RealTime IT News

HP Putting Grid In Consumer Products

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard is so gung ho for making the grid a reality they are willing to put into everything they sell.

CEO Carly Fiorina says her company plans on including grid-enabled software such as the Globus tool kit and new SGA standard version 3.0 into its servers and storage devices, of course, but also consumer products such as handhelds, PCs and printers.

"We are focused squarely on the management and execution of grid services," she said to OracleWorld 2003 Conference attendees here. "We are talking at least a 3 to 5 year journey, one that operates across heterogeneous systems. Our success will come from a community of thousands and perhaps tens of thousands."

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is one of several top-tier vendors professing support for Oracle and its new range of products (Oracle 10g) designed to turn reserve computing power into one powerful grid for business.

Unlike some of HP's competition however, Fiorina says her company is joined at the hip with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's on coming up with a standardized version that will build and link enterprise grids together.

"We really do believe that grid computing is real," she said. "It is driving the R&D in our industry. For the first time our energy is focused on something else than building a killer app or a hot box. We are more focused on making system that combines the best of IT and business. Imagine what is possible."

In May, the company debuted its Darwin Reference architecture, which is HP's contribution to the standards community for Web services and grid services. Currently, the company has 700 people on various standards boards.

The computer and printer maker is also adapting its Oracle/grid relationship to its Adaptive Enterprise strategy. HP and Oracle have more than 80,000 joint customers, but beyond that, Fiorina says they have momentum.

"Gartner says we are 18 months ahead of IBM and its 'on demand' and Sun's N1," she said.

Fiorina also managed to get the last word defending her company against comments made by rivals earlier in the week.

"Some people are trying to ride this horse of grid computing before they are ready. That is a good way to hurt your foot," she said referring to Michael Dell's injury. "Grid is a whole lot more than a single rack and a whole lot of servers... a nice rack will only get you so far."

Equally critical were her comments about Sun's claims of a buddy-buddy relationship with Oracle and Ellison himself.

"Last year, I told you we were the wind in Oracle's sails. We don't have to be invited onto the boat. We are already on the boat," Fiorina said.

Beyond the jabs, Fiorina said five areas she's spied as crucial to a successful enterprise grid: complexity trust and security, heterogeneous operation, open standards and robustness.

"Globus has bugs and I'm sure they have people working on putting the fixes in place, but we have to come up with ways to improve upon it."

HP and Oracle have begun working with leading consortia, including OASIS, W3C, Globus Labs and the Web Service-Interoperability Organization (WS-I), to drive industry adoption of open standards for grid computing. HP also recently announced the submission of its Web Services Management Framework (WSMF) for industry review to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), with support from Oracle and others.

Fiorina also said HP has developed a new area of managing the grid called "Smart Frog." An acronym for Framework for Object Groups, the technology lets customers program the grid by minimizing configuration.

"We are making a fundamental bet on heterogeneous systems and automating management and control of IT infrastructure," she said. "We are doing this with organic investment and acquisition. Some of this has already taken place. We are betting the next generation management tools will be one of the things that companies will need to decide in their IT budget. We think our contributions will help a CIO make that choice."

Fiorina also said HP will help migrate its Oracle customers to 10g products including an OpenView smart plug in for Oracle.