HP's Superdome Sales Boost

HP says 25 new customers have bought the high-end Unix server, and more than half of those sales came after plans to acquire Compaq were revealed.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 21, 2002

2 Min Read

Much of the attention of Hewlett-Packard executives over the past six months has centered on the vendor's efforts to acquire Compaq. But at the same time, HP also has greatly increased revenue from its high-end Unix server, Superdome.

HP recently said that 25 new customers, including Continental Airlines, DaimlerChrysler, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Nestl?, and Reebok, have purchased Superdome--more than half of them after plans to acquire Compaq were revealed in early September. HP's revenue in the high-end Unix server market jumped 38% in 2001 compared with the previous year, says International Data Corp. in its latest quarterly Server Tracker. However, those numbers don't reflect total server sales: HP's market share in the last fiscal year slipped slightly to 14%, and IBM increased its share five percentage points to 28%.

Continental Airlines installed two Superdome servers in January and is combining all six of its technical projects onto the new servers, which sit in two buildings a block apart in the company's Houston headquarters. Those projects include everything from a revenue-accounting system to an electronic attendance tracker for employees to a database that stores electronic coupons and promotions, says Dan Morales, Continental's managing director of financial systems.

Each Superdome at Continental, configured with 64 processors, is running at less than half capacity now, but Morales expects both to be full by year's end as more projects from different units are considered with the new technology in mind. He wouldn't disclose the price the airline paid for Superdome, but HP's list prices range from $400,000 to $1 million.

Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, which left the airline industry reeling, Continental says it must have return on investment in a year, and the company is on track to meet that with Superdome. Already, it has retired some older hardware and ceased maintenance contracts for the HP K-class servers and some Sun Microsystems equipment for savings of more than $1 million, Morales says. Superdome also will let Morales retire "quite a few" small Windows NT file servers used just for sharing files.

Using Superdome also standardizes Continental's storage and backup software on HP systems. Says Morales, "I don't have vendors pointing at each other if things don't work."

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