HP Itanium takes another step down
HP Integrity family has taken hits from a wide range of software vendors ranging from RedHat, Microsoft, Oracle and now it appears that SAP is also getting on that bandwagon at last. In a blog called People, Process and Technology, http://peopleprocesstech.com/2012/06/05/why-the-hp-superdome-is-as-dead-as-a-dodo/, John Appleby wrote about the fact that SAP Business Objects is no longer supported on HP’s Integrity systems. As I don’t spend that much time with Business Objects, I was not aware of this, but was able to quickly verify that this was in fact correct by checking SAP’s PAM (Product Availability Matrix) which clearly states support for a variety of OSs including Windows, Red Hat and Suse Linux, AIX and Solaris with no mention of HP/UX. There is no such issue with Netweaver as of yet, but at this point, it is a matter of when, not if, SAP will also pull support in this area.
Systems based on HP/UX systems have provided very strong infrastructure solutions for SAP customer landscapes over many years. Those customers have come to expect high end features such as capacity on demand, partition isolation at a hardware level, very high scalability, a proven track record for handling very large database environments, reliability where availability in measured in the 99.9%+, robust high availability packages, the ability to add or remove processor boards without having to take down partitions or the system, a strong ecosystem of systems support software from the vendor and third party suppliers and a very extensive community of peer companies. Considering the inevitability of HP UNIX systems demise, current HP customers will have to figure out the best path going forward. As Solaris is declining almost as fast as HP/UX and Exadata is a very poor solution for most SAP environments, as noted in my previous blog entries, customers are left with only a few choices. They could consider Microsoft, but few large customers do which means they would be in an exclusive and largely untested large systems environment. Linux is another option, but once again the population of customers at the high end in the space is extremely small and many of the above characteristics are not available on the Intel platform. Only IBM Power Systems and its big brother, IBM System z, offer the sort of characteristics that HP customers have taken for granted for a long time.
In fact, for each of the above, Power Systems provide “plus” versions, e.g. instead of designing for 99.9% availability, they are designed for 99.99% availability. Instead of offering scalability to 128 cores, Power Systems scales to 256 cores and with DB2 PureScale, Power Systems can scale out well beyond those numbers. Partition isolation is available in the world of Power, not just for CPU level partitioning, i.e. npar/vpar. This is just a few of the areas in which IBM Power Systems deliver “plus” capabilities.
Although my peers from System z would say they offer “plus” capabilities over Power Systems, an assertion that I will not deny, most HP/UX customers feel that either Linux or another UNIX solution such as AIX are the only choices that they are willing to consider. In other words, the most logical and lowest risk path for large SAP customers moving forward from HP/UX systems is with IBM Power Systems.