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HP says it will commit to Linux as mission critical market share rises

Edges out UNIX
Fri Mar 23 2012, 15:06

FLOGGER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP sees Linux and Microsoft's Windows moving into mission critical computing, traditionally overseen by proprietary UNIX operating systems.

HP, which has a long history of developing and maintaining its own UNIX operating systems such as HP-UX and VMS, now sees Linux and Microsoft Windows gaining market share in the mission critical market. HP said it will commit code to the Linux kernel, working with Red Hat as its mission critical Linux distribution, and added that it wants to work with the open source community rather than just do its own thing.

HP's UNIX operating systems were pushed heavily on the firm's mission critical servers that use Intel's Itanium processor. However in a move towards using lower cost, widely available hardware and software, HP has been edging towards integrating Intel's Xeon processors and now Linux into its mission critical products.

Kirk Bresniker, CTO of HP's Business Critical Systems said, "What we are going to be leveraging is Linux and Windows. We have existing relations with Microsoft and for scalable mission-critical platforms we debuted on [Intel] Itanium when we had Windows for Itanium. [...] We want to partner with Microsoft and perhaps even more interestingly partner with the Linux community because that's how we think we can complement the existing business."

Bresniker's comments about wanting to partner with Linux should be vindication for the community as it must have taken a lot for the firm not to continue pushing its own UNIX varients. He continued, "So rather than draw up our own [Linux] distribution or create our own set of patches independent of the community, we'll be selectively driving technology upstream at the top of the tree into, into some of the open source projects that compliment that work, working with Red Hat as far as our lead mission critical distribution."

Red Hat has already said it will be shutting down development of its popular Linux distribution for Intel's IA64 architecture. However with HP telling The INQUIRER that Project Odyssey is in effect a mission critical cloud that can comprise both Itanium and Xeon systems, HP can once again call on the darling of the enterprise Linux world.

As further validation of both HP and the Linux community, Jim Losink, cross portfolio marketing manager at HP told The INQUIRER, "If you look at where most industry analysts are predicting where the market will go they see more and more of a heavy adoption of industry standard X86 environments for Windows and Linux to support more and more mission critical workloads. So if the industry and our customers are going to start adopting that, we are going to help them address that one way or another regardless of what Oracle [dropping IA64 support] has done in the past or in the future."

While HP is bowing to market pressure and putting some of its considerable weight behind Linux, an HP spokesperson told The INQUIRER that it will continue to develop its HP-UX operating system (OS), and for certain workloads customers are keen to stay on its proprietary UNIX OS. Clearly there will be a market for proprietary UNIX, however HP's comments give further credence to the notion that the wider market is calling out for cheaper, and some would say equally effective, Linux based mission critical systems. µ


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