HP: Linux Pain Points Need to Be Addressed

HP points to a Forrester Research study in 2005 that showed lack of support, immaturity of products and the lack of applications at the top of the list of problems.

CUPERTINO, Calif.—While Linux is almost in the mainstream, there are a number of pain-points for existing and potential customers that need to be addressed, says Christine Martino, the vice president for HPs open source and Linux organization.

Addressing the media at an event at its campus here July 17, Martino pointed to a Forrester Research study in 2005 that showed lack of support, immaturity of products and the lack of applications at the top of the list.

HP used this type of data to look at what it needed to do to address this customer pain and make the experience better for the user, which it did by offering them choice, integration, service and support.

When HP surveyed a group of its Linux customers, it found that about half of them bought support from the company, while the other half went elsewhere, she said.

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HP, with 6,500 dedicated Linux support staff globally, wanted to reduce the number of its customers buying support elsewhere, so it looked at how its support calls were resolved.

Data for Linux support calls made to HP in 2005 showed that 75 percent, or 36,000 calls, were resolved during the first call (level 1).

Some 23 percent or 11,100 calls were resolved at level 2, with 1.5 percent or 720 calls resolved between level 2.5 and level 3.

"Just 180 calls, less than 0.5 percent, were escalated to our ISVs," Martino said.

HP has also held Linux market share leadership on the server front for the past seven years and "we do not expect to lose that title anytime soon," she said, adding that the company has reported some $19 million in revenue from Linux support services in fiscal year 2005, a 37 percent jump.

The company has also sold 1.5 million Linux severs, totaling some $6.2 billion in revenue over the years, "which is 65 percent more servers sold than IBM, 56 percent more revenue than they have reported and 73 percent more revenue than Dell over the same period," Martino said.

Carl DiCosta, the director of alliances at HP, said the company worked with some 6,000 partners, 3,500 of whom had opted to work with it around Linux and open source.

HP, with its Linux Expertise Centers for ISVs around the world, from the UK and India to Texas, Massachusetts and New Jersey, along with its Developer & Solution Partner Program, fully supported the complete partner lifecycle, he said.

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With regard to its Solaris to Linux ISV program announced in 2004, DiCosta said the first phase of this had resulted in 41 of the 55 targeted ISVs now offering their products on HP server platforms with Linux.

The first phase of this program has taken a vertical focus, concentrating on financial services, Telco and the public sector, he said.

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