This eWEEK: May 12, 2003
Gibson: Its Darwin architecture hints at HP's threats from higher and lower forms of IT life.How would you like to have an adaptive enterprise? Hewlett-Packard is betting that most customers will choose the obvious reply and answer yes. There is a dark side to the HP message, though, embodied in its choice of the name, Darwin Reference Architecture, for its framework for creating business-process-oriented IT. Adaptation was, of course, critical to Darwins theory of evolution; species that failed to adapt became extinct. HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina should know something about it, since the threat of mutual extinction drove last year. From a Darwinian viewpoint, the new HP is threatened by hostile life forms both higher and lower on the food chain. Above, there is IBM, flexing its IBM Global Services muscle with the addition of PwC Consulting, not to mention a full line of enterprise products, a development environment, collaboration software and management software. From below lurks Dell, which gobbles up everything that falls into the pit of commoditization.
Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett said HP and IBM are the only two vendors that present a credible "organic IT" vision. What DNA does HP have that will give it an edge in the struggle for existence? "We think HP has a slight lead because of the Utility Data Center and storage virtualization," said Gillett, in Cambridge, Mass.