McNealy pitches Solaris to HP's Hurd

McNealy pitches Solaris to HP's Hurd

Summary: Just as HP and Intel, along with Oracle, are about to have their Itanium lovefest, Sun CEO Scott McNealy (pictured at the SunRay keyboard presumably typing his letter) fired off his public letter to HP CEO Mark Hurd, encouraging him to shelve HP-UX for Itanium and adopt Solaris 10. Here's the gist of his note:We propose an alternative - that Sun and HP commit to converge HP-UX with Sun's flagship volume UNIX, Solaris 10.

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TOPICS: Hewlett-Packard
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mcnealykeyboard.jpgJust as HP and Intel, along with Oracle, are about to have their Itanium lovefest, Sun CEO Scott McNealy (pictured at the SunRay keyboard presumably typing his letter) fired off his public letter to HP CEO Mark Hurd, encouraging him to shelve HP-UX for Itanium and adopt Solaris 10. Here's the gist of his note:

We propose an alternative - that Sun and HP commit to converge HP-UX with Sun's flagship volume UNIX, Solaris 10.

As Unix operating systems, HP-UX and Solaris 10 share a common heritage. By combining our resources and investments, HP's customer and developer communities would gain the benefit of the fastest growing operating system in the marketplace: improved economics, rapid innovation, and a rich future roadmap otherwise unavailable to your Proliant user base (given that HP-UX doesn't run on Proliant).

Here's some of the subtext from the Inquirer:

Larry Singer, a Sun senior VP, said: "HP's Itanium event this week reminds of the old line 'trying to put lipstick on a pig'". He said: "This is a processor IDC predcted would represent $33 billion in server sales by 2002, and by 2004 had still only accounted for $1.4 billion. Both IBM and Dell ended support citing a lack of customer interest. HP is in a bind, committed to forcing its customers to move to an unpopular architecture and no amount of theatre can change its predicament."

The idea is to get Solaris supported across HP's entire server product line. What's in it for Sun? An outcome in which Solaris could gain some ground on Linux, expand the market for developers, and have a bigger channel for the bucketloads of Sun hardware and "free" software products tuned for the environment. Sun doesn't seem to fear a more level playing field--based on open sourcing software and hardware designs. 

In speaking about open sourcing its products, McNealy said:  "Our view is if you don't have a controversial strategy, you don't have a chance in making a profit. Otherwise you have nothing to differentiate." I wouldn't call it controversial, but is could be disruptive over time, if the support, service and ongoing evolution of the platform are exemplary.  

Sun has spent the last several months dissing HP-UX, including a claim that 70 percent of the market doesn't know that HP-UX is at the end of its life. Hurd is, after seeing him perform the last several months, very practical and capable. Is it worthwhile to have several thousand developers cranking on HP-UX for low volume servers in perpetuity? If not, what are the operating system alternatives? Should he wait for Linux to catch up with Solaris in the segment in which HP-UX has played?

Topic: Hewlett-Packard

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  • McNealy = New and slow, Hurd = fast and outdated

    HP's philosophy behind HP-UX is wildly different from Solaris. Whereas Solaris (and more UNIXes) try for common code bases across multiple CPUs - for ease of development, HP-UX "micromanages" most code to put kernel calls in - for speed. This means that Sun releases NFS v4 (ONC4) for everyone to use, and HP is still using ONC1.2 with its own "special" kernelized code on top of it. This makes Solaris up-to-date and HP-UX the fastest (impressive 20-25% faster). For HP to forgo HP-UX and adopt Solaris would mean that their machines would SLOW DOWN (performance-wise). This sounds absurd, but modifying ALL of your code means that you cannot become an industry leader - since you are ALWAYS YEARS BEHIND in the latest standards.

    HP should probably give up on their highly customized UNIX - but if they make that decision, then Solaris is not much different than Linux, BSD, OS/X, etc.
    Roger Ramjet
  • SUN is clearly struggling and grasping for help

    This "letter" is exactly what Hurd wants to see. That is, SUN is grasping for help from their top competitor to salvage what little hope their is for Solaris. This is music for Hurd and music for Intel.

    When a competitor lashes out in public with "lipstick on pig..", it says that the competition is gaining ground and they are backed to a wall. If HP-UX and/or Itanium is failing, as SUN claims, the last thing you want to do is to publicly admit you are competing with them.

    SUN is a lost cause. Once a leader in enterprise and telecom is a victim of a stubborn CEO with an axe to grind. Instead of leveraging Solaris with partners in Intel, HP, IBM, etc to compete with Microsoft, they chose to alienate them all to push their own dead in the water Sparc processor. Clearly there is a power struggle between Sparc and Solaris groups at Sun and the hardware guys are the ones with the loudest voices.

    Sun is like a comatose patient that just lives on and on and customers do not want to pull the plug because of their Sun legacy systems.
    Prognosticator
    • Sun struggling? Didn't HP/Intel just have an Itanium lovefest today?

      To Rhetoricpolice-Time to get a clue buddy. Have you seen the
      growth momentum of Solaris 10? Even HP and IBM are now
      supporting it! 4M+ licenses and climbing fast. Over 3,000
      applications supported in about a year since release. When was
      the last time you saw any updates on HP-UX or Itanium for that
      matter? Have you seen the UltraSPARC T1? 4-6 times faster than
      Itanium on web tier workloads at a fraction of the cost and
      power consumption. Sun's probably just fed up with the
      constant chest beating from HP and Intel on Itanic. Why the love
      fest now? What news did they have to discuss? Nada. Itanium is
      falling behind, HP-UX has fallen behind and Sun's doing the
      right thing, trying to save customers from despair. Just check
      out the latest here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/24/
      clabby_cured_again/
      ny@...
  • They shoot horses, don't they?

    Isn't it time to shoot Itanium? Itanium is such a money pit I can't beleive that someone inside of HP has not thrown in the towel by now. It's time to move on to something (anything?) else. Port HP-UX to PPC or UltraSparc would be a better idea than keeping this foolish Itanium dream alive.
    balsover
  • ever used Solaris?

    I'll be the first to admit, I am no Solaris Sys Admin, but it is the most backward and difficult to use Unix out there. Including SunOS 5.10, there is no Administration tool. HP-UX has sam, AIX has smit, Sun has nothing. There is no lvm! I just bought a new 5.10 box and it came with hard partitions!! HP-UX has had built in lvm since '96,'95, sooner?
    Its still a wacked mix of BSD and Sys 5 with funny little config files all over the place. Yuck to Solaris.
    runixuser