HP's new target: service providers

HANNOVER, Germany -- Hewlett-Packard Co. is making a play for service providers with a comprehensive product rollout that includes, among other things, new HP 9000 servers, enhanced disk arrays, and several new installation and pricing initiatives.

HANNOVER, Germany -- Hewlett-Packard Co. is making a play for service providers with a comprehensive product rollout that includes, among other things, new HP 9000 servers, enhanced disk arrays, and several new installation and pricing initiatives.

The service provider push is a reflection of the trends in the business more than anything else, according to HP officials here at CeBIT, where the products and strategy were introduced Friday.

"Everything we're doing here today is focused on the changes service providers are going through today and to-morrow," said Rudi Schmickl, business manager for the Business Critical Computing Unit of HP Western Europe. "Service providers want to know [the answer to the question], 'What's the result?' They say to their customers, 'You can buy transactions that cost you so much.' But what they need is the infrastructure to do it."

At the heart of that infrastructure, as HP sees it, is the storage of terabytes of data and the ability to access it. To that end, HP announced its Open Storage Area Networking initiative, which comprises HP's SureStore E SAN Manager software, Open SAN software program, SAN Interoperability program and SAN Integration centers, designed to test potential storage solutions for customers, among other things.

Equally important for service providers and enterprise customers is the ability to quickly and seamlessly expand their storage capacity as their businesses grow. Addressing that need, HP announced today the instant Capacity On Demand for Storage solution. Basically, this brings together products, software and services from multiple vendors (including Sun Microsystems Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., IBM, as well as HP) to go along with the company's SureStore E Disk Array XP256.

HP will work with customers and third parties to devise custom storage capacity and extension programs depending on each customer's needs. In addition, iCOD customers are afforded rapid HP-run installations and flexible pricing. For example, because the XP256 can be equipped with limited storage initially, customers pay only when that initial capacity is used up.

Expertise 'beyond the core'

Complementing the XP256 is the new HP SureStore E Auto LUN XP security management software. It is designed to boost performance when migrating data between RAID 5 and RAID 1 systems.

"You have to have expertise beyond the core storage and device driver level," said David Scott, a general manager at HP's Enterprise Storage Business Unit in Cupertino, Calif. "You have to have expertise in operating systems, in databases, and expertise in applications." HP, Scott says, is well positioned in that regard.

For the mobile end of the service provider spectrum, HP announced its mobile e-commerce platform, which is essentially a combination of either an HP 9000 or NetServer with HP-UX or Windows NT and a WAP (Wireless Application Server) server from Nokia. The platform is available now. Pricing depends on hardware configurations.

And on the back end, HP today announced an enhanced HP 9000 N-Class Enterprise Server that features a new PA-8600 CPU that can run as high as 550MHz and doubles the memory capacity to 32GB. The machine is due to ship on March 1 for about $67,000.

HP can be reached at www.hp.com.

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