Home > Uncategorized > To switch or not to switch? And if to switch then what, a hardware platform or Database? And if to go with the second choice then should it be some “rare” one, to have more “fun”? Oh, no, rather not…

To switch or not to switch? And if to switch then what, a hardware platform or Database? And if to go with the second choice then should it be some “rare” one, to have more “fun”? Oh, no, rather not…

Continuing the series of interesting points of view on RDBMS-related topics.

Argument about Oracle announcing desupport of HP-UX (Itanium) by Fernando Nunes

And my comment on that:

–===================================================================–

Interesting point. Can’t agree on the conclusion for, mainly, two reasons, though.

For one, hardware upgrades are not that “big of a deal” – it has to be done every once in a few years anyway, so there’s nothing wrong with switching from HP-UX on Itanium to Unix(Solaris)/Linux on whatever other platform; there are plenty.

For two, – resources. “Sad but true” – there is a kvazillion resources which come up for SQL Server and Oracle from just googling practically anything in regards to either of these RDBMSs, and… almost none for Informix. It seems like the product’s been completely abandoned or, otherwise, left behind very profoundly. Well, apparently it is quite a story to get  free  ODBC Informix drivers for Windows 7 64-bit – there are simply none out there. There are some third-party ones, but that’s another story. You would think there must be any RDBMS-provider ones. Or if there still are, then why is it such an arduous task to find any?

Too bad ’cause even from reading bits and pieces of info I managed to find about Informix, it seems like some really good db, with great performance among other advantages.

As both Oracle and later SQL Server DBA – never came across Informix before in 10 years of my experience anywhere, i.e. lots of Oracle, lots of SQL Server, quite a few MySQLs, some DB2 here but… no Informix. So, if the popularity and widespread is not there, who would want to switch to Informix rather than switch just to other hardware, which will have to be upgraded (read changed) anyway? On my strong opinion, Informix, as for now goes exclusively as upgrade for any existing projects, any IBM products db backend or any new projects which are run by people who come from Informix side. Can’t really think of anyone planning to migrate to Informix all over a sudden, especially from such main players as Oracle and SQL Server.

There is also a third reason. It’s very much subjective yet seems pretty accurate as soon as many agree on that: IBM support is probably the worst and most definitely one of the worst out there. Dealing with IBM is totally pain in the neck. Even judging by my personal experience with Cognos – before IBM bought it, Cognos Support was awesome, now it’s as bad as it can get. IBM for many and many years has been consistently proving itself as highly bureaucratic, awkward and sluggish company. Ending up with IBM being the major, and kind of a single capable resource out there to address any Informix issues, is the factor to reject the very thought of going with Informix, no matter how great RDBMS it is.

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  1. June 6, 2011 at 17:10

    Hello,

    I appreciate your comments. I answered you on the original article. I believe most of your comments are opinions, and we diverge on them (naturally).
    But some points must be clarified. I’m not sure what you mean by “free ODBC drivers”, but assuming “free as in beer” you can find them with “informix odbc drivers site:ibm.com”. I believe this is by any means “hard to find”.

    Kind regards.

    • June 7, 2011 at 09:05

      You are right; it was just my opinion, for sure. May be somewhat subjective, but still bearing quite a common sense. Drivers thing was just a small example, not really that relevant – just something which came to my mind after spending some time figuring out what-how-why goes on around them. But the main point is not there, it’s really in these aspects:

      1. Why would you mess with switching to much less commonly spread RDBMS, even if it’s as competitive as it could be (which I don’t know, really; but I don’t know Informix, so I can’t judge)

      2. Why would you switch to the system which has much less presence in internet resources, such as forum boards, posts and articles in electronic magazines, blogs at the end of a day. I understand that Informix now belongs to IBM and there might be tons of materials devoted to this DB in IBM, but that’s exactly the next point:

      3. IT’S PAIN DEALING WITH IBM SUPPORT. It really is.
      Let’s imagine for a second (actually it is quite realistic) that someone doesn’t like dealing with Microsoft and/or Oracle Support. Could this person still get around it relatively easily? Oh yeah, most definitely! With rather rare exceptions. Why? Because knowledge about these two RDBMSs is not contained, concentrated in some single corporate portal but rather spread everywhere on the Net in hundreds, if not thousands different sources, one better than another. At the bottom line that’s exactly what makes the product popular and long lasting. Because it’s not about management, – it’s about us, IT pro’s, having our own preferences, which, in turn, push this or another product forward, make it popular and often just the industry standard. Because in the end of a day it’s us who will be dealing with it day by day.

