Hewlett-Packard Co yesterday unveiled a new range of Unix entry-level servers, aimed at increasing its share in the low-end market segment currently dominated by Sun. The new HP 9000 L-Class boxes, which come in two versions, the L1000 2-way and the L2000 4-way machines, are aimed at a market comprising internet service providers (ISPs), start-ups […]
Hewlett-Packard Co yesterday unveiled a new range of Unix entry-level servers, aimed at increasing its share in the low-end market segment currently dominated by Sun. The new HP 9000 L-Class boxes, which come in two versions, the L1000 2-way and the L2000 4-way machines, are aimed at a market comprising internet service providers (ISPs), start-ups and mid-size companies, explained Bill Russell, executive vice-president and COO of enterprise computing at HP.
In all three cases, the company is pitching them as entry-level solutions for the internet age for customers in the developing e-commerce and e-business market. It is packaging them as part of what it calls its ‘e-services’ offering.
HP wants to guarantee the new boxes’ ability to handle mobile data traffic. To this end, it also unveiled yesterday an alliance with Finnish telecoms equipment manufacturer Nokia Oyj, whereby the latter will be porting its platform for the wireless application protocol (WAP) environment onto both HP’s Unix and NT servers (see separate story).
The L-Class fits in the company’s Unix product portfolio above the A- and D-Class machines and below the N- and V-Class ones, competing directly with Sun’s E250 and E450 servers. As such, said Peter van der Fluit, VP of enterprise marketing, alliances and channels for HP in Europe, it is designed to redress the current situation in the market, where, in his geographic region, Sun has 50% compared to HP’s 7%, far lower than the 20%-25% market share it boasts worldwide
It also represents what Janice Chaffin, VP of HP’s business critical computing (Unix) division, called a ‘technology refresh’ for low-end Unix at the company. Van der Fluit admits that HP did, for a while, assume that NT would dominate that segment in a short space of time. That has proven not to be the case, however, so that the Unix division, which is a distinct group from the NT-based NetServer one, now gets a new lease of life.
Regarding operating systems for the boxes, Patrick Rogers, system solutions market manager for the business critical computing (BCC) division, said that HP will continue to pursue both Unix and NT, though in different divisions, arguing that the best strategy is to have the two groups compete for business. The L-Class launch is a perfect example of this and the result might appear to be what he admitted could be a little cacophony in the marketplace but he argued that the company needs to be strong on both fronts. As for the latest contender in the server space, Linux, Rogers said that HP will offer Linux, but wouldn’t recommend it for mission-critical applications. The L-Class series actually starts shipping in volume in mid-October.
Given the target audiences, HP expects at least 50% of L-Class business to go through channel partners, said van der Fluit. He added that it also believes these partners will start to evolve into application service providers and e-service providers in their own right, building up HP server farms to do so.