HP to offer first-call support for JBoss app server

In a deal aimed at helping corporate IT decision-makers feel more comfortable about moving to open-source software offerings, Hewlett-Packard will now provide first-call support for JBoss' open-source application server application.

In an announcement set for this week, HP said the new first-call service and support provisions are an extension of an existing deal with JBoss, which offers its fourth-generation JBoss Application Server with a full J2EE application programming interface stack.

Efrain Rovira, director of worldwide Linux marketing at HP, said Friday that the move should help to reassure customers who want to look at open-source applications for their businesses but are worried about how they will get support.

"Customers can implement JBoss and then hold HP accountable for support," he said. Previously, HP had supported the JBoss application server only through a custom support agreement. "What we've done now is make it like any other (HP) product," giving it a part number and providing full support, he said.

HP has about 6,500 support staff members who are trained in Linux and open-source applications, Rovira said, making it very likely that HP support team members can handle any issues. Most problems are presently solved by HP's own support team, without relying on open-source vendor partners.

The decision to change the support relationship with JBoss came about after customers asked for it, he said. Getting support from a known vendor such as HP is important to customers and can often make the difference for them in deciding to move to open-source applications, Rovira said. "It's just going to make them feel at ease."

HP also supports BEA Systems's WebLogic application server, Rovira said.

By early 2005, HP said it plans to offer HP OpenView Application Management help to monitor, troubleshoot and manage changes in JBoss Application Server environments.

"Our expanding agreements with partners such as JBoss allow more customers to easily realize the benefits of deploying Linux and open-source, such as cost savings and flexibility," Martin Fink, vice president of Linux at HP, said in a statement. "The combination of HP industry-standard hardware and exceptional support with solutions from key partners has broad appeal to enterprise customers looking to simplify their infrastructures and save money."

Bob Bickel, a JBoss vice president, said in a statement that the expanded deal with HP "means that our joint customers have the full support of the industry's leading proponent of open-source."

"The new agreement with JBoss means customers will have additional support for HP's Linux Reference Architecture, an optimized software, hardware and services solution stack for Linux, thereby minimizing the risk for customers seeking to incorporate open-source solutions into their data centers," Bickel said.

In June, HP was the first major Linux vendor to certify JBoss open-source software on its hardware.

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