The announcement that Oracle and HP have teamed up to offer a specialized hardware systems for Oracle’s database sounds a lot like days gone by when Minicomputer companies long since gone had proprietary hardware and operating systems, and nothing was compatible with other systems. Oracle has spent years promoting itself as hardware independent so that one could get Oracle’s products and load them on existing technology. This may be the beginning of new proprietary systems.

Remember Minicomputers?

Most IT professionals and system buyers remember companies like DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), DG (Data General), and Wang each of whom offered proprietary hardware, operating systems, and applications. Generally Minicomputers were multiuser computers systems that supported less than about 200 terminals, and in today’s server environment it is difficult to even image. However, over time and advent of Microsoft server software and various flavors of unix the manufacturer of hardware became less important. As a matter of fact in many technology contracts the actual manufacturer of the hardware is not specified, rather the processor speed, size, and storage may be listed and when the purchase takes place the best product in the market is what is purchased.

Where are we headed?

It seems that Oracle’s new marriage with HP may be directing IT shops to be stuck with hardware systems that they may not want, or limit their options when new technologies hit the market. Not being machine dependent has been very liberating in contract negotiations for new applications, however this new Oracle/HP marriage may only be a headline that portends the future of IT.

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