Hewlett-Packard Co’s gearing up for another assault on the low- end of the Unix server market dominated by Sun Microsystems Inc with a new series of A-Class systems which will cost less than $5,000 at the entry-level. The systems, due by year-end, are thought to use the forthcoming PA-RISC 8500 processor and will be targeted […]
Hewlett-Packard Co’s gearing up for another assault on the low- end of the Unix server market dominated by Sun Microsystems Inc with a new series of A-Class systems which will cost less than $5,000 at the entry-level. The systems, due by year-end, are thought to use the forthcoming PA-RISC 8500 processor and will be targeted at Sun’s large ISP customer base. Up to 22 A-Class servers can be fitted into a rack. HP says plans to sell them aggressively over the web. In addition to A-Class HP will later this year introduce new mid-range Unix servers, the first systems that will be board-upgradable to Intel Corp’s 64-bit Merced processor. At the high-end a 32-processor version of the current 16-way V-Class Unix server is due by year-end running using the 8500 and performing more than 100,000 TPC-C transactions per minute in some configurations. It isn’t board-upgradable to Merced, however a new high-end Unix server to supersede V-Class next year will be. It’s not clear whether this system is the Merced-capable Superdome originally touted as V-Class’ replacement and not due until 2000 (CI No 3,305), or an additional series, perhaps using PA-8700 or another follow-on, which will fill the gap caused by Merced’s delay. Although HP has previously indicated the next version of PA, the 8700, would likely be its last, Bill Russell general manager of HP’s Enterprise Systems Group has left open the possibility that HP may now offer a further member of the PA family to cover for Merced’s delay. Watch this space even beyond this , he said. Russell says HP is committed to ship PA-RISC systems for a minimum of two years after Merced is introduced. That also applies to HP’s proprietary MPE-based HP 3000 servers, which next month are going to get a major re-positioning as vertical industry solutions. Russell says that Unix rather than Windows NT is the natural solution for companies downsizing plants, workforces and the number of applications in use. The competition is mainframes in this space, not NT, and the group’s entire focus is on beating-out Sun. HP’s Unix servers will offer five minutes of network, database and applications downtime a year by the end of 2000 compared with 4.3 hours now.
Changing partner relations
Russell says Fiber Channel-based storage area network solutions from HP are coming, once it gets its suppliers lined up. He says that contrary to current speculation it has no plan to ditch its storage reseller arrangement with EMC Corp. It is in the throes of changing its current business model with EMC however. Russell says it’ll cause less disruption than the speculation. HP, which also OEMs storage from Data General Corp, says it will continue relationships with both but that in future it expects more HP intellectual property to show up in the solutions it resells from both companies. Indeed, Russell says HP is about to change its relationships with many current partners. HP’s Verifone credit card terminal business now lives in Russell’s ESG, an indication, he says of how HP is now gearing up for e- business. ESG is currently working on four applications solution bundles with Microsoft for use on the NT-based NetServers; messaging, ERP, retail and customer delivery. Later this year, HP will introduce software that will enable users to do so-called unattended printing, where a users does not need to sit in front of a PC or a printer to direct output. It expects it to turn up in all kinds of applications and promises it’ll begin another quantum shift in how printing systems are used.