differing projects.
Linux on x86 is offered by a score of hardware-software suppliers, and HP doesn't even have to be involved unless a customer needs some of those HP-UX special features. Rather than announce a migration for its HP-UX customers, HP is just showing its Unix users a light away from HP's OS business. HP's not creating its own distro of Linux to make the HP-UX magic appear. It will be delivering its R&D to RedHat and SUSE, hoping to keep something with an HP badge running in any HP-UX shop moving away from Integrity.
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