HP Ups The Linux Ante - InformationWeek

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HP Ups The Linux Ante

Hewlett Packard plans to step up its Linux assault next week with a parade of new offerings for every segment of the business market.

Hewlett Packard plans to step up its Linux assault next week with a blizzard of new offerings including HP OpenView plug-ins and clustering software.

Among the Linux announcements are new HP OpenView Smart Plug-Ins for MySQL database and Jboss and Tomcat application servers.

HP also plans to announce a new release of its high availability clustering software, HP Serviceguard for Linux version A.11.16 which features toolkits for Tomcat and Oracle 10g, support for x86, 64-bit and HP Integrity Superdome servers, and improved manageability features.

HP also will announce it has certified its open source and commercial Linux Reference Architecture software stack to be deployed in an HP Blade server environment. HP says it expect up to 50 percent of HP BladeSystem configurations will be shipping with Linux by the end of 2005.

HP also said it plans to announce Express Services for its Linux Reference Architecture, which HP VARs will be able to resell. The new services provide prepackaged Linux services including application assessment, porting and migration along with basic services such as configuration and installation of systems.

Finally, HP plans to announce that it is contributing HP technology to the Xen team at Cambridge University, which is working on an open source platform for virtualization. HP's focus in that area is on management, security and control of virtual machines, the company said.

The new offerings are part of HP's drive to provide middleware stacks based on both open source software and commercial software, HP executives said. "We take a very holistic view of the solutions stack so it is much deeper than just saying Red Hat or Novell is certified on all our platforms here at HP," said Jeffrey Wade, worldwide Linux marketing manager for HP. "It is really about looking at manageability, high availability and backup and the middleware solutions people may want to use on top of all of this."

HP has made a concentrated push to combine commercial and open source applications, said Wade. He said the HP has had its greatest success with its Linux business displacing Unix offerings such as Sun Solaris rather than businesses running Microsoft Windows.

Frank Basanta, director of technology for Systems Solutions, a New York solution provider specializing in Linux, applauded HP's Linux initiatives. "HP is helping to accelerate growth within the Linux community with both SMB and enterprise Linux solutions," said Basanta.

Basanta said Systems Solutions' Linux sales will be up significantly this year. "There was a lot of excitement in 2004 and it is continuing into 2005," he said. "There is no let up in sight for Linux growth in both SMB and the enterprise."

HP said its Linux support services and subscription revenue increased ten fold in fiscal 2004. HP did not have an estimate on how many HP partners are currently in its PartnerOne Linux Elite program in the United States. "For us to succeed in this marketplace we need partners," said Dan Gilfix, Worldwide Linux Marketing Manager for HP. "The channel is critical for us."

Gilfix said HPs sales reps aren't compensated more for selling Linux vs. Windows services. "There is no incentive to sell one vs. the other," he said. "They are concerned with the best solution and platform for the business." HP has over 2,500 developers working on open source and more than 6,500 HP services professionals trained on Linux, he said.

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