HP's first birthday sees users calm

Customer concerns going into the HP acquisition of Compaq appear to have largely evaporated one year on.

Customer concerns going into the HP acquisition of Compaq appear to have largely evaporated one year on.

Users had worried that product lines would be dumped along with specialist staff within the two vendors, and that service levels would suffer.

The MetService has had its worst fears — that it would have to move off Compaq’s OpenVMS operating system — allayed since HP and Compaq too joined forces. The meteorological service, which runs its core systems on OpenVMS, was concerned that Open VMS would be neglected after Compaq appeared to be touting Tru64. HP has reaffirmed its commitment to OpenVMS and recently reintroduced monthly technical sessions for OpenVMS users, a regular event under Digital (itself taken over by Compaq in 1998) that last year fell by the wayside as HP and Compaq manoeuvred alongside each other.

MetService services delivery manager Kevin Alder is also pleased that HP has retained its OpenVMS technical staff.

“We’re still dealing with the same guys that we’ve been talking to for the last six, eight, 10 years.”

Alder says the service isn’t too concerned about having to move from its current processor platform of Alpha to Itanium (IA-64).

Although MetService runs Red Hat Linux on Intel “white box” servers for tasks such as web serving, it has no plans to use the open source operating system for business-critical systems and doesn’t look to HP or any of the major vendors to come out with a Linux strategy.

Genesis Research, an Auckland-based biotech research company, uses Compaq servers and storage systems and HP for peripherals such as printers. Genesis Research IT manager Dingyi Xu says he is a little concerned about HP’s move toward the IA-64 processor. His main issue is with HP’s discontinuation of Tru64 Unix, which Compaq inherited when it bought Digital. He says once Tru64 is phased out Genesis Research will probably move to Linux rather than HP-UX, mainly because of technical familiarity.

Xu says he has no preference when it comes to desktop PCs and describes the service levels from HP since the merger as “pretty good”.

Like Xu, it seems that the majority of Tru64 Unix sites will be hanging in to the bitter end if polls on the HP user group (HP Encompass) website are any indication.

In March users were asked whether the merger had caused them to change their Tru64 Unix purchasing decisions.

Of the 109 who responded 16% said they are adopting a wait-and-see attitude for the next 12 months, a quarter said they are re-evaluating their long-term plans, about a third said they had decided to stop buying Alpha servers when the IA-64 strategy was announced and another quarter said they had confidence in the transition of Tru64 to HP-UX and continue to buy Alpha servers.

In January HP users were asked if they had plans to transition from OpenVMS or Tru64 Unix to another platform, and what they were considering. Of the 201 replies, more than half said OpenVMS on IA-64, about 10% said another Unix, 17 said Windows on IA-64 or IA-32, the same number said Linux on IA-64 or IA-32, 13 said HP-UX on IA-64 and a dozen said another operating system.

In April Alpha users were asked what their intentions were with the continued development of the processor to EV79 technology from the current EV7 and EV68. Of the 147 people who took part in the poll, half said they would buy new Alpha systems through to 2005 and beyond before transitioning to IA-64, a quarter said they would continue to buy Alpha until they had re-evaluated their server strategy, about 10% said they would stay with one or other HP platform and 13% said they would switch vendor.

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