Hewlett Packard (HP) is taking on rivals Sun Microsystems, Compaq and IBM with the launch of a range of entry-level Unix servers featuring technology previously only available on its high-end systems.
The HP L3000 server, which can be powered by up to four PA-8600 processors, offers hardware partitioning, previously only available on HP's high-end 9000L line.
Hardware partitioning allows a user to run two or more versions of the operating system on a single machine, so that the different partitions can be used to carry out different tasks.
HP, which is also offering a more flexible pricing deal on the new servers based on its 'utility' pricing model, hopes the servers will give it an advantage over its rivals, particularly Sun. While Sun has benefited more than its competitors from the internet boom, it only offers partitioning technology on its top-of-the-range E10000 systems.
Sun recently launched a line of products based on its new UltraSparc III microchips, and is expected to introduce products next spring or summer which will feature partitioning technology.
Analyst Meta Group has warned that superior technology may not be enough for HP to catch up with Sun, however. "Sun has the best array of third-party applications, and that is what's driving the market," said Meta's Dale Kutnick. "HP and IBM aren't losing any more ground, but they aren't gaining any ground, so far."
HP claims that the latest Transaction Processing Technology Council benchmark figures show that the server delivers twice the benchmark performance of its closest competitor.
Available immediately, the server runs the HP-UX 11i operating system. Customers can choose from a range of third-party software in areas such as broadband, ecommerce, media streaming, enterprise resource planning and product design.
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