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Shannon's Tech Talk on Linux

The recent HP-Compaq merger not only makes it necessary to blend Compaq and HP technologies but has made it imperative that we understand the strategic roadmap for HP solutions that can support the infrastructures our companies rely upon. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of HP's new product strategies in the HP market space is critical. To efficiently integrate our work plans with HP product roadmaps, we must make wise use of our time and technology investments. That is why we have partnered with HP to deliver comprehensive training and a solutions showcase at the HP Enterprise Technical Symposium and Encompass Technical trade show . Plan now to join us October 6-11, 2002 at the America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri.



HP and Linux: From the Cathedral to the Bizarre

2002 by Terry C. Shannon, Director at Large, Encompass US, Inc.

The road from the Cathedral to the Bazaar has, in some regards, become even more bizarre of late. Witness "All the Wood Behind One Arrow," Sun Microsystems' newfound and curious affection for the freeware OS-and for microprocessors produced by "Chipzilla" Intel Corporation. Witness also IBM's high-profile Linux advertising campaign. With apologies to Jon "maddog" Hall, Linus Torvaalds, and Digital Equipment Corporation, you'd think IBM actually invented the freeware OS!

While the trade press fawns over IBM, Sun, or the anointed Linux King for a Day, the New HP is quietly honing and ramping up its own Linux strategy. For example, HP on August 13 used the LinuxWorld trade show in San Francisco, California to reveal its post-merger Linux strategy along with an updated Linux portfolio of products and services. HP's evolving Linux strategy incorporates targeted solution areas for Linux; integrated product lines in industry-leading hardware platforms, enterprise security, management and high-availability software for Linux; and comprehensive and proven services for Linux. HP also continues to work with its network of partners and the open source community to offer the tools needed to develop comprehensive Linux-based solutions. "Linux continues to be a corporate priority for HP. We have a unique combination of Linux-based technologies to deliver the broadest set of end-to-end solutions to customers," said Peter Blackmore, executive vice president, HP Enterprise Systems Group. "The new HP, comprising assets in technology, partnerships, engineering and executive leadership makes us the leading choice among enterprise customers looking to deploy Linux to meet their individual needs." Mr. Blackmore apparently is putting his money where his mouth is: according to IDC's Quarterly Server Tracker, during 1FQ02, HP ProLiant servers continued to lead the market in Linux server unit shipments with more than 25.9 percent market share. These results mark the 17th straight quarter in which ProLiant servers have led the industry.

HP, ISVs, and Open Source-ery

Significantly, ISVs have signaled their choice of HP as an industry leader for Linux. Within the last 100 days, HP has joined with more than a dozen partners, including Oracle and BEA, to build applications across a spectrum of industries. At LinuxWorld, HP showcased superior performance benchmarks as well as a number of additional open source initiatives. These open source initiatives include HP and Intel's Itanium-based Systems Grant Program, wherein HP will donate 100 one- and two-way Linux-based Itanium 2 systems to 20 U.S. universities to conduct advanced research. HP is also a founding member of the The OpenPrinting Working Group, which operates under the Free Standards Group. The goal of the group is to set a Linux standard on printing by establishing a scalable printing system architecture that meets the high standards required by Linux users. HP is also a sponsoring member of the Open Source Software Institute, whose purpose is to promote the development and implementation of open source software within government agencies and academic entities. Finally, HP now offers a Linux Management Partner Program for ISVs. Under this program, products from Linux software vendors are integrated into HP Servicecontrol Manager software, which is used as the programs' manageability framework. These new open source programs are in addition to HP's founding membership in the GNOME foundation and sponsoring membership of OSDL, Linux International, KDE league, Clustering Foundry and openhandhelds.org.

Growing the Linux Ecosystem

HP's Linux team conducted more than their share of product launches at LinuxWorld. HP's new Disaster Tolerant Solution for Linux brings to Linux users a system for backing up and recovering data over a 100km optical link to aid in recovery from a disaster. HP also introduced its Servicecontrol Manager 3.0, a new version for managing multiple servers at once. It adds a GUI and support for XML, so administrators will be able to write scripts in XML to invoke management actions by the ServiceControl software. ServiceControl has tools for fault monitoring, configuration, and workload management. It is offered free with ProLiant servers. Version 3.0 will become available in the fourth quarter. In addition, HP expanded its Linux certification program for Compaq Evo commercial desktops to include all models in the line. HP has certified Red Hat, SuSE Linux, MandrakeSoft, and TurboLinux distributions to run on the machines.

Also at LinuxWorld, HP announced the Print Server Appliance 4200, an updated version of Print Server Appliance software that runs a new version of the Samba open-source file and print server. The 4200 model can support as many as 350 users and 50 printers and is available now for $1,999. A new service, the HP Software Porting Assessment Express Service, allows users of Unix platforms, including Solaris and AIX, to easily migrate to Linux for a preset fee. Finally, HP enhanced Version 2.0 of HP Secure OS software for Linux with the inclusion of several open-source applications, including Sendmail. Each of these applications can be run in a protected software space through the compartmentalizing system in SecureOS. The price of SecureOS also is being reduced to $600 per machine from the previous price of $3,000 per machine. SecureOS Version 2.0 will be available in 4FQ02.

Customer Implications

What does all this mean to HP customers, and, in particular, 2002 HP Enterprise Technical Symposium attendees? First and foremost, there are multiple operating system camps at the New HP. Some like Linux, some loathe the operating system, and some could care less one way or the other. Chances are all but certain that LINUX will gain in popularity in the near term: for example HP in September announced that HP ProLiant servers have delivered the first Linux TPC-C benchmark results running Oracle 9i Real Application Clusters on the Red Hat Linux Advanced Server OS. With this benchmark, HP ProLiant servers become the first industry-standard server platform to offer enterprise-class performance for a clustered Oracle database in a Linux environment. An 8-node cluster of HP ProLiant DL580 servers using Intel Pentium III Xeon processors and HP StorageWorks MSA1000 storage system achieved 138,362.03 tpmC at a cost of $17.21/tpmC with Red Hat Linux Advanced Server. The results demonstrate that HP ProLiant servers currently offer the best price/performance ratio for companies choosing to deploy Oracle9i Real Application Clusters on Linux. Complete benchmark results and details are available at http://www.tpc.org.

" The benchmark on HP ProLiant servers demonstrates that Red Hat Linux Advanced Server is ready for robust, high-performance, highly available, enterprise-level applications," said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering, Red Hat. "Red Hat will continue to work with leading partners, including HP and Oracle, to test and demonstrate the viability of running enterprise-ready applications on Red Hat Linux Advanced Server." HP parallel database cluster solutions for Oracle 9i Real Application Clusters on Red Hat will be available soon as fully pre-installed solutions (hardware, software and installation included) via HP integration partners or as a custom-designed solution direct from HP. HP has more servers certified for Red Hat Linux Advanced Server than any other technology provider. Information about additional HP ProLiant servers certified for Red Hat Linux Advanced Server is available at http://hardware.redhat.com/hcl/ . And, of course, at the 2002 HP Enterprise Technical Symposium .

Terry Shannon serves on the Encompass Board of Directors.