Hewlett-Packard chairman Lew Platt slammed Sun Microsystems as "irresponsible" for spreading rumours that HP has deserted HP/UX. Speaking at the launch of HP's latest servers, which directly challenge Sun's high end, Platt tried to commit the company to both Unix and Microsoft NT.
Platt said HP's competitors are using fear, uncertainty and doubt. "Sun irresponsibly claims HP is deserting Unix. Let me respond by saying that a company a fraction of the size of us is doing the shouting."
HP announced a collaboration with Microsoft over NT a few weeks ago, prompting Sun's comments. But HP is "big enough to walk and chew gum at the same time", Platt said, so it can base its strategy on two operating systems. "We'd be out of our ever-loving minds to move away from Unix."
Yet question and answer sessions reveal that HP has mixed messages on NT, with some representatives of the company backing up Microsoft's recent claims that NT does scale to enterprise level, while others endorsed only Unix. The consensus was that Microsoft is a valued partner and NT will scale to large installations by the millennium, but Unix is the only solution for many customers for now.
At a carefully scripted launch, HP executives, partner companies and customers sang the company's praise. HP unveiled its HP9000 V2200 server, its 64-bit, 200MHz box based on its latest PA processor. The V2200 runs 32-bit or 64-bit applications together and will be upgradable to the PA-8500 chip and from 16 processors to 32 in 1998.
HP also announced it will guarantee 99.95 per cent up time to customers buying its K460 server, Autoraid storage and support suite. It will include Year 2000 protection in the autumn launch of its 64-bit HP-UX version 11 OS and it also launched its Hyperplane crossbar technology for its hardware.
By 2000, enterprise server group general manager Bill Russell said HP expects five to 15 times the current performance from its IA-64 chip, also known as Merced, and it will offer 256-way symmetrical multiprocessing and 4,096 parallel CPUs in its systems.
HP also announced a European High Availability Solution Centre, a virtual team of 100 support experts based in Germany. Opening next month, the centre aims to enforce HP's commitment to 99.95 per cent up time and guarantee customers' servers are down for less than 4.5 hours per year.
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