"I thought it was a pretty irresponsible decision" for Oracle to declare an end to Itanium porting, Winston said. The implications of cutting off future versions of Oracle software for OpenVMS-Itanium systems could be grave, because that architecture is used in many critical systems, including stock exchanges, lotteries, and medical-records repositories, he said.
Winston sees no signs that HP wants to abandon Itanium and is confident the company would keep supporting customers for several more years if it did. He welcomed Oracle's reversal and plans to keep using Itanium-based servers in his own environment. But the battle between the vendors may give cause for worry about Oracle on Itanium, he said.
"If I were ... starting up a new enterprise, I would really think twice about betting any money on a platform that's supported by a company only because they lost a lawsuit," Winston said.
Another system integrator that HP quoted last year said he takes Oracle at its word that it will follow through on continued porting. John Vigliecca, chief operating officer at system integrator Dasher Technologies, said Oracle's move against Itanium had made customers who were planning new deployments cautious about using Oracle on Itanium.
Industry analysts also are optimistic.
"All you can really say when a company has been found so clearly in breach of its responsibilities is that you hope that they act like adults and get back to work," said Pund-IT analyst Charles King.
Ray Wang of Constellation Research thinks IT administrators may be forgiving in the end.
"People can understand ... that this was just a lot of eagerness on both ends to make a point," Wang said.