      You work for IBM and it’s natural that you see things very differently from anyone who doesn’t work for this company. When it comes to me personally, as one of those “outsiders” I would do anything in my power not to go with any of IBM products. Because I know what it is dealing with IBM Support whenever it comes to problems of any kind. Even their web portals and knowledge bases are… not that great to use at all. Once again, this is strictly my personal attitude, however Informix being present much less out there in all meanings, which makes it harder to work and support it in all aspects – is nothing else but fact.

      Getting back to the very argument. You propose switching to Informix VS staying with Oracle but switching to new hardware. To me it would be very illogical move. Especially given the reason – saving on just another server, which will have to be “upgraded”, another words changed sooner or later, and rather sooner than later, anyway. Hardware costs are definitely the factor, yet definitely not that big of a deal nowadays. The associated costs and complications from moving to another RDBMS, especially the “rare” one, with its further support would be much, much higher.

  2. June 7, 2011 at 12:34

    Just coping the context of Fernando’s and Eric’s reply over here
    —————————————————————
    Fernando Nunes said…
    Hi,
    I appreciate your comments. Naturally I do not agree with them and that is of course a subjective position. Nevertheless I think some points you make need to be clarified because either I dind’t understand you or they’re wrong. Forgive me if it’s the firts. Let’s see:

    – Yes. Hardware upgrades tend to be easier than software upgrades. My point was, do you want to keep doing business with a company that discontinues products simply because it doesn’t want to compete? Assuming, you do, there is no point in continuing. And of course, you may think this is a legitimate commercial move. I find it hard to accept. But I’m biased of course.

    – Having lots of links on a google search doesn’t mean you get good information. Just a few days ago while working on a project with another IBM product, I needed info regarding Oracle database. The most useful, and the one I used came directly from Oracle site. And yes, I got a ton of results on google…

    – Your observations regarding the ODBC Informix drivers puzzles me. Do you mean “free as in beer” or “free as in speech”? It you’re looking for beer, follow the downloads link on this site, or google for “informix odbc driver download site:ibm.com”. The first non-sponsored link will get you there. Sincerely, I think I didn’t understand you. Is this “hard to find”?

    – As for the IBM support quality, I must say I’m biased (again). I work with a lot of people regarding Informix and other IBM products. Most cases I open regarding Informix are though. And I get very good results. It may look presumptuous but I admit I’m not the average Informix “client”. On the other hand my quality standards are very high. I have a very clear position regarding software support in general and it’s not good. I base this opinion mostly on my experience working and discussing with customers. I hardly see any who is completely satisfied, and I rarely see one that really demands quality.

    In any case, if you have further comments feel free to contact me directly (which doesn’t mean I won’t accept comments here of course)
    I took most of your comments as your personal opinions, but couldn’t leave some aspects without clarification since they could look as “facts”.

    Regards!

    June 06, 2011 10:05 PM
    BeGooden said…
    Dear distas,

    I will make it short, because Fernando developped very well:

    It is true that it has been difficult in the last 10 years, the Informix roadmap has been kind of unclear for the public world, or even inexistant. Some scavengers really took benefit of this situation.

    Nonetheless, who has been navigating in the Informix culture at this time has seen a fully dedicated R&D, with a fast and continuous evolution of the product. This evolution is now speeding up because IBM has understood that they have the best ORDBMS on the market.

    I agree that practically no advertizing has been made by IBM on Informix for I guess internal reasons, and this has unfortunately left field for others.

    Now talk to an Informix user and you will be amazed how he loves this product, and how he will never change to another unless forced to doing this by hierachy.

    Regarding the IBM support, did you have an personal experience with the IBM Informix support? I guess not. I did and I can testify that the Tech Support members know and understand the product in depth and are extremely efficient in their assignments. I would not say this about some other DB vendors…

    And last, talking about support, just compare how many dbas a company needs to manage an Oracle infrastructure against an Informix infrastructure… Or compare how many years an Informix instance stays up against how many months ( days) for others…

    Make your own mind based on your experience with Informix, not on what you have heard or not heard about it. Just try IDS 11.70 and really compare it.

    Well, not so short at the end.

