HP and Oracle build more bonds

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp. strengthened an already tight partnership Monday with a deal to ensure that the two companies' respective hardware and software platforms work well together and that their services organizations also play in unison.

Part of the agreement between the two vendors will bring the Oracle9i database to HP's Itanium servers running the HP-UX operating system by year end. HP and Oracle have also formed a new program that provides customers with technical information on how best to install and run Oracle9i Real Application Clusters (RAC) across HP's entire hardware line.

Paul Otellini, president and chief operating officer for Intel Corp., announced the deal during a keynote Monday here at the OracleWorld conference, which runs all week. Otellini was working to drum up support for Intel's Itanium chip, which the company hopes will compete with high-end processors from Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp.

Oracle's support for HP's Itanium servers could provide a much needed boost for the newest part of HP's hardware line. The company started selling servers this year based on the second generation Itanium 2 processor from Intel and has been working to bring software makers on board to support the new chip. The Itanium processors' new instruction set requires software makers to make massive changes to code that was designed to run on existing RISC (reduced instruction set computing) chips and others from Intel.

Still, Oracle has vowed to get Oracle9i out the door for Itanium servers running HP-UX in the next couple of months and then follow with releases for the Linux operating system and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows .Net Server 2003 in early 2003, said Brian Cox, worldwide product line manager for HP servers.

The two companies are also working to make sure customers can get Oracle's Oracle9i RAC clustering software up and running across HP's panoply of hardware. Customers can now receive sample configuration guides and installation documentation for building a cluster with RAC, said Conway Snyder, senior director of global platform partnerships at Oracle. The program will cover HP servers running HP-UX, Tru64, Linux, OpenVMS and Windows.

This agreement should come as no surprise, since Oracle uses the Tru64 clustered file system in its RAC product, Conway said.

To help link all of the new technology offerings, HP and Oracle will provide joint monitoring services for their top-tier customers' data centers by combining two sets of remote monitoring technology.

HP's OpenView management software will now be able to tap into Oracle's Remote Diagnostic Assistant (RDA) tool. This will allow both HP and Oracle support workers to view customer configuration data and make any needed updates to systems. HP's Device Unreachable Detection and Notification (DUDN) tool will also work with Oracle applications and notify both HP and Oracle support staff if a server fails.

"This improves how quickly we can resolve problems for our customers," said Todd Reece, manager of mission critical services for HP's premium support customers.

HP currently has five customers that have the new monitoring technology running, Reece said.

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