New HP Product Road Map Revealed, After A Fashion


As part of the introduction of the new Hewlett-Packard, company executives on Tuesday unveiled parts of the combined HP/Compaq product road map.

The new road map spells out the brand names of the combined organization's products as well as consolidation plans for many of its key product lines. However, details for many of its lower-range products have yet to be released.

The product road map looks pretty good, said Carl Wolfston, director of Headlands Associates, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based Compaq solution provider. "It seems like they did a good job," he said. "There's nothing that surprises me." Wolfston has yet to get certified on HP products but said he plans to do so as soon as possible.

The Enterprise Systems Group, led by Peter Blackmore, executive vice president, will include enterprise storage, servers, management software and related solutions. Within this group, HP expects to have the No. 1 market positions for Unix servers, fault-tolerant servers, Windows-based IA-32 servers, Linux-based IA-32 servers, enterprise storage, management software and high-performance technical computing, said Michael Capellas, president of HP.

Compaq's NonStop server family, including the Himalaya family of servers, will be renamed HP NonStop Servers. HP plans to continue two previously announced upgrades to the MIPs processor, and then transition the line to the Itanium platform.

HP executives said the company plans to offer Itanium-based servers from the low end to the high end, including HP's NonStop Itanium-based servers once the third-generation Itanium processor, code-named Madison, is released. Starting with the next generation of McKinley-based Itanium processors, the combined Itanium-based server line will be based on HP's previously released road map, augmented by features from the ProLiant IA-64 road map, HP executives said.

For industry-standard servers, Compaq's ProLiant line will become the new HP's IA-32 server offering. HP's Netserver and the HP Server brand names will be phased out in favor of the HP ProLiant name, except for a few low-end HP servers, specifically the tc2210 and tc2100 models.

In terms of blade servers, the new HP will adopt the ProLiant blade server architecture for the data center market, while HP's current Powerbar blade family will be used in the telecommunications market.

Road maps for the RISC-based servers, including HP's PA-RISC and Compaq's AlphaServer processors, were previously unveiled. Specifically, both server platforms will go through two more generations of RISC processors before being transitioned to the Intel Itanium processor.

HP's Toptools server management console will be continued, but the focus will be on Compaq's Insight Manager in the future.

The new HP will focus its long-term Unix efforts on the HP-UX platform. Capellas said that certain enterprise features of Compaq's Tru64 Unix platform will be incorporated into HP-UX, including clustering and file system features as well as RAS (reliability, availability and scalability) features. HP will continue to port Compaq's OpenVMS operating system to Itanium as well.

That's not a surprise, said Headlands Associates' Wolfston. Talk of merging HP and Compaq started when HP approached Compaq to license some of Compaq's Tru64 Unix features, he said. Furthermore, the Oracle9i platform incorporates many redundancy features from Tru64, he said.

On the storage side, HP will adopt Compaq's StorageWorks name for its enterprise storage products and solutions. HP's storage architecture, currently named Federated Storage Area Management (FSAM), will move forward under Compaq's Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA).

In terms of products, HP will offer both its XP-series of high-end storage arrays, OEMed from Hitachi Data Systems, and the Compaq Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA). Overlap between the two lines is minimal, according to HP executives, who called the XP arrays "a single, monolithic, scalable and highly available storage system," while the EVA offers "modular scaling and high-end functionality" with virtualization capabilities.

For midrange storage, HP will offer its VA family of products for HP-UX-centric operating environments, while Compaq's StorageWorks EMA line of modular arrays will be used in heterogeneous environments. However, by mid-2003, the company plans to focus on the EVA platform for this space as well.

Plans for entry-level storage arrays have yet to be unveiled.

On the NAS side, Compaq's appliance will be offered for the entry-level space, while HP's appliances will be offered to midrange and enterprise customers.

For near-line storage, the choice was easy, as HP already offers a full line of tape drives and automation products based on DLT, SDLT, AIT and Ultrium technologies.

The best parts of Compaq's storage management software will be integrated into HP's OpenView Storage Area Manager Suite, company executives said. On the virtualization side, HP will ship products using both its own SANlink and Compaq's VersaStor technologies but will eventually merge SANlink into VersaStor.

The new HP Personal Systems Group, led by Duane Zitzner, executive vice president, will include business and consumer notebooks and desktops, workstations, thin clients, handhelds and Internet appliances, as well as emerging technologies such as embedded software, embedded computing, home networking solutions and personal storage.

Business desktop PCs and notebook PCs will be migrated to the Compaq platform over the next nine to 12 months and will carry the Compaq name. HP plans to phase out its HP Vecra product line. Its Omnibook line of notebook PCs will be available throughout the rest of the year. However, HP's e-pc line is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Except for a few countries, both the Compaq Presario and HP Pavilion lines of consumer desktop PCs and notebook PCs are expected to continue. HP executives said this is because of the needs of its retail channel partners.

For handheld PCs, Compaq's iPaq is the winner. HP's Jornada products will be phased out by the end of 2002 in favor of what will now be known as the HP iPaq Pocket PC. HP will also offer the iPaq Blackberry device under the HP name.

Workstations based on Windows NT, home and wireless networking products, and thin clients from Compaq are slated to be the focus of HP's sales efforts in these areas in the future. Printers, scanners and digital cameras will come from the HP side, while the future of the digital projector line has yet to be decided.

For software, the focus in general will be on current HP technology. The OpenView name will be kept for all appropriate management software, company executives said. HP will take the lead in defining Web services management interoperability standards and products, as well as J2EE and .Net development. For telcos, the HP and Compaq offerings will be integrated into HP's Opencall product family.