Hewlett-Packard is using the celebration of World Environment Day June 5 to tout its servers as alternatives to IBM's mainframes.
HP officials are saying their Itanium-based NonStop and Integrity servers and industry-standard ProLiant systems are the better environmental choice over mainframes, saving on power and cooling costs as well as floor space.
"People are finding that mainframes are very power-hungry," John Pickett, mainframe alternative program manager for HP's Enterprise Storage and Server marketing, said in an interview.
HP's push comes less than a week after IBM introduced new services and financial incentives designed to entice users of HP's and Sun Microsystems' Unix-based systems onto its own System z mainframes, particularly on the Linux platform. IBM officials say about 150 HP and Sun customers have migrated onto the mainframe platform over the past few years.
It also comes as the mainframe platform continues a resurgence that began almost 10 years ago, as the Internet bubble began to burst. Analysts attribute much of the success to the work IBM has done to expand the kinds of workloads that can run their System z systems-such as Linux and Java-through the use of specialty engines. IBM also has also released System z mainframes aimed at midsize enterprises.
Unisys in May rolled out new additions to its ClearPath line of Libra and Dorado mainframes, and CA, in kicking off its Mainframe 2.0 initiative, has unveiled a host of enhancements to its mainframe management software.
However, despite the renewed interest in mainframes, the economics around them make them difficult to justify, HP's Pickett said. Comparing an IBM System z10 with a high-end HP Integrity Superdome can save an enterprise 42 percent on power and 50 percent in floor space. The HP system also costs about an eighth of an IBM mainframe, he said.
Pickett pointed to TTX, which provides railcars and associated services to railroads, is almost finished with its migration from its IBM mainframe to HP ProLiant systems. The company, which runs a fleet of 210,000 railcars, has seen a 69 percent reduction in its server footprint, 44 percent in cost savings and 50 percent lower TCO.
Pickett said HP has seen about 250 IBM mainframe users move over to its Itanium and x86 servers, which are powered by chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.
HP offers a number of programs designed to make it easier for mainframe users to migrate off the platform, including services around applications, incentive programs around the NonStop platform, a way to compare costs associated with mainframes and HP systems, and financing and leasing programs from HP Financial Services.