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HP: From Big Iron To Smaller Servers

Business conditions change fast and Hewlett-Packard executives say the company intends to deliver hardware and software to let IT managers respond quickly.

This week, HP is promoting its role in helping more than 100 companies move their business applications from mainframes to a variety of server platforms. Joseph Heasley, CIO of Gates Corp., which makes belts, hoses, and automotive products, moved 42 legacy applications off mainframes to two PA-RISC-based HP Superdomes running an Oracle enterprise-resource-planning program and HP systems-management software.

Gates has 64 processors installed in each Superdome, which can be expanded to 256 processors. Currently, the company is running only 24 processors and will not pay for the additional capacity until it is needed. The company also can migrate to an Itanium-based system using the same racks, Heasley says.

"The mainframe has served us well for many years. But with the velocity of change in IT systems today, we were having a hard time keeping up," Heasley says. "There always seems to be a void between business and IT, so we wiped the slate clean and are going forward now with what's really a business strategy."

HP last week laid out its strategy for connecting software more directly to business processes. Key new software products include OpenView Business Process Insight, which monitors the health of business processes and the impact of IT on those processes; OpenView Route Analytics, which monitors network behavior and identifies failures; and a Management Integration Platform, a program that integrates supply-chain data with customer- and business-management data.