Having been in the database space for the better part of the past two decades, and most recently as the creator of a DevOps for Database tool, I have been following the case between HPE and Oracle very closely.
After five years of litigation, the legal battle between Oracle and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) is headed to court. HPE claims that the company suffered $3 billion dollars in damages when Oracle dropped support for the Oracle 12 database on HP Integrity Itanium-based servers. Oracle claims that HPE’s Itanium chip is an outdated, and therefore unsupportable, technology – leaving the 140,000 customers who run Oracle software on their HP servers behind.
HPE will attempt to demonstrate to the court that Oracle intentionally and actively disrupted Itanium-based server sales in an effort to drive sales to Oracle’s own Sun servers. There may be other underlying factors that lead to the drop in sales of HP servers, however.
According to Gartner, a leading technology research firm, “the primary decline in HPE’s server shipments can be attributed to a global weakness in Windows-based x86 servers, while the decline in revenue was driven mostly by a drop in Risc/Itanium Unix server sales for the period."
New approaches are being taken in the building of database systems, and HPE’s case against Oracle may just be the beginning of their woes. While Oracle has indeed gained ground in the Unix/Risc server market, industry experts see NoSQL as the future approach to database construction. NoSQL is a need-based expandable architecture which uses clusters of comparatively low-powered servers each with low-priced local disc storage.
The switch to NoSQL is leaving the expensive database architectures offered by HPE in a bit of a quandary. Apache Hadoop, an open-source software solution that supports NoSQL servers, has become popular in recent years for their performance optimizing infrastructure that integrates hardware and software in a superior way, delivering optimal performance and support to big data workloads.
While HPE may win their case against Oracle, they may be failing to see the forest for the trees. Oracle is growing, while HPE continues to shrink. If HPE does not adapt, they will become less relevant in the field.