HP offers Solaris users US$25,000 discount to migrate to Linux

Hewlett-Packard Co. announced a big incentive for users of Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Solaris platform – any user willing to migrate to HP’s Linux platform will get an average of US$25,000 towards the cost of the migration, the company said late last week.

The incentive will include the cost of assessment, porting and migration services from HP, and is available to Sun customers in Canada and the U.S. Users can migrate from any of Sun’s Sparc-based Solaris platforms to any one of HP’s single processor ProLiant servers and 64-bit Intel Corp.’s Itanium-based platforms.

Marc Jourlait, vice-president, enterprise marketing program for HP in Cupertino, Calif., said the market is indicating that users want to get out of proprietary systems and start leveraging lower-cost open source platforms. He said Sun Solaris users have shown a lot of interest in migrating to Linux and the company wants to get a leg up against its competitors in the Linux market such as Dell Corp. and IBM Corp.

Jourlait said that while US$25,000 might not be a lot of money to a large enterprise, this discount would be particularly beneficial to midsized companies that want to migrate to Linux, but don’t have big IT budgets.

However, Stacey Quandt, principal analyst at the Open Source Development Lab, based in Portland, Ore., advised users to take a careful look at the value of migrating their workload from Sun Solaris to Linux.

“If their workload already performs well on Sparc-based Sun Solaris, they don’t really need to migrate to Linux,” she said. But she added that some users might choose to migrate because many businesses are choosing Linux as a strategic direction.

In addition, Quandt explained that while Sun systems have traditionally been expensive, there are some very low-cost Sun Solaris systems that are comparable in price to some HP systems – she said the price margin is closer between 64-bit Sparc and Itanium systems.

As a result, Quandt said this offer would likely be most appealing to customers who have higher-cost Sparc systems from Sun and are looking to consolidate on an X86 ProLiant or an Itanium system.

Since the price margin on those systems are similar, Quandt said HP is likely offering US$25,000 in services to make its offerings slightly cheaper to provide an extra incentive for users thinking of migrating.

On Sept. 24 HP announced it will offer indemnification to its Linux users to prevent them from having to buy Linux licenses from The SCO Group if SCO goes after Linux users. SCO is offering a US$699-per-processor fee to companies running Linux that would let users run it only in binary form. [Please see HP offers Linux customers protection against SCO.]

In March SCO filed a lawsuit against IBM claiming that IBM illegally contributed SCO’s System V Unix code into Linux in attempts to boost its own business. SCO is seeking US$3 billion in damages.

HP is based in Palo Alto, Calif. For more information visit www.hp.com. In Canada, HP is online at www.hp.ca.