    Eric, not an IBM employee 🙂

  3. June 7, 2011 at 12:35

    And, like Tom Kyte says: “we said…”
    ————————————————————
    Fernando,

    My point was, do you want to keep doing business with a company that discontinues products simply because it doesn’t want to compete?

    So, you seriously call it “doesn’t want to compete”. Really?? Let me ask you this: compete where exactly? In some minor market segment which wasn’t supposed to be there at the first place? In a technological segment ever declining from the very beginning it came out? An elephant doesn’t feel the dart pierce, neither it can be full with just couple of bananas, kind of rotten ones too. It’s doesn’t hurt Oracle because there is really nothing to compete for, it’s not even the matter of some competition, but the way HP and IBM try to make it appear, which comes to nothing else but long-running personal dislike of ex-SAP CEO which left to HP some time ago and now tries to bite Oracle. Well, let the guy brake his teeth trying.

    HP and IBM, as well as some of their kind followers throw stones at Oracle for moving away from Itanium as a dirty measure, Oracle’s attempt to propagate SPARCs. Well, they just couldn’t possibly come up with more silly and irrational blame. Is it only two platforms on the market, either HP-UX or Sun SPARC and that’s it? Nothing else, right? So, indeed, if Oracle moves away from Itanium, its clients will simply have NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO SWITCH TO SPARCS. Seriously?! You got to be kidding me. This entire thing is so ridiculous, I don’t even want to bother commenting on this… Simply because I feel kind of stupid elaborating on “2 x 2 = 4”. Let this be my response: any IBM- or HP-86 architecture. There is quite a choice of platforms from both HP and IBM – the ones who is bashing Oracle right now. So, what kind of Oracle’s “dirty games” are we talking about? None, really. At least in this situation. Itanium is just another unsuccessful technology, doomed to disappear, and Oracle just took the very logical and very expectable step in this direction, simply because there are plenty of other more successful alternatives. As simple as this, the rest is just political hysteria of the ones who feel bad of losing their unsuccessful product.

    As for “legitimate” or not “legitimate”, it is totally legit if a company doesn’t want to compete in one or another market segment – there is nothing even slightly wrong with it! It’s business, not a sport! Open any business text for the first year Business Admin undergrad degree, – the very first paragraph will tell you any business is about earning money for the owners and shareholders, if there are any. So, I’m not sure what’s your point here. Once again, business is not supposed to play by some commonly established in a general society “rules” – that’s nonsense!

    Let me put it in a very simple way in just a single sentence: as far as any business doesn’t brake lows by intentionally cheating and tossing by possible means it’s auditing and stakeholders’ reports (Wait, isn’t this exactly what that Informix ex-CEO did? Oh, yeah, right – that’s exactly the case!), and, of course, is not engage in some “hard-core” criminal activity, this business is doing complete alright. It’s not about “want to compete” vs “doesn’t want to compete”, it’s all about moves. So, yes – it is completely, totally and absolutely a legitimate commercial move. So, yes, there is no any point of continuing.

    The main point is rather still here: Informix is much less popular, has much less presence in the market BY ALL MEANS, which makes it considerably intense to work with, as RDBMS, than working with mainstream systems, such as Oracle, SQL Server, and… even MySQL. Yes, even MySQL! BTW, you can propagate the situation with Informix vs Oracle/SQL Server with as MySQL vs Postgre and … can’t even recall now what couple of other distributed under GNU ones are. Well, I hope you got the point. I think it’s pretty explicit and there is really nothing more I could possibly add to this. May be only this.

    As for IBM Support quality, once again, your word is just as good as mine. And mine is just as good as yours. I had an awful, I’d rather say disgusting experience, because this is what I exactly ended up with – I got disgusted from it, with IBM Support. I wish it never bought Cognos. Never.

    And again to the bottom line of your argument. Informix is not popular. It has much less knowledge base than any other database. Your experience of finding things around from the corporate portals, like you mentioned in your example, is not even close to my experience. I do find, say 90 out of 100 useful stuff from googling it. But once again, it’s subjective. As much as my equally bad experience with IBM knowledge base, which I find awfully organized.

