MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP said mission critical technologies in its proprietary HP-UX Unix operating system will cascade down to Linux and Microsoft Windows.
HP recently told The INQUIRER that it will commit to Linux in the mission critical market, however it said its HP-UX Unix implementation will be the proving ground for features that the firm will push in Linux and Windows. According to Kate O'Neill, product marketing manager for HP's Business Critical Systems unit, the firm wants to bring a "UNIX-like experience to Linux and Windows".
Talking with The INQUIRER about the mission critical aspect of HP-UX, O'Neill said, "If you think about where Windows and Linux is at today, in terms of delivering the full mission critical experience it's not where HP-UX is at, at this moment in time." But it seems HP will use HP-UX as the operating system for mission critical technologies that it will eventually try to commit to the Linux kernel.
"We continue to drive and innovate in HP-UX because it is what we consider to be the design centre for mission critical, we have to stay at the bleeding edge of mission critical so we can cascade those technologies into [the] Windows and Linux environments," said O'Neill. "It will drive us to be better, not just in that environment itself, but in this emerging mission critical Windows and Linux also."
Given that HP has invested decades and millions into HP-UX, it might be something of a surprise to hear the firm say that its mission critical customers know that one day they will move off proprietary UNIX and onto Linux or Windows.
O'Neill said, "Customers are hesitant to make the transition to Windows and Linux when uptime and planned and unplanned downtime is critical to them, but they do recognise in the future that could be a possibility, so they want to make sure there are options to them as they look down the road."
Although O'Neill's comment about Windows not being mission critical will to many seem like stating the bleeding obvious, there are still questions over whether Linux can be considered in the same breath as HP's HP-UX, IBM's AIX or Oracle's Solaris. Perhaps Linux's biggest hurdle is not its technology but the conservative nature of mission-critical computing, with managers opting for big brands such as IBM and HP in order to safeguard their jobs.
HP's decision to use HP-UX as a proving ground for mission critical features that it will eventually push into Linux serves three purposes. HP's operating system stays ahead of Linux, while the Linux community gets to see whether new features of HP-UX are worth incorporating and potentially the ability to convince the conservative suits that Linux has resilient, high availability features similar to those found in expensive, proprietary operating systems. µ