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After spending almost a year and a half telling the world that HP's Integrity servers are doomed, Oracle has changed its message. In the face of Hewlett-Packard's win in a lawsuit against Oracle, the database vendor looks like it will back off the warnings and continue to service the future of HP's Integrity users. Those users include customers running HP-UX, a frequent choice for HP 3000 migrators.

GreenlightA second phase of that year-long court battle begins soon. A jury will decide what damages to award HP, if any, in reparations for that 18-month campaign against Integrity. When a preliminary decision went HP's way on August 1, Oracle continued its campaign, promising to appeal Judge James Kleinberg's ruling in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. The ruling became final August 29. As of a Sept. 4 statement, Oracle has dialed back the doom.

Previously, Oracle announced that it would stop developing new versions of its software on Itanium microprocessors. For example, that meant version 12c of the Oracle database due out in early 2013 would not be available on Itanium.

However, a judge recently ruled that Oracle has a contract to continue porting its software to Itanium computers for as long as HP sells Itanium computers. Therefore, Oracle will continue building the latest versions of its database and other software covered by the judge's ruling to HP Itanium computers. Oracle software on HP's Itanium computers will be released on approximately the same schedule as Oracle software on IBM's Power systems.

IBM and HP are Oracle's leading competitors for non-Linux business server installations, so the "as soon as IBM gets it" timeline might be a fresh way to drag development feet. Oracle hasn't started to campaign against IBM's Unix and OS400 platform hardware, Power. However, you can still find Oracle's pot-shots about Itanium on the corporate newsroom webpages.

As recently as six weeks ago Oracle said "we became convinced that Itanium was approaching its end of life" and therefore pitched the anti-Itanium case to shared customers of HP servers and Oracle databases. "HP's argument turns the concept of Silicon Valley partnerships upside down," a statement from August 1 still reports.

Customers of HP-UX servers might feel some relief that Oracle has relented. The database is the most widely installed DB on HP's Unix, including some sites which moved from the Ecometry app on MPE/iX to the Ecometry Open version of the ecommerce programs. Oracle's departure from Integrity's futures was labeled an attack on HP customers, according to the Connect user group and its 2011 president Chris Koppe.

Non-Oracle solutions have been popular with 3000 migrators, however. Eloquence databases have a work-alike IMAGE-3000 mode, and Marxmeier Software has been installing the product across Unix, Windows and Linux customer sites, as well as serving ISVs such as Summit Technology's credit union vendors. That product which was once called HP Eloquence -- so close was the relationship to the HP customer -- has been offered to migrators since the earliest days of the 3000's transition era.

PostgreSQL, another alternative to Oracle's database, was being talked up by HP during the past year of the Itanium battle. For its part, IBM sells an Oracle alternative with deep roots in mainframe-sized enterprises, DB2. For the time being these two Oracle competitors will maintain their places as Oracle partners in the database market.

OraclevsItaniumHP sued Oracle for breech of contract after a March 2011 Oracle statement shutting down Integrity development. Relations got testy between the two companies after Oracle hired HP's ousted CEO Mark Hurd in September 2010. The settlement between the companies about that hiring included a clause to continue Oracle's support of Integrity. Oracle battled that language but lost, after presenting thousands of pages of internal HP documents that detailed the planned demise of Itanium (click on the graphic at left for a screen capture of Oracle's website details).

HP remains steadfast in its plans to keep HP-UX on Itanium exclusively. The only window of escape for the Unix environment seems to be in a port of its leading features to a hardened version of Red Hat Linux. HP's called that effort Project Odyssey.