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Hewlett Penguin Says Linux Is Its Strategic Advantage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard Tuesday showed its devotion to Linux unveiling new management and clustering solutions based on the open source operating system.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker came on strong at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo here, buying a Cornerstone sponsorship and mustering a slew of announcements including product extensions, partnerships and new customers.

"We want to drive home how mainstream Linux is becoming," Peter Blackmore, executive vice president of the HP Enterprise Systems Group, told the audience of his keynote address.

Blackmore said Linux is central to HP's Adaptive Enterprise Strategy, which the Palo Alto, Calif.-based hardware manufacturer touts. Such an enterprise would be built with a horizontal architecture based on Web services, business process management systems and a grid deployment. "Adaptive enterprises have systems that are extremely agile and respond to dynamic needs," Blackmore said. "They can take advantage of all operating system environments, and the system intelligently manages itself."

Virtualization and adaptive management can increase storage utilization from the industry average of 30 percent to as much as 70 percent, according to Blackmore. He said that HP had achieved these results at its utility data centers located in Palo Alto and London. Using a virtual server environment and HP software, the company is able to remotely manage both data centers and also to dynamically change which operating system the servers are running.

HP announced four management tools at LinuxWorld. HP ProLiant Essentials Rapid Deployment Pack Linux Edition that offers rip-and-replace capability, automatic detection and display of location for blade servers. HP OpenView Network Node Manager Starter Edition 7.0 for Linux is an entry-level product providing basic network management with a GUI for smaller networks. OpenView GlancePlus for Linux handles real -time performance monitoring, diagnostics optimization. HP OpenCall Media Platform on Linux is carrier-grade software that could be used by telcos and ISPS for voice portals, mass alarming and alerting, and voicemail replacement.

IDC surveys find that manageability is one of the shortcomings of Linux. IDC research director Al Gillen said, "We believe that HP's effort will help continue the penetration of Linux into mainstream commercial use."

The company also revealed new Linux-based clustering technologies, including the HP High Performance Clusters LC series for ProLiant servers, targeted for entry-level to midrange Linux systems, delivered pre-configured with a variety of hardware and software options. Enhanced HP Serviceguard clustering software supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.

HP ProLiant Server Solutions for Lotus Domino increases the availability of Lotus Domino enterprise servers. HP Parallel Database Cluster for Linux on Oracle is a do-it-yourself cluster kit to speed deployment of Oracle Database clusters on HP ProLiant servers running Linux.

As testimony to its penguin push, HP said it had picked up heavy-duty new customers, some of them running massive Linux installations.

Bank of America said it will use HP ProLiant servers to run Reuters Market Data Systems on Linux in its new London trading room. HP has been working with Reuters, Intel and Red Hat to migrate the market data platform to Linux running on the Intel architecture. Online auto remarketer AutoTradeCenter has based its e-commerce infrastructure on the HP Adaptive Enterprise strategy. National research facility Sandia Labs gave HP a 1,000-cluster order that will create a total of 640 nodes in New Mexico and California. And Abu Dhabi Marine Operating, an oil and gas producer replaced its UNIX system with a cluster of 24 HP Integrity rx2600 Itanium 2 servers running Linux. Abu Dhabi will use the system with Schlumberger Eclipse reservoir simulation software to find and exploit petroleum resources.

Blackstone said HP has also expanded its strategic alliance with BEA Systems and created a new VAR designation, PartnerONE Linux Elite.

According to IDC, HP was the leader in worldwide Linux server factory revenue for the first quarter of calendar year 2003. The company also employs some 5,000 Linux people in its services and support operations.