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HP Strengthens its Integrity Line

HP is standing behind its recent $3 billion re-investment in Itanium with the coming of new server hardware and software.

Company executives, such as CEO Carly Fiorina, Anne Livermore and Rich Marcello, are scheduled to roll out new high-end and mid-range Integrity servers this week, starting with more announcements today.

Six new HP Integrity servers powered by multiple Intel Itanium chips and ranging in price points between $4,119 for an Integrity rx1620 server and $185,252 for a Superdome are slated to get an unveiling at a company event on Tuesday. Fiorina and team are also expected to announce a host of enticing service features including the industry's first ever pay-per use pricing for Microsoft Windows.

HP is also expected to announce new multi-operating system virtualization software; expanded high-availability and disaster recovery features for HP-UX 11i and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating systems; new production releases of the OpenVMS and SUSE Linux operating systems; as well as server services for the company's HP NonStop server family.

"The reality is Sun and IBM are scared of what HP can do with Itanium, which is why they are adopting things like Linux and AMD's Opteron," Brian Cox, worldwide product line manager for business critical servers at HP, told internetnews.com.

The fanfare follows a 180-degree shift in HP's involvement in the development of the Itanium chip architecture. In December 2004, HP brass sold off its development assets including its engineering division, to Itanium co-developer Intel. But by that time, HP had already abandoned its plans to produce Itanium-based workstations in September 2004 in favor of focusing on the estimated $20 billion worldwide server market.

HP said its first selling point is Intel's new Itanium 2 processors (codenamed Madison) with up to 9MB of cache for mid-range and high-end Integrity servers. Previously, the company has reserved Itanium for only its high-performance boxes.

The new HP Integrity boxes also introduce new production releases of OpenVMS v8.2, and SUSE Linux ES 9 with the Linux 2.6 kernel. Cox said HP plans on offering a similar Red Hat product based on the Linux 2.6 kernel when it is available.

"The whole gambit is the realization that the advances in industry standard processors will have such great price performance that we have to offer value added features," Cox said. HP is scheduled to release its final PA RISC chip later this year making way for an exclusive Itanium-based Integrity family.

To augment the processor capabilities, HP's Cox said other value adds include new virtualization capabilities such as the industry's first Pay per use for Windows.

Similar to the leasing program HP started with its HP-UX servers, the hardware is metered in computing cycles. Cox said the program would be good for companies that have Microsoft site licenses but which need extra computing power for temporary projects.

"The structure also allows the IT department to set up a utility model to bill other departments," Cox said.

Another aspect of HP's strategy is the delivery of its previously announced Global Workload Manager and its Secure Resource Partitions -- sometimes called software containers -- for HP-UX 11i.

Cox said HP will also start offering expanded high availability and disaster recovery for HP-UX 11i its with HP Serviceguard, HP Metrocluster (100 miles or less between cluster nodes), and HP Continentalclusters (multi-state, multi-country and potentially multi-continent).

"Historical back up is relatively close by to the main data," Cox said. "With Metrocluster you could have one primary site and one mirror or secondary site outside the city limits in real time. With Continentalclusters, you could host a primary site in NY, with additional ones in Nebraska and California. It's expanding multiple sites feeding into one set that gets updated on a schedule."

HP is also scheduled to release new services for its HP NonStop serves along with new services for HP OpenVMS customers as well as for migrating SAP applications to Integrity servers running Microsoft Windows. HP said it will recommend the new servers, software and support for only the highest priority data center functions for its Microsoft Windows and OpenVMS customers.

"Customers are voting with their IT dollars," HP's Cox said. "We have seen success over the last year. We sold more than $1 billion of that value add."

HP said it anticipates Integrity server unit sales to grow to more than 50 percent of what it usually sells annually by end of 2005. The company also raised its estimate for 2006, saying it should achieve 70 percent in sales and service contracts better than what they are doing now. Recent HP Integrity server customers scheduled to be highlighted on Tuesday include the Bank of New York, CRI/Criterion, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, and Premier Bankcard.