    BeGooden,

    By some scavengers you must be meaning Oracle, of course. And may be Microsoft too, I’m not sure. Well, your attitude towards this situation puzzles me even more than Fernando’s view on how an “honest” business is supposed to operate… Well, let’s imagine for a second the following situation. You’ve been driving in a car on a multi-lane highway with very few other cars driving more slowly and, in their majority on the rightmost lanes. However, there is one car which has been going all along side with you, challenging you, racing you, getting on your nerves. All over a sudden you see it started to go sides, smoke brakes from under the hood and this “rival” car slows down considerably, and, say, pools over. What would you do in this situation? Interesting and somewhat challenging question, isn’t it?

    Well, in the general society, as to me, I would expect anyone, including you and myself to pool over, back up and ask the driver whether (s)he is alright and needs any help. But then again, it’s just me. You would probably agree that there are very many people who, in this situation, would just go not even glancing aside and neither even thinking of doing what I just mentioned. And… well, you really couldn’t blame them for this. If you think carefully and be honest enough to yourself, could you really say: “what a bastard, didn’t stop!” You can’t, correct? Why? Because in the end of a day, this is their right. There are not obligated to do this, so you can’t judge them and, further, blame them for this.

    Propagating this situation on business world, makes your point simply not applicable as such. There weren’t any scavengers because it’s simply not the matter of case. Period. Seriously, what do you expect, Informix started to go down… BTW, could you remind me why exactly? Oh, I know – dirty gimmicks of its ex-CEO, isn’t it? And I very well know about the team of 12, including the head of the team, who leaved to Oracle. But here again – they were OO and those advanced data types, including special, developers. Well, that’s definitely some funky stuff and definitely did add some competitive advantage to Oracle, but… not a huge one for the obvious reasons – development involving and utilizing OO and advanced data types/structures still makes up very minor part of today’s systems because the industries where these technologies are applicable at are rather few: vehicle control of whatever kind in logistics/transportation, industrial and other civil engineering construction (bridges, pipes, power lines, etc.), aerospace, etc. What I’m saying here – while there are some, rather few places which utilize Oracle’s features which it might have initially gained from “scavenging Informix” (I’m glad you didn’t use the word “raiding” – thank you!), it’s a tiny portion of entire Oracle’s market, the rest of which is relational. Just another reason for “scavenging” not to be applicable here at all. It simply is not to the point.

    Further,

    the best ORDBMS on the market

    .
    Like I said, it might, or might not, – I can’t argue because I don’t know Informix, especially from OO-side (Oracle OO – it’s pretty good, does whatever needs to be done if you go that route) to judge that. But here again – OO is used in total minority of industries and applications. So, I agree, let’s assume for a minute Informix is the best ORDBMS out there. It has the lengthiest history with OO, it was the first, put a lot of effort, which by the way contributed a lot to Informix “success” in constantly loosing RDBMS market, according to, if I remember correctly, Informix CEO who changed that “dirty” one. But then again, can it and most importantly, will it contribute to Informix high-rise? Nope, it won’t. It might grow and slightly take away from Oracle in ORDBMS market share, but then again…

    I agree that practically no advertising has been made by IBM on Informix for I guess internal reasons, and this has unfortunately left field for others

    .
    Strongly disagree. Advertisement or, to put it your way, the lack of such, can somewhat contribute to non-fame, but it’s the market and micro-economy lows which do the most part of the job in this. Another words Informix is not “out there” because the lack of advertisement, it’s not out there for all the other reasons: mischief conduct of one (or more??) of its CEOs, wrong direction, wrong strategic decisions, wrong… you name it. Comparable to the said, poor advertisement is just a very tiny part.

    Now talk to an Informix user and you will be amazed how he loves this product, and how he will never change to another unless forced to doing this by hierarchy

    This is very true for any other RDBMS users: Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc. The same thing. Does prove, neither shows me me nothing.

    As for me having issues with IBM Informix support – yes, I never had. Because I never came accross Informix up till recently, not mentioning dealing with it from technical side. But I did with Cognos, in after IBM bought it, in contrast with before. I mentioned that several times – in my blog, in response to Fernando’s comment and just in one of the passages above. I think it would be just, if not more, than enough by now. Used Oracle Support a few times, there are awesome, haven’t yet used Microsoft Support, so can’t judge.

