Sun Microsystems Tuesday officially launched an aggressive attack on
Hewlett-Packard and the computer and printer maker’s joint partnership with Intel.
Designed to take advantage of HP customers running Alpha processors and Tru64 operating systems, Sun
unveiled its “HP Away” migration program as a “no-risk alternative” to being forced to migrate to
Itanium-based systems — a platform Sun says has “a questionable track record and limited industry
A spokesperson with HP was not immediately available for comment.
HP’s vision of the future for its AlphaServer customers is heavily reliant on the Itanium architecture, which
is slowly making its way into server rooms. According to the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s server
roadmap, HP will eventually transfer all processor support from its Alpha chip line to Intel’s Itanium
platform, which it co-developed. Sources close to HP say the company’s current 40
percent support for the former DEC processor and its corresponding Compaq operating system will
shift to less than 20 percent of HP’s total server lineup as early as 2005. The company is expected
to completely abandon all Alpha support by 2013.
To that end, HP recently released a new version of its HP-UX operating system tailored to fit the Itanium
Sun says IT executives should realize that if Itanium server shipments don’t reach levels that are
economically sustainable for HP, the company could be forced to consider migrating Alpha/Tru64
customers to still another platform.
Under the migration plan, Sun is offering a two-week Alpha/Tru64 to Solaris OS migration assessment
service. If the customer decides not to proceed with the Tru64 to Solaris migration, Sun said it will absorb
the cost of the assessment. The company said it will defer payment for the entire migration-including Sun
services, servers, and software-until completion of the engagement, up to 90 days. And if the customer goes
with the deal, Sun said it will take care of the application porting through its professional services group in
concert with its ISV partners, systems administrators and Sun’s iForce centers.
With an estimated 400,000 Alpha/Tru64 installed servers, according to Sun’s stats, the Santa Clara,
Calif.-based company smells blood in the water.
“Its not everyday a competitor unlocks its vault and makes it easy to steal away their customers,” said Sun
vice president Larry Singer. “We have a golden opportunity to grow our UNIX server leadership position.
We’re fully mobilized to target the entire Alpha/Tru64 installed base, with the goal of moving a large
percentage to Sun Solaris. We’re confident that customers comparing the proven track record of SPARC
and Solaris to the shaky history of Itanium will choose Sun.”