Oracle: HP was eyeing Sun as Itanium exit

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Oracle: HP was eyeing Sun as Itanium exit

HP leaks its own batch of documents in response.

Oracle on Wednesday released 12 documents as part of its ongoing Itanium dispute with HP that allegedly show HP was concerned its HP-UX servers were on a "death march". 

The servers ran HP's Unix operating system (HP-UX) on Intel's Itanium platform.

HP apparently had launched “Project Blackbird” which shows it was eyeing Sun in February 2009, two months ahead of Oracle’s US$5.6 billion acquisition, as part of a plan to soften the inevitable end of Itanium, the documents purportedly show.

The release came after a statement by HP pointing out that Oracle may be required to continue supporting Itanium in accordance with an agreement that was struck before its acquisition of Sun in April 2009.

Oracle in March last year said it would stop developing for the Itanium platform, which triggered the ongoing litigation between the one-time partners. 

“HP-UX is on a death march” due to the “inevitable Itanium trajectory”, HP said, according to the Blackbird document.

Sun's Solaris and ZFS file system would accelerate HP's move to x86 industry standard hardware. 

The slides also show HP executives apparently concerned at being locked out of the “software IP stack” that its partners and rivals had. 

Cisco had IOS, Microsoft had Azure, NetApp had OnTap while VMWare at the time was building out its own stack. HP would on the other hand be stuck in the commoditised hardware stack.  

If project Blackbird came off it would make enterprise servers a “two horse race” between Solaris and Windows, according to the documents.

In networking, Cisco had “dependencies on Solaris and would now be dependent on us [HP]”, while HP could use Solaris to bolster its networking capabilities. 

It’s not clear if HP included Oracle in its equation from the short brief, which ends abruptly with an analysis of the outcome for HP if IBM bought Solaris. 

Other emails Oracle released allegedly show senior executives at HP’s Business Critical Systems worldwide group concerned that “the regions” didn’t think the group knew how to deal with Intel.  

HP responded with its own batch of emails countering Oracle’s claims that the Itanium game was considered over by 2009. 

An email in 2010, purportedly written by then-HP chief Mark Hurd, shows he thought it was “excellent news” that Intel was more aggressive than "EVER" about Itanium.   

The main intent was to illustrate that Oracle was out to damage HP’s BCS division, All Things D reported along with HP's document release.

The documents also purported to show Oracle baulking at releasing a security patch for one of its applications running on HP-UX, one month ahead of its announcement it would stop developing for Itanium.    

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