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HP says mission critical customers want Linux and Windows on X86

It's not worth moving HP-UX to X86
Mon Nov 12 2012, 16:28
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MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP said customers want to run mission critical applications on Linux and Windows servers rather than traditional Unix servers including its own kit that runs HP-UX.

HP has been pushing its HP-UX, OpenVMS and Nonstop operating systems for decades and despite claiming to have more than 100,000 customers for its proprietary operating systems, the firm is moving away from them. HP told The INQUIRER that it is taking intellectual property from its own HP-UX operating system and working with the open source community and Microsoft because customers want to use those operating systems rather than traditional Unix variants.

Mark Payne, EMEA VP of Business Critical Systems at HP told The INQUIRER, "We will take intellectual property from HP-UX and evolve that into the open source distribution and we have a team of engineers working with Microsoft in Redmond. They are both business propositions, one is dealing with a community and the other is working uniquely with Microsoft."

HP's strategy is to leave it's old cash cow operating systems HP-UX, OpenVMS and Nonstop on old processor architectures such as Alpha, PA-RISC and on Intel's IA64 rather than port the operating systems to the far more popular X86 architecture. According to Payne porting HP-UX, the firm's most popular Unix operating system, to X86 is not sustainable.

Payne said, "Technically [porting HP-UX to X86] is feasible. Commercially it would require the ISV community to re-certify and re-support and having a further work stream of software development. We think that's the bit that is not sustainable. [...] So our preference is to move our [intellectual property] into the Microsoft and Linux work because we think that's what customers will want to buy. Of course we could do it a different way but that is not what customers want."

That HP, which has a considerable history of promoting its own operating systems in the mission critical market, is looking to Windows and Linux suggests that time might be running out for other enterprise system vendors that rely on proprietary operating systems. The Linux community might not need HP's technology in order to run Linux on most of the servers that are deployed, but having parts of HP-UX certainly won't harm its chances in the mission critical enterprise systems market. µ


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