HP boosts IBM middleware on HP-UX operating system

HP will release a new version of its HP-UX OS this fall, and along with agreements with IBM and Tibco, seek to grab more share in the Unix market.

In an effort to grab more Unix users, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has announced that it will make its HP-UX operating system more compatible with the leading middleware products from IBM.

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HP also announced that this fall it will release its first new version in three years of the operating system, and that Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tibco Software Inc. would make HP-UX a preferred platform for its Unix customers.

Research firms IDC and Gartner Inc. released first-quarter market share reports this week showing that revenue and shipments for Unix-based servers were down. But HP is still one of the big players in Unix servers -- along with Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM. Sun has a small edge over HP and IBM, but each has about 30% of the market.

Furthermore, analyst Joe Clabby, president of Yarmouth, Maine-based Clabby Analytics, said that HP-UX is the company's strongest operating environment and it is not going to give up just because revenue on Unix servers has gone down. The news will also help HP push its Itanium-based Integrity server line.

Clabby said that making HP-UX compatible with more IBM middleware on its WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli and other brands was big news and a long time coming.

"The No. 1 infrastructure middleware producer in the world is IBM," he said. "So that has been a big hole in the side of the HP-UX ship, that they couldn't support the No. 1 vendor in the middleware market."

Clabby said he looks at it from an HP salespersons' view. The more ammunition they have, the better. If they can go to users and tell them that HP-UX is compatible with a wider variety of middleware, it makes the sell easier.

"If a user happens to be sold big on WebSphere, and you don't have it, you're kind of screwed," he said. "This is a huge step in the right direction."

Products such as WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Universal Database and Tivoli Storage Manager are already available on HP Integrity servers, but the company claims that the expanded compatibility with IBM will almost triple the amount of its middleware available on the HP platform.

"This agreement demonstrates significantly increased collaboration between HP and the IBM Software Group and the importance of the HP Integrity server family and HP-UX 11i for our joint customers," Ron Eller, vice president of alliances at HP, said in a statement. "With this agreement, we are providing our customers with a clear path to the future."

HP's agreement with Tibco will allow more of the software company's products to support HP Integrity servers running HP-UX in the next year. The company provides business process management and service-oriented architecture software.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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