Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Oracle’s abrupt decision to end support for the Intel Itanium
high-end server platform came as a shock to channel partners and
customers alike, and according to one solution provider, the move
smacks of desperation as Oracle loses market share for high-end Sun
servers.

Bill Loupakos, senior vice president at American Digital in
Arlington Heights, Ill., is one of them. The solution provider, which
covers a five-state area, is both an HP and an Oracle partner. He was
surprised by the Oracle announcement earlier this week.

"We think they are getting desperate," Loupakos told Channel
Insider. He noted that back in February Oracle/Sun announced a "Cash
for Clunkers" program to encourage customers to trade in their HP-UX
servers for Sun SPARC servers. The campaign was laughable, Loupakos
said, because customers are mostly looking to trade in their Sun
servers for something else.

"All the Sun hardware customers are looking to migrate to HP platforms," he said.

And IBM is claiming some of that Sun market share, too, according to
IBM. The company noted that IDC’s Q4 2010 server market share report
said that in the Unix space IBM’s share was at 53.9 percent, gaining
5.9 points of share over competitors. In addition, IBM says nearly 400
customers migrated from competitive systems to IBM Power Systems in the
fourth quarter, including 235 from Oracle/Sun and 135 from HP. There
were nearly 1,200 competitive displacements to IBM Power Systems from
Oracle/Sun, HP and others throughout 2010, IBM said.

Loupakos also noted that his company, which began as a partner of
Digital Equipment Corp. before Intel gained those engineers for its
Itanium line, is currently deep in the sales cycle for Oracle software
on HP Itanium servers with some customers. Oracle’s announcement
regarding Itanium has created confusion and concern for those
customers.

"This is doing nothing but delaying [Oracle’s] revenue," Loupakos
told Channel Insider. "Now customers are skeptical about going for
Oracle."

Loupakos said that Oracle did not provide partners with any kind of
warning about the change in stance on Itanium, and his company is still
waiting for more information on when Oracle will discontinue support
for the platform. In the worst case scenarios, vendors have given at
lease a year of notice for ending support.

"We always like to give our customers a 3 to 5 year plan," he said.  "This makes it hard to do that."

American Digital has between 20 and 30 very large Itanium customers.

"We are going through some damage control here," he said. But he
noted that Intel has just announced two more generations of Itanium.

Oracle’s announcement is "confusing customers and it’s confusing solution providers.

"It seems like we are going back to the old days of hardware that is
either IBM or DEC and there’s no in-between. That’s bad. That’s not
channel friendly at all."