On the heels of Sun?s Unix licensing deal with Siemens-Nixdorf, Hewlett Packard has signed up three takers for its own Unix implementation, HP/UX.
As the battle to be the dominant Unix on 64-bit servers hots up, Hitachi, NEC and Stratus - all long standing HP partners - will develop servers based on the Intel IA-64 architecture that run HP/UX.
The first IA-64 chip, codenamed Merced, is expected to ship in 1999 and is receiving strong support from server makers who see it as a high end platform whose high volume will give it a price advantage over Risc chips.
Hewlett Packard considers itself well positioned to grab its share of the IA-64 server market. It helped Intel develop the architecture, and is moving its HP9000 servers over to it from next year. The company claims that, when Merced becomes available, HP will ship a point upgrade of the current HP/UX 11.00 to support the chip.
In a departure from earlier policies, HP says it is now pursuing an aggressive licensing policy. Bill Russell, vice president and general manager of HP?s Enterprise Systems Group, in a conference call announcing the deals, said he expects HP/UX to be one of only a handful of Unix operating systems to survive on IA-64. He said HP had hopes of becoming the dominant player.
Russell acknowledged that Stratus, Hitachi and NEC are not new partners. However, he said: ?We are negotiating now with some of the other vendors out there that have not yet announced their long term plans.?
But HP is not alone. Other Unix vendors are also positioning themselves for the IA-64 market. Digital has the support of Sequent for the Merced version of Digital Unix and claims to have other deals in the works, aiming for about 10 this year. It also has support from its stablemate Tandem.
Digital's new owner Compaq, Data General and ICL Fujitsu are contributing financially to the development of the 64-bit version of SCO Unixware. And Sun has now won NCR, Fujitsu and Siemens-Nixdorf for Solaris on IA-64.
HP also said during the conference call that it would be the first vendor to ship servers that are upgradeable to Merced with a board swap.
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