    And last, talking about support, just compare how many dbas a company needs to manage an Oracle infrastructure against an Informix infrastructure… Or compare how many years an Informix instance stays up against how many months ( days) for others…

    I would love to compare, but… There is no Informix out there, and the only one I know is supported by IBM team, so… And I don’t believe that supporting Oracle after 8i, which is three generations ago version, going back to mid-90s, very beginning of 2Ks (11g most current, 10g, 9i, 8i) takes any more resource than supporting Informix. And regarding the instance uptime, you must have confused it with SQL Server, may be, and too, a 2K version of it. Quite on contrary, claiming Informix to be all that automated and stuff makes me think it rather lacks many features other databases have. Simply because RDBMS is a very complex system to start with. Any highly complex system can, and will eventually, have many things which might go wrong, or, otherwise, will require certain tweaking. I’ll stress this: tweaking, not fixing. Therefore, if I hear that there is some “miracle DB” which just “does it all by itself”, to me that means only and only that it’s simply far less sophisticated than others, which (OMG!!!) require some maintenance.

    Make your own mind based on your experience with Informix, not on what you have heard or not heard about it. Just try IDS 11.70 and really compare it.

    Well, thank you kindly for the offer, but I think I’m going to pass on that.

    Regards,

    Stan
    Neither Oracle, nor Microsoft employee

  4. June 7, 2011 at 18:57

    We could go on forever… I’ll try to keep it short(er):

    – You’re missing a very important point regarding the “want to compete”. The market I talked about is not the HP-UX/Itanium market. It’s the hardware selling market. By discontinue the platform they’re really trying to kill it, since they have a large share ot Itanium customers running their software. And you also miss another point: Are you sure they won’t do it again against other(s) platform(s) in the future? Please go through the links I posted and see what the users are saying. Of course it’s easier to change a box and you’ll do it sooner or later. The point is how many times are you ready to be forced to do it? And what do you expect if Oracle hardware becomes just about the only platform to run it’s software? People around the world see the “mainframe history” ang get scared

    – Then you mention this is just pure and common business. Right. That’s why I say they don’t want to compete (in the hardware market). And that’s why I say it has nothing to do with the costs of supporting a platform. It’s plain business to break a competitor (on the hardware market). We agree on this one.

    – Regarding Informix being less popular, it’s a fact. But it’s also a fact that it works well on the HP-UX platform. And in case you read the original article carefully, you’ll see that there are 140.000 customers who choose HP-UX/Itanium. Are they wrong? For sure. They should have choose AIX 🙂
    But the point it that they choose it and there is a possibility, slight one, maybe, who knows, they would like to keep working with it

    – You missed another point. I’m also a big fan of Google searching. What I wrote is that several times I search there and I end up on corporate portals/documentation. Hell… I even use Google to search on the IBM site 🙂

    – The experiences with technical support from different vendors will of course vary. But your claim that Oracle support is “awesome” is quite frankly hilarious… You need to go out more. Start by the Oracle newsgroups on Usenet where even the people who are more active and helpful bash the Oracle support. That talk to some users about the Metalink transition. To end it, search for “VendorRate” reports. If you still find some, you’ll be able to compare the users view and ratings… Oh yes… And you’ll see Informix support there… just look at the top two positions… as for Oracle try to read bottom up. For clarification, VendorRate was an independent entity that collected user inputs regarding this kind of things. They went out of business due to lack of funds (these days independence has costs). You may still find 2009 reports. Don’t believe there were any beyond that.

    – You seem very well informed about the famous Informix CEO. But you miss a lot of information about the product itself. And that history has around 15-20 years… I believe most people already recovered… 🙂

    – Just teasing… Informix is not “out there”. Usually it’s “in there”. It works. Doesn’t raise too much attention. That’s one of it’s stronger points, and at the same time the cause of it’s biggest weakness. You’ll find it in large and small companies. Many times you’ll find it embedded (if you use a certain network equipment, you could even have a couple of instances inside). You can also find it in Smart Metering solutions. You’ll find plenty of it in retail industries. In Telcos, etc.

    – Just curious… What version/product of Cognos are you using?

    • June 8, 2011 at 13:16

      Hi Fernando,

      I very well see where you go about Oracle’s competition on a hardware market – you are somewhat right yet completely wrong in the end of a day. How is that?

      Oracle has worked hard since its very formation back to 1977 to make the product available on as whole variety of platforms as possible. I don’t think they’ve been struggling so hard for almost three decades in order to start killing the portability now. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly Oracle’s portability, the fact that it works on literally any platform, may be except MAC (yet I heard about cases when people did it, just for fun, and it worked!), is one of its biggest competitive advantages. Probably the second right after Oracle RDBMS itself. Why would Oracle plan to kill a chicken which lays the golden eggs?? In fact, why would any company do that? As a huge mistake – yes, that’s a possible hypothetical scenario, but I’m still pretty sure Oracle is not taking a suicide route.

