Sun rollout reflects anti-HP image

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Sun has ramped up its attack on HP with its quarterly global products release, which focuses on networking convergence and platform migration.

Paul O'Connor, director for partner sales at Sun, said the release offered consistent branding on systems and services based on Intel and AMD processors, for both 32-bit and 64-bit computing. However, users of HP's Alpha servers were particularly targeted for migration to Sun offerings.

“Alpha has come to a dead-end, and the migration strategy that HP has for them keeps on flip-flopping,” O'Connor said.

O'Connor said the Opteron processors in particular offered new partner opportunities as more businesses wanted to move towards 64-bit computing that still used 32-bit applications.

“Basically, the focus is on putting together a lot of elements around our key strategy of reducing costs and complexity,” he said. “The other key takeaway for the channel is around reference architectures and infrastructure solutions around 64-bit migration.”
 
Service provider partners Kaz Group and DMO would play a key role in that rollout.

“They will be working with us aggressively on migration and will be on the local release of the Tru64 migration program,” O'Connor added.

Peter Hall, director of business critical systems at HP Asia-Pacific, hit back at claims HP's migration strategy for Alpha users was inadequate. Alpha -- and Tru64 -- customers were staying put, he said.

“You normally get about five percent churn -- and customers are not necessarily leaving HP but churning to ProLiant. They're still staying with us,” Hall said. “When Sun talks about flip-flopping they should look in their own backyard.”

He said HP and Oracle were holding their own in the high-end database space. “Sun hasn't had a strong product [there] for many years now,” he said.

Hall said TruCluster software still had “true cluster” features Sun couldn't challenge, and pairing that functionality with HP-UX would keep its Unix offering stronger even after migration to Itanium. “Sun would have nothing in that category -- they're several years behind in that area,” he said.

Meanwhile, HP had delivered its generation refresh of Alpha servers as promised, and offered an “excellent evolution path” to Itanium, Hall said.

Sun announced at its SunNetwork conference in German capital Berlin on 4 December 10 network computer components, including a new AMD Athlon single-processor SunFire server priced from $2,800, a specialty proxy blade server priced from $21,550, and 10 networking software packages, including Solaris OS version 9.

The vendor also announced a range of other solutions and services, including software for accelerated network deployment. A Sun-Red Hat Linux software and services package targets companies migrating to Linux who want to retrain their IT staff accordingly, an infrastructure package for mainframe to Sun migration, and five new reference architectures.

Sun also released Software Express for Solaris, an “early access” program enabling Solaris OS updates to be downloaded free for non-commercial use, or for $190 a year for business use. The vendor claimed the program would make OS updates easier to obtain.

Other existing Sun partners would be recruited to help with the rollout, but no new partners were sought at this stage, O'Connor said.

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