HP's Unix strategy "still needs work" despite attempts to reassure customers with its recent deal with Veritas Software to accelerate integration of HP-UX 11i and TruCluster environments, industry experts have warned.
Analyst firm Gartner praised HP's efforts to boost its Unix support offerings by integrating elements of Veritas Storage Foundation with HP's Serviceguard for HP-UX, but said that more needs to be done.
HP plans to offer the integrated solutions as software bundles on HP-UX 11i version 2 in the third quarter of next year.
The analyst firm suggested that the move helps address what had been a post-merger problem for HP, that of integrating the Compaq Tru64 TruCluster functionality into HP-UX, which lacks these advanced functions.
"This integration has dogged HP and would not have been available until 2006," a report by Gartner analysts George Weiss, Andrew Butler and Donna Scott stated.
"By abandoning that effort and offering up the HP-UX/Veritas solution instead, HP can now offer HP-UX and Tru64 users access to a comparable clustered Unix solution sooner."
However the analyst firm's advisory noted that the deal also means that the labour and money HP poured into the attempt was wasted, and highlights "how badly the original merger plan underestimated that effort".
According to Gartner, the plan will benefit HP's Unix customers, given that the broad goals of the post-merger plan will be met.
"It speeds up the migration path for users of Tru64 (now a legacy environment), and HP-UX users will gain native Veritas cluster file management functions, which are superior to what they have now," the advisory noted.
However, Gartner went on to point out that both HP-UX and Tru64 users can defect to other Unix flavours.
It said that Tru64 users can migrate to clustered Unix offerings from other platform vendors, such as IBM and Sun Microsystems, which aggressively court this base.
Existing HP Unix users should ensure that the vendor details its Unix support, pricing and integration strategy before committing to adopt the HP/Veritas offering, Gartner advised.
"The Veritas relationship will be a welcome step, but to retain user loyalty and demonstrate that the Veritas deal is a deep and mutually beneficial one, HP's road map and value proposition must be more detailed," said Gartner.
"HP must reveal specifics on the depth of the Veritas technology's integration with Serviceguard and other value-added products."
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