      Our positions regarding the matter are completely adverse. While you believe Oracle has discontinued Itanuim support in order to kill it and thus pushing 140K users towards buying Oracle’s hardware, what I think is Oracle just made a proactive move which, probably, it should have done quite a number of years ago because for one – Itanuim was a looser technology from its very beginning, for two – it is going down! Not because some company like Oracle is hunting it down (I, honestly, just can’t stop grinning here) but because Itanuim’s weak nature. Yes, I understand, it works, it has many thousands, let it be even many hundreds of thousands devoted followers and yet… It’s the doomed, week technology which is over soon.

      It’s very easy to exaggerate and speculate about Oracle ending Itanuim’s support presenting this completely logical and common sense move as some ominous doing, but there is nothing to that except, like I said, completely logical, expectable and, actually, good couple of years late move. Besides, Oracle is not forcing anyone to buy SPARCs from it, go with any other non-Itanuim platform which Oracle doesn’t own – please, be my guest. And yes, I don’t think Oracle will be after any other successful-from-the-beginning architecture because that’s exactly what might weaken them to almost death, compared with how they are doing now. Something very much similar to what had happed to Informix years ago. Like I already said, I’m pretty confident Oracle will go on this suicide mission.

      As for our, apparently, very different experience with Oracle vs IBM support… Well, this is what it is. I could, of course, go on the web and start browsing “vendor rates reports” and what not, but that won’t tell me much. Oracle is quite a complicated, if not to say a very complicated system, which requires lots and lots of time, effort, brain and patience to be put towards mastering it. But that’s exactly why it’s such an ingenious product, which gives you literally limitless options and opportunities to whatever you want with it with very minimum workarounds, if any at all. I mean the limit is there, but that’s strictly your knowledge of the system which is the limit, not the system itself. Therefore, you really have to know what you’re doing when calling Oracle Support. Yes, I mean it – YOU HAVE TO KNOW ORACLE (DB) WELL ENOUGH BEFORE DEALING WITH ORACLE SUPPORT. And if you don’t, but do expect Oracle Support to do all the job for you – it’s not gonna happen. And most probably, that’s exactly the reason Oracle Support might be “down there” in whatever independent user reviews. But to me it’s completely irrelevant. Because I come from the other, opposite side. Guys in Oracle Support not once and not twice actually helped me not to just solve the problem, but gave me advices and hints which made things work even better than I would even expect.

      So, reviews and ratings in this particular situations are barely of any good. Consequently, that wasn’t the case with my very bad IBM Support experience when it came to Cognos – it wasn’t because I didn’t know Cognos well enough and couldn’t understand what was going on when being told things. Instead, it’s a hugely hierarchical, stall, highly bureaucratical system of running things IBM has. It took me a week or so of time and some ridiculous number of phone calls, with some multiple “service request numbers” to just get some lousy key to access that part of Cognos “IBM-now” knowledge portal. Which, by the way, was much, much better organized when Cognos belonged to itself. Have you seen “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”, the first one? In the last minutes of the movie, there is a scene where US customs officer asks the guy, I guess, a standard question: “Anything to declare?” And the guy goes: “Yes, never go to England!” The same here, just not England and not “go to”, but never deal with IBM, if only you are put in the position being totally required to do so. But if you have a choice… So, here you go. And I really do not care about any of those reviews, simply because they can’t make anything different FOR ME, can they?

      Regarding the matter of various RDBMSs’ popularity. Oracle’s popularity talks for itself. Unlike SQL Server, which has become very well spread too for all over these years, especially since 2005 version came out, Oracle became what it is today for completely different reasons. I would even say those reasons were opposite.

      SQL Server has ever been “cheap and easy”, plus much more aggressive marketing, which is rather obvious – where would Microsoft be without its ever competitive not so much the products’ quality but prices and marketing… As for the “cheap”, it’s obvious, and “easy” links to anything from relatively easy to use (developers can manage this RDBMS with just a minimum training), training time span is much, much lower than Oracle would require to get to the same level of expertise, GUIs are great, which adds to it because the management likes pictures and all other visual cool stuff, which, once again, Microsoft is unbeatable with, and to whatever else you could put under that “easy” wing. Well, the weakest point of SQL Server, as for now, is that while it can do pretty much the same as Oracle does on the large scale in the majority of situations, there might arise a particular situation when SS hits the wall and there you have to start dancing with workarounds, which, in turn, more often than not is doable but is a complete mess the same time.

