HP, Veritas Team on Virtualization, Clustering

Hewlett-Packard scraps its planned porting of Compaq's Tru64 operating system to HP-UX, instead choosing a faster, less costly technology merger with Veritas that it says will improve server utilization.

In a move some regarded as inevitable, Hewlett-Packard has abandoned its planned porting of Compaqs Tru64 operating system to HP-UX.

The original approach, which would have integrated Tru64 Unix Server and TruCluster technology into HP-UX, was scrapped this week in favor of a faster, less costly technology merger with Veritas.

HP now plans to integrate Veritas Storage Foundation Cluster File System and Storage Foundation for Oracle RAC with HP Serviceguard. The integrated products will be key elements of the HP Virtual Server Environment (VSE) for HP-UX 11i and will be offered as software bundles on HP-UX 11i v2 by next fall, replacing plans to incorporate TruCluster technology and Advanced File System to HP-UX 11i v3.

The change in strategy will accelerate the delivery of virtualization and clustering capabilities on HP-UX 11i v2 for Itanium 2-based HP Integrity servers by about one year while improving server utilization, said Mary Ellen Lewandowski, HP-UX marketing manager for business-critical servers.

Lewandowski also noted that the move eases transition for Tru64 customers and supports customer evolution from AlphaServer and HP 9000 to Intel-based HP Integrity servers running HP-UX.

Although HP is putting a positive spin on the switch, some believe HP really had no choice.

"Given where they were in terms of the development schedule and how much money they were willing to spend to do it, it just didnt make sense [to go with the original plan] any longer," said Gordon Haff, senior analyst and IT adviser at Illuminata Inc. of Nashua, N.H. "You can look back on it and see that it was obviously harder than they thought."

Given that a change had to be made, Haff said he thinks Veritas is a reasonable alternative. "It could be considered a technically inferior substitute, but its one they can do fairly inexpensively and quickly," he said. "Given the place HP was in, this was a good move."

The alliance gives HP a strong relationship with Veritas and access to virtualization clustering software sooner rather than later while buying the company time to decide what it wants to do on the server front—all positives, said William Hurley, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group of Portland, Ore.

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The partnership also gives both companies a tremendous ability to leverage existing strategic relationships, providing the potential for more synergistic benefits over time, Hurley said.

The move also is a good one for Veritas, which now can expand its footprint and the range of platforms its Cluster File System supports and gain a larger customer base. But more importantly, "it takes off the table a future competitor that would have potentially been technically stronger than Veritas," Haff said.

And for the most part, HPs existing customer base shouldnt be too concerned about the change of plans, according to Hurley.

"It gives them a path to migrate and doesnt force them to make major platform or data architecture changes," Hurley said.

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