HP Challenges Sun In SPARC Server Space


Hewlett Packard continues to take aim at Sun Microsystems, extending a partnership with software provider Transitive to enable current Sun Solaris server customers to migrate applications to HP Proliant and Integrity servers.

The partnership follows on the heels of HP's decision earlier this month to go after what the company calls dissatisfied Sun server customers. With the Transitive software, current Sun customers will be able to move to what the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said is a "higher performing, more affordable x86-based HP ProLiant platform" without changing binaries.

"We see an aging SUN SPARC system and x86 platform customers who want lower costs and who don't want to re-write or copy applications," said Jeff Carlat, HP's director of industry standard server software. HP said that since 2004 it has generated an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue from moving Sun customers to HP Integrity and HP ProLiant servers.

By using Transitive's QuickTransit for Solaris/SPARC-to-Linux/Itanium on HP Integrity servers, Sun Solaris customers can move enterprise applications from SPARC-based hardware to the HP Integrity servers running either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Novell SUSE Linux, Carlat said.

HP also named Los Gatos, Calif.-based Transitive as an HP Integrity Ready Partner, and Transitive has also joined the HP BladeSystem Solution Builder Program.

Pricing for the QuickTransit Workstation for laptop and desktop PCs is $875. The price for QuickTransit Server is $1,750 per processor socket.

Some Sun solution providers scoffed at HP's attempts to make a grab at Sun's customer base.

Oliver Poppenberg, executive vice president, technology solutions east at Versatile System, a Mechanicsburg, Pa. "based Sun solution provider, said that the HP move is no big deal.

"So what?" he said. "What are they doing differently? Sun has its own line of Intel and AMD systems and it's not an issue -- customers can already migrate."
Rob Wolfe, president and CEO of Avcom East, a Vienna, Va.-based Sun solution provider, also said he was not worried about HP's move.

"If a customer really wants to move from a commercially-proven, reliable operating system to open source Linux, the same migration can be done in Sun's family," he said.

One HP solution provider begged to differ.

Dhruv Gulati, executive vice president at Lilien Systems, a Lakespur, Calif.-based HP solution provider, said he supports HP's move against Sun.

"I think this is a play that HP has been doing for a while, which we support," he said. "I think a tool like this wouldn't be a changing factor but rather an enabling factor. If people are already looking at moving, if they're already concerned about Sun, then I think this would give HP a better shot. In it by itself, I don't think it would change their mind."

Whether customers want to migrate to HP or a Sun solution depends on who solution providers trust more, Gulati said.

"HP/Compaq has a far better relationship with Intel and AMD than Sun," he said. "If you look at that accordingly, that levels the playing field but with better differentiators."