HP Kicks off LinuxWorld

LinuxWorld started off on an enterprise note Tuesday, when HP's Peter Blackmore took the keynote stage to talk about Linux's latest moves into top-tier deployments.

SAN FRANCISCO—LinuxWorld started off on an enterprise note Tuesday, when Hewlett-Packard Co.s Peter Blackmore took the keynote stage to talk about Linuxs latest moves into top-tier deployments.

Blackmore, vice-president of the enterprise systems group for Hewlett-Packard, said that HP is as much a user of Linux as it is a solutions provider.

"Linux is really becoming an absolute part of our lives, and its becoming mainstream," Blackmore said.

In HPs most recent win, the Sandia National Laboratories, in Livermore, Calif., said it would buy a 512-node, 1,024-processor cluster in New Mexico built around HP Proliant servers containing 3.06-GHz Xeon processors. Sandia will also deploy 128 more nodes, or 256 processors, to a California site. These clusters will provide much needed computing capacity across the entire laboratory, Sandia said.

HP also debuted several new management improvements to its Linux deployments, including the ProLiant Essentials Rapid Deployment Pack Linux Edition, which includes specific enhancements for blade servers. HP also rolled out a new NodeManager and application monitor for Linux, allowing a network manager greater control over the network. Also announced at the show was a Linux-specific version of HPs OpenCal media server software on Linux, with special ties to VoiceXML.

In the hardware space, the company said it had begun offering a new high-performance cluster, the LC series, which ships directly from HP and offers customers a range of configurations from 16 to 128 nodes using HP ProLiant DL380 and DL360 servers. Customers can select the number of processors, memory, storage and software options, the company said. Prices were not available.

HP, itself, uses 3,200 Linux servers inside the company, mostly for routing the 2 terbaytes of mail its roughly 40,000 employees receive daily, Blackmore said. HP also uses a 250-node cluster for testing electronic design system (EDS) applications, and 100 more servers are used for DNS purposes.

HP has 5,000 personnel on call to service its customers, based in 80 customer educations and 35 customer response locations around the globe.

Blackmore showed a video of several HP customers endorsing the operating system, including DreamWorks and ATG, a business-to-business auto trading provider. Banc of America also has shifted to Linux on HP, providing an important financial customer. But Unilever offered the strongest commitment, pledging to shift its commercial systems from UNIX to Linux between 2006 and 2007.

British Airways also recognized a 76 percent performance improvement shifting to Linux running on Intel processors "from its previous implementation", Blackmore said. "Theyre absolutely delighted with it," he said.