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HP Enlists Partners to Help Steal Sun's Customers

By Andy Patrizio (Send Email)
Posted Dec 15, 2009


IBM has been crowing about its efforts to lure away Sun Microsystems customers, but it's not the only major IT vendor hoping to benefit from Sun's continued woes. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) today announced it has a trio of new operating system partners to help it with its own efforts to attract disenchanted Sun customers. Microsoft, Novell, and Red Hat join up with the hardware giant to ease customers' transition off Solaris.

The two IT giants have been on a tear since even before Sun got caught up in an almost year-long acquisition drama that began with courtship by IBM (NYSE: IBM) but culminated in a proposed acquisition by Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL). While Sun's proprietary hardware had been falling out of favor as the vendor slipped behind the technology curve, the protracted -- and as-yet unresolved -- merger with Oracle has opened the door for IBM and HP to grab as many customers as they can.

Switching server providers, especially mission-critical servers like Sun's (NASDAQ: JAVA) UltraSparc-based servers, isn't a simple rip-and-replace task. A lot of planning and assistance is required to safely move stable, essential custom apps that may have been written a decade ago.

While IBM has its Migration Factory program to help in the process, HP has the former EDS (now called HP Enterprise Services) -- and now can add Microsoft, Novell and Red Hat to the list.

That's in addition to the new HP Complete Care program, which it said would further help enterprises make the move.

"We work with customers -- from assessing their environment to figuring out what the best experience is for them moving forward -- to help them determine their objectives when moving off their current environment," Lorraine Bartlett, vice president of marketing strategy and operation for HP's business-critical systems unit, told InternetNews.com.

Complete Care offers proof-of-concept, initial assessments, application migration, implementation and total life cycle services. This is done through the Migration Competency Center based in Grenoble, France.

The partners will add their own expertise. For example, Novell will offer a 50 percent discount on SUSE Linux Enterprise Fundamentals on-demand training while Red Hat will offer up to 25 percent off Red Hat Global Training.

Customers can choose between HP ProLiant servers and blades running Intel Xeon processors or HP's Integrity servers, which run Intel Itanium processors and HP's HP-UX Unix operating system. Those are geared at the mission-critical market.

The primary challenge for HP is porting custom apps. "In working with customers, if they have their own custom code, we have a migration center that has a lot of expertise in migrating from Sparc to x86 or HP-UX on Integrity, or we work with an operating system partner to migrate Solaris apps to Windows or Linux," Bartlett said.

It's paying off, too. During HP's fiscal quarter ending Oct. 31, it scored 179 former Sun users as wins, bringing the year's total to 350 customer migrations -- almost one new addition per day.

Now with the assistance of its three new partners to aid in the task of moving off Solaris, HP intends to continue chasing those customers, Bartlett said.

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