      As it goes about Oracle – it’s completely different. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s complex, requires lots of time, effort, patience and cognition until it starts unfolding itself. But when this happens… You can’t get enough of its awesomeness. And I talk about Oracle DB only, as really the only Oracle’s stronghold, but the best one out there. Oracle GUI sucks (but when you’re not used to it from the very beginning, you don’t care at all about it), Oracle Middleware kind of does too, but the DB(!) really takes it as far as you only can think it can go. And that’s exactly what makes Oracle unbeatable, in despite of all it’s rather small and inconsiderable disadvantages.

      To conclude all this. Oracle is not after killing it’s support of Itanium as a measure of making Oracle/Itanium customers to buy hardware from Oracle. To me it sounds like some completely made-up conspiracy. You can search for a black cat in a dark room for whatever time you’d like, but the trick is – there isn’t any black cat and the room isn’t dark. Moreover, Oracle is not the only one, and not even the first one to announce de-support of its product for Itanium platform – Microsoft and Red Hat have done so earlier. What it means in the both Microsoft/Red Hat and Oracle cases – they all just have stopped developing software for Itanium – as simple as that. Do you think Microsoft and Red Hat have done so trying to… do something (I’m sorry, can’t really think what it might be) with Itanium users too? Or, on your opinion, in their case it is quite alright, as soon as they don’t market hardware, but if Oracle does such a thing – that’s for sure “to make Itanium customers buy servers from Oracle” simply because Oracle has it. Don’t you think it’s quite a wicked logic? Kind of double-standard too. Of course, it’s very easy to blame it all on Oracle, just because you can, the “right reason” is there, isn’t it, right?

      What I say, once again, there is no any guarantee that any now-Oracle/Itanium user would go for SPARC, instead of going for any other platform, which doesn’t belong to oracle. How exactly in this situation Oracle “pushes” customers to buying its Suns? Oracle consultants might be trying to talk you in for doing this but that’s a common practice for any business – talk you in to buy from them what they want you to buy for their benefit, not what you want to buy in your best interests. But everyone thinks for himself and makes the decision. It’s that simple.

      Say, you need to change the server now, yes – because it’s being discontinued from support. (In the end, this happened multiple times throughout the history of computing, Oracle is not the first, neither the last one to do this.) Oracle suggests you buy SPARC, you don’t like the price, tech specs or a combination of whatever; it doesn’t matter what. You go with HP, IBM, Acer, whatever else is there – who stops you from doing this? Not Oracle, at least.

      Further, you really think Oracle will keep discontinuing support of other architectures. I say – should this be true, Oracle will lose so much from it, it might even kill it, in a sense of massive migration towards other RDBMSs. I don’t believe Oracle’s management has “suiciders” to do this. Hence, expecting Oracle to go that route… simply goes against any common sense. Answering you question: “how many times are you ready to be forced to do it?” (change the box) – None after it’s done with Itanium.

      As for “And what do you expect if Oracle hardware becomes just about the only platform to run its software?” Like I said somewhat twice by now – it’s not going to happen. Actually, this very assumption makes me laugh. Comparing of Oracle to Mainframe story doesn’t have anything in common – Mainframe was the only way computing had been done before PC and PC-servers where introduced. Afterwards, Mainframe simply remained as a completely different product on a market of its own, kind of thing. It’s not that Mainframe “shrank down” from multiple platforms to a single one, is it? Thus, comparing Mainframe history with some possible direction Oracle might go… Once again –not even somewhat relevant.

      And for the last. Informix is in there – cool, I’m really glad. Honestly, no irony. I know that Informix is a good RDBMS, it has it’s market, has it’s applications and let it be. All I’m saying, and that’s exactly what brings it back to the very argument, I can’t think why would anyone migrate from Oracle on Itanium platform to Informix on Itanium just to save on platform and be sure Oracle won’t do “oops, I did it again” thing. To me, it would be some very, very wrong decision. Probably, the worst out of all the possible ones.

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