Hewlett Packard came out swinging in the competitive e-commerce arena, saying it wasn't in the business of selling more servers while offering an e-commerce solution, as it claimed IBM is. And it's not missing in action on e-commerce applications, as it claimed Sun Microsystems is.
But in an interview, Nigel Ball, HP's general manager of the Internet and Applications Systems Division, acknowledged that HP still doesn't have a clear choice of an application server for its proposed Web architecture, and it's trying to make up its mind about the best way to manage transactions.
HP offered the first two pieces of its quality of service approach to Web e-commerce applications this week in an event at the landmark Old Treasury Building in downtown San Francisco. The pieces work with HP's Unix and HP 9000 Precision Architecture servers and give e-commerce tasks higher priority than HyperText Markup Language-page serving and other informational tasks on a server.
HP's ServiceControl application on a Web server can invoke administrator-assigned priorities once a site visitor shifts from browsing to buying, Ball said. It can also provide load-balancing across a group of servers so that Internet transactions get treated as a higher priority, regardless of other demands on the server group. It is priced at $800 (£482) per central processing unit and will be available June 1.
HP's Domain Commerce is a $3,995 (£2,407) application that allows HP customers to manage HP 9000 servers, applications and networks centrally from a Web browser. It is expected to be available Aug. 1. But HP is still putting together the pieces of its quality of service program. It brought several third-party providers up to share the podium, such as spokesmen for e-commerce software suppliers BroadVision and Open Market Inc.
In addition, it plans to integrate its e-commerce applications with an application server or servers but hasn't made its choices among third-party suppliers yet Ball said. He said HP is looking at BEA Systems' Tuxedo and other candidates for transaction management software and will make a recommendation "in the next two months."