HP drops plans to put Compaq technology into HP-UX

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has abandoned plans to integrate a number of advanced technologies it acquired in its 2002 purchase of Compaq Computer Corp. into its flagship HP-UX operating system. The Palo Alto, Calif., computer maker has instead decided to partner with Veritas Software Corp. to bring new file system and clustering capabilities to its Unix software, the two companies announced Thursday.

HP had intended to integrate two features from the Tru64 operating system into its Unix product, which would have improved the scalability and reliability of HP-UX. Called the Advanced Filesystem and TruCluster, the features were scheduled to be part of the HP-UX 11i V3 product release, which was expected in 2006. HP had initially hoped to complete the work by the end of 2004, but this deadline was pushed back because of the complexity of the integration work, analysts said.

“What we found was that we could deliver something that was essentially equivalent to what we could deliver with the TruCluster technology by integrating Serviceguard and HP products with the Veritas Storage Foundation suite, and we could do that by 2005 instead of 2006,” said Rich Marcello, senior vice-president and general manager of HP’s Business Critical Servers group.

The decision to drop the Tru64 integration will do nothing to help the public perception of HP-UX, which has been characterized as a neglected product by HP’s rivals.

“This is a little bit of a setback, there’s no way to disguise that,” said Tony Iams, a senior analyst with D.H. Brown Associates Inc. “There were repeated delays and now they’re basically admitting that they’re not going to be able to do the integration,” he said.

Though the failed Tru64 integration may not reflect well on HP, the Veritas partnership is good news for HP’s customers, who will now get access to advanced clustering and file system technology much quicker than they had previously expected, Iams said.

“From a customer standpoint, this is not necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “It was looking like there was going to be a lot of surgery done on the OS to get to version three, and customers get nervous when you have a lot of change to the platform like that,” he said.

HP plans to begin shipping four bundles of the Veritas products integrated with HP’s Serviceguard high availability software. The bundles will combine the Veritas Storage Foundation and Clustered File Systems with Serviceguard, and there will also be bundles for Oracle Corp.’s database and RAC clustering software.

The software bundles will be available for HP-UX in the third quarter of 2005. Linux support will follow, though HP declined to say when this was expected. Pricing was not available.

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