Oracle's Ellison Kicks Some More Sand In HP's Face

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Oracle's Exadata pipeline is nearing the $2 billion mark, and that's causing Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to puff his chest up a bit. OK, a lot.

In Oracle's second quarter earnings call Thursday, Ellison predicted that HP's server business will run into trouble in the coming year due to the superiority of competing servers from Oracle and IBM, which can both leverage hardware and software expertise.

"We think IBM’s hardware and software technology is quite competitive. While HP’s servers are slow, expensive and have little or no software value add. That makes HP extremely vulnerable to market share losses in the coming year," Ellison said in the call.

Software represents a gap in HP's technology portfolio, and new CEO Leo Apotheker has made it a priority to address this weakness. Ellison said HP is "particularly vulnerable" in software and noted that IBM has plenty of software in its arsenal. This, Ellison said, is why Oracle and IBM will soon be fighting to be top dog in the server market.

The Exadata product line, which combines Oracle software and Sun hardware in a tightly integrated solution, has emerged as one of the crown jewels in Oracle's portfolio. At Oracle OpenWorld in September, Oracle co-president Mark Hurd described Exadata as "the most successful new product Oracle has launched."

Ellison said Oracle's release of three new high end servers in the past year -- Exadata, Exalogic and SPARC Superclusters -- and the fact that they're engineered to run Oracle's database software will help Oracle further cement its leading position and leave HP in the dust.

"We expect overall that our new generation of Sun machines, Exadata, Exalogic and SPARC Superclusters will enable us to win significant share in the high end server market," Ellison said in the call.

Ellison touched on many of the same themes earlier this month when he unveiled new SPARC-based servers, a SPARC-based version of Oracle's Exalogic Elastic Cloud appliance and Solaris 11. Oracle's new SPARC Supercluster server is capable of 30 million transactions per minute, compared to 10 million transactions per minute for an IBM P7 server cluster and 4 million transactions per minute for HP's Superdome server, according to Ellison, who suggested it be renamed "Turtledome".

As it did in the wake of Ellison's last trash talking session, HP responded Friday by claiming that it's the world's top provider of enterprise servers. In an emailed statement, HP pointed to the 25 percent growth its Enterprise Storage and Servers segment saw during HP's fiscal fourth quarter. HP also had a little trash talk of its own.

"Larry Ellison bought a money-losing business that had steady market share declines for years, and which still ranks at the bottom of the market … Sun customers are running to HP in droves because they recognize we deliver superior technology, performance and pricing," HP said Friday in an emailed statement.

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