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Dell, HP, IBM and Stratus Technologies won high praise from corporate users for their prompt and efficient after market technical service and support in the latest ITIC 2010-2011 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey.

The results came from a broad based survey that polled organizations worldwide on the reliability, security and technical service and support from among 14 of the leading server hardware platforms and 18 of the most widely deployed server operating system distributions.

As we said in an earlier discussion, each poll elicits some surprising and unexpected revelations. In this survey, users reserved their highest encomiums and most critical barbs for the server hardware vendors – both in terms of product performance and reliability and the service and support they receive from their respective vendors.

Memo to Larry Ellison: The Roman Coliseum halted gladiator combats around 435 A.D. SAP has thrown in the towel and has no interest in continuing a court battle. Hewlett-Packard executives are refusing to accept service on your lawsuits and HP’s newly named chief executive Leo Apotheker is laying low, presumably dodging your increasingly vituperative verbal assaults. You’ve got no takers for the bloody, bare knuckles brawl you crave. What does that tell you?

It should signal an end to the Circus Maximus sideshow but it won’t.

No one desires this much attention or sticks their chin out spoiling for a fight like Ellison. And in an industry like high tech that’s overflowing with giant egos, that’s saying something. It’s true that Ellison’s antics always make for reams and reams of good copy. Reporters calling for comments on the latest developments don’t even bother to suppress their mirth. Enough is enough, though. The Larry Ellison Show would be more amusing if corporate customers weren’t getting caught in the crossfire.

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.”

– African proverb

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp.’s decision to settle the lawsuit over Oracle’s hiring of Mark Hurd as co-President after weeks of public wrangling is welcome news to everyone but the corporate attorneys.

But don’t expect the two vendors to just pick up and resume their former close partnership. It got very ugly, very fast. And the reverberations from Hurd’s hiring to HP’s recent appointment of Leo Apotheker, as the new CEO effective November 1, will be felt for a long time. HP’s decision to hire the German-born Apotheker, who is also the former CEO of SAP, is to put it politely a big “take that, Oracle!” Forget the surface smiles, behind the scenes Oracle and HP have their ears pinned back, teeth bared and swords sharpened as they gird for battle.

This was not the typical cross-competitive carping that vendors routinely spew to denigrate their rivals’ products and strategies. The issues between HP and Oracle are very personal and very deep. The verbal volleys Oracle CEO Larry Ellison lobbed at HP in recent weeks exposed the changing nature of this decades old alliance. It is morphing from a close, mutually beneficial collaboration to a head-on collision in several key product areas. Ellison’s words did more than just wound HP: they also opened up deep fissures in the relationship which are as big as the San Andreas Fault.