HP-UX customers who arrived at Oracle from HP 3000 migrations wonder if ceasing Itanium support will cost them their new OS. It wouldn't be the first HP operating system that Oracle has helped submerge, according to Terry Floyd of the Support Group.
The company Floyd founded is dedicated to a long HP 3000 lifespan. His son David predicts that MANMAN on the servers could last another 10 years, but the elder Floyd sees an Oracle cutoff as one of the forks down the harder road for MPE/iX.
"I think Oracle dropping MPE was one of the major nails in the coffin," Floyd said after a board of directors meeting of CAMUS, the user group dedicated to MANMAN on both MPE/iX and OpenVMS. That ERP software never made it to HP's Unix, although a rumor in the middle of last decade said its creators were considering such a port. Despite the nail, it was HP's exit announcement that stopped the vendor's 3000 future. But Oracle leaving MPE/iX probably contributed to a perception of a shrinking ecosystem for the OS. No one has made this shrinking claim yet for HP-UX.
Another 3000 icon has weighed in on the impact Oracle might have on HP-UX futures. Birket Foster of MB Foster said in a recent migration webinar he believes a sensible compromise might emerge as HP's customers push back on Oracle's plans.
The Oracle announcement "is largely a red herring," Foster said. "A large part of it is posturing. If Oracle had its way it would be competing only with IBM and the DB2 database with their Sun and Oracle databases -- because HP doesn't have a database at this point. They're just trying to shut out HP from the high-end marketplace."
Foster notes that Oracle has sold more on the Itanium platforms, and reminds us all that "Itanium has a 10-year roadmap. Eight to 10 manufacturers make servers based on Itanium. Oracle will probably end up in the FTC courts over restraint of trade."
Connect's president Chris Koppe says the user group is reaching out to Oracle on several levels, but the group doesn't have a dedicated liaison with Oracle. Connect is focused on HP's enterprise environments, not a third party database which operates with HP-UX, OpenVMS and NonStop.
Koppe and Connect hold out hope that the anti-customer, anti-competitive move by Oracle has more chance of being reversed than the 3000 decision that HP made in 2001. Doing the right thing for customers who could see HP-UX futures damaged seems to be an important motivation -- no matter how that motive worked for the 3000 community. Oracle could shift its policy.
"We'd like to think so, but Oracle might just be playing hardball, saying the dust will settle eventually," Koppe said. "I'm not sure what to expect from them, but I'm hoping that they'll do the right thing by the customers. I would like to think that most companies that size would do the right thing by the customer."
Oracle's support tiers and policies include, at rock bottom, a Sustaining option that eliminates things like
- New updates, fixes, security alerts, data fixes, and critical patch updates
- New tax, legal, and regulatory updates
- New upgrade scripts
- Certification with new third-party products/versions
- Certification with new Oracle products
Oracle makes these all unavailable at the highest support price point. Extended Support is scheduled to end in 2015 for version 11 of the database. Oracle has promised more information about specific environments, first outlined in a Lifetime Support Technology white paper.