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HP, EMC cozy up to Oracle

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It's Oracle OpenWorld, and everybody wants to be Larry Ellison's frienemy. That's only fitting considering that Oracle's chief executive officer and co-founder is certainly the IT industry's poster boy for frienemism. Hewlett-Packard and EMC have professed their loyalty to various Oracle products at the event, as many others will do in front of the 35,000 attendees to the show this week.

According to Doug Small - director of marketing for HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers group, which makes and markets all of HP's servers and storage - more Oracle software is deployed on HP iron than on any other brand of systems, and HP is "significantly ahead" of any other IT platform vendor when it comes to pushing Oracle wares. (Even Sun Microsystems, soon to be part of Oracle). Small added that HP and Oracle have some 140,000 common customers in the enterprise, but did not know how many HP enterprise customers there were or how many Oracle customers were out there in the world so El Reg could draw the Venn diagram for you.

At Oracle OpenWorld, HP is talking up some templates it has created for deploying the PeopleSoft ERP stack from Oracle atop its BladeSystem Matrix commercial clusters, which were announced on April 20 in the shadow of Oracle's $7.4bn acquisition of Sun Microsystems that same day. The Matrix setup combines HP's blade servers, storage, and various system management tools that were either designed in house or came to HP through acquisitions to create what the company has called "a push-button data center."

The secret sauce is a graphical templating environment that allows system admins to point and click to tell a Matrix cluster the basic topology of an application setup, and then the Matrix Orchestration Environment does all the configuration work to actually provision the hardware (servers, networks, and storage) and software for the application and install it according to the best practices in the template.

HP has already delivered templates for the SAP ERP software stack as well as for Microsoft Exchange messaging servers, and today, it is rolling out PeopleSoft templates (running atop Oracle's 11g database) for Matrix in a three-tier architecture (that's database, application, and presentation tiers).

The PeopleSoft implementation does not make use of the Real Application Clusters extensions to the Oracle database to cluster for performance or high availability, but rather uses the replication software inside HP's EVA disk arrays to allow for failover and restarting of databases and applications running on the blades. (Scaling is horizontal on the Matrix, unless customers want to layer on RAC).

According to Nick van der Zweep, director of virtualization and product management for the Insight management tool software, HP is working on Matrix templates for Oracle's Siebel and Oracle Enterprise application stacks as well. No word on when these will be delivered. All of these templates are free, by the way, although the application, middleware, and database software licenses are not bundled into the Matrix box.

Van der Zweep was not able to talk about how well the Matrix blade setups have been selling, but did give some background stats on how some of the underlying technologies that went into the Matrix system. HP has sold over 1.6 million blade servers, and has over 1 million ports sold of its VirtualConnect I/O virtualization switches for the BladeSystem machines. In the past couple of years, over 1 million licenses to Insight Dynamics Virtual Server Environment (VSE), the x64 and Itanium virtualization hypervisor management tool, have been sold. Van de Zweep added that virtualization has really taken off on the HP-UX platform, and that the VSE tools are now deployed on about half of the Integrity boxes that HP currently sells.

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