Oracle May Cease Support of Popular Linux Distributives Too

HP, Itanium Customers Unsure About the Future

by Anton Shilov
04/26/2011 | 09:35 PM

In a bid to further consolidate its server business in general and mission-critical server in particular, Oracle may in future cease support of popular Red Hat and SUSE Linux operating systems, according to an analyst. This currently seems to be a problem for a lot of customers using Intel Corp.'s Itanium-based systems from HP, who are unsure about the future of Itanium in general and HP-UX in particular.


"There is, however, lingering confusion about Oracle’s willingness to support Red Hat or SUSE, with several clients reporting that their Oracle sales teams had told them that Oracle will not support either of these variants in the future, but only Oracle’s own branded Linux," said Rich Fichera, an analyst with Forrester Research, in a column published by ZDNet.

Recently Oracle said that it would cease to develop software for Intel Itanium processors and will concentrate on creation of applications for its own Sun SPARC- based machines, IBM Power-based systems as well as various x86-based servers. Intel Itanium-based systems are currently available from HP and SGI with the former commanding the lion's share of the IA64 business with its servers running HP-UX. A substantial number of servers powered by HP's version of Unix also runs Oracle software and therefore those, who use HP-UX Itanium-based machines now will have troubles upgrading servers with new software from Oracle.

While officially Oracle said that its decision to drop Itanium support from future programs was motivated by the fact that Intel Xeon processors can easily serve mission-critical applications, it is believed that the move was motivated by the company's intention to improve positions of Sun SPARC servers on the market of mission-critical systems.

Technically, HP-UX can be ported to x86. But it is in question whether Oracle will continue to support it, especially in the light of its questionable willingness to support more popular Red Hat and SUSE Linux operating systems..

In theory, customers not in hurry to upgrade their HP-UX/Oracle DB servers may consider migration to Oracle/Sun SPARC, IBM Power with Oracle software or with IBM's DB2, onto other machines with the SAP software, or onto Linux machines with Oracle software. But with questionable support of Linux operating systems by Oracle, it is hard for many to make a decision. At the end, HP risks to lose HP-UX clients, but Oracle risks to start competing against all the other server and software makers on the planet.