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For the fifth year in a row, IBM servers delivered the highest levels of reliability and uptime among 14 server platforms.

Those are the results of the latest independent ITIC 2013 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey which polled C-level executives and IT managers at over 550 organizations worldwide from August 2012 through January 2013.

Among the high-end mainframe class systems, both the IBM System z and the Stratus Technologies’ ftServer 6310 delivered the highest inherent reliability: both had no instances – 0% – of the most severe Tier 3 outages lasting four hours or more of duration. Among the mainstream “work horse” servers, IBM’s Power Systems recorded the least amount of unplanned downtime, approximately 13 minutes per server/per year. By contrast, some 6 percent of organizations using Oracle (formerly Sun Microsystems) x86-based servers experienced of over four (4) hours of per server/per annum downtime. This was the highest percentage of lengthy Tier 3 server outages among the 14 platforms surveyed.

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The always heated ongoing rivalry between Oracle and IBM, just got more contentious, with the recent news that the National Advertising Division (NAD) has called out Oracle for publishing misleading ads in The Wall Street Journal and The Economist claiming Oracle’s T4-4 server is 2x faster and 66% cheaper than IBM’s comparable P795 server.

NAD, a division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, based in New York City recommended that Oracle discontinue “certain comparative performance and pricing claims” in the national newspaper ads and on the www.Oracle.com website. Specifically, the NAD took exception to Oracle advertisements claim that “Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 system retails for $1.2 million whereas IBM’s P795 high end server costs $4.5 million – an improbable $3.3 million price discrepancy.

The NAD functions as an objective and impartial self-regulatory forum for the advertising industry. In its official determination, the NAD took pains to remain objective. It noted that both the advertiser (Oracle) and the challenger (IBM) produce high quality computer systems.

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Oracle must move quickly and decisively to customers’ anxiety and restore confidence in the database maker’s technical service and support organization – particularly with respect to the company’s Sun Microsystems’ software and hardware assets. The latest independent ITIC/ GFI Software (formerly Sunbelt Software) 2011 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey, polled 468 businesses worldwide found It found that Oracle products received the lowest ratings for the quality of its service and support of any of the major vendors. Users gave Oracle products, service and support mixed ratings.

Three out of 10 organizations rated Oracle products, technical service and support as Excellent or Very Good. A nearly equal number of survey participants – 26 percent gave Oracle’s offerings a Good rating, while 25 percent graded it as just Satisfactory. Nearly two out of 10 of the organizations polled, gave Oracle’s products, services and support a negative rating; with 13 percent judging it Poor and the remaining six percent giving it an Unsatisfactory rating.

Oracle Reliability, Service and Support by the Numbers

The reliability of Oracle’s Solaris operating system and the company’s x86 and SPARC servers remains fairly strong and competitive, though their uptime and reliability do not match the leaders in those categories.

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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.

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“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.

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