HP targets local Sun shops

Hewlett-Packard has started its campaign to help Sun users to migrate off Solaris systems to its Intel-based servers, according to the company’s business critical systems manager Steve Williamson.

HP announced the program earlier this month in the US, but details of what will happen locally were sketchy.

“When we announced the program in the US, three local Sun customers asked to be part of it here,” Williamson said. “We have now launched the campaign locally and will begin marketing it directly to existing customers.”

Williamson said a direct campaign is most appropriate as “most Proliant users have some Sun in their organisation”.

“We will also go off-base to market the program to Sun users who don’t have HP systems,” he said. “This is likely to be 30 to 40 large Sun customers, but most of the marketing will be to our existing customers.”

Although HP will target large Sun customers, Williamson said the offer is open to “any Sun account”.

As part of the program, HP will port one Solaris application to a HP supported platform (Windows, Linux, and HP-UX) and give migration services for up to three applications.

“We will assess the customer’s requirements in moving from Solaris to Proliant or Integrity including how long it is likely to take,” Williamson said. “Also, we will provide the required tools so that customers have the choice of migrating applications themselves, and lend them a system for 30 days at no cost.”

This program is “definitely not” in response to Sun’s recent “HP Away” campaign to lure HP’s Alpha customers to Solaris, Williamson said, adding that it is easy to see why that failed. “The ‘HP Away’ program failed because it questioned the skill and knowledge of HP customers. It had a ‘get off Alpha because you’ve made the wrong decision’ attitude.”

According to Williamson, the resounding trend in the server market is a move to industry standard platforms and that users don’t want to move from one proprietary platform to another.

“We won’t get much traction in telling customers to move from Solaris to Tru64 on Alpha either,” he said. “[Most] interest is in going from Solaris to Linux on Proliant or Itanium. The program will support Solaris wishing to move to Windows or HP-UX but from a technology perspective it will be easier to migrate to Linux.”

Williamson said about 80 per cent of Solaris users are interested in 64-bit Linux.

“The campaign will run through until the end of the year but I have a feeling with the amount of interest it will gain we will be doing work well into next year.”

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