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HP Targets Migration From IBM

HP is rolling out their new HP StorageWorks P9500 Disk Array and enhancements to its Unix portfolio for Integrity systems, HP-UX portfolio, promoting tighter integration between its hardware and software as part of its Converged Infrastructure strategy. The intent is to improve application service delivery by reducing complexity and improving resiliency, but the announcements should appeal more to HP's existing customers, especially those on the venerable 9000 platform, rather than those on IBM or Sun/Oracle's installed bases.

According to HP, the P9500 increases the amount of data managed per administrator, doubles power efficiency and cuts data center floor space requirements in half. Enhancements to the HP-UX 11i v3 and Serviceguard Solutions portfolio for Integrity reduce manual configuration efforts by approximately 93 percent with the HP Serviceguard Extension for Oracle e-Business Suite and speed migration from IBM AIX to HP Integrity with the HP-UX Porting Kit for AIX, which automates up to 95 percent of the steps required to complete the porting effort. It also consolidates legacy applications running on HP 9000 to HP Integrity systems in days, as opposed to months, leveraging HP-UX 9000 Container virtualization technology.

Charles King, principal analyst, Pund-IT Research, says the
announcements are primarily aimed at HP customers. "The older HP systems
are getting pretty long in the tooth so want to make it as easy and
attractive to migrate to newer Integrity systems." King doesn't think much of the IBM portion of the announcement, suggesting that HP should focus more on Oracle's Sun installed base. "Frankly I think Sun offers a bigger target." He says IBM's RISC platform, especially the Power7 systems, but even the Power6, "are so clearly superior to HP technology. I think the opportunities for poaching customers from Oracle will continue for the foreseeable future."

From a hardware perspective, the market is definitely moving away from Unix. According to IDC, server factory revenue was up 11 percent year over year in the second quarter, but mid-range servers were up only 6.9 percent, while enterprise demand showed a 23.6 percent drop. While Unix shipments are expected to pick up for the remainder of the year, the research company reports the x86-based platform continues to gain market share.

Microsoft Windows-based hardware revenue was up 36.6 percent, while Unix revenues (26.3 percent of the market) were down 7.2 percent. Linux was up 30 percent, representing 16.8 percent of the market. Even though HP is a dominant player in the server market, King is pessimistic about Itanium's future. "Microsoft has stepped away from developing Windows solutions for Itanium, and that means one of HP's biggest data center partners is no longer interested in that segment."

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