HP slashes NZ Unix server prices by 45%

Hewlett-Packard is making an aggressive assault on the enterprise Unix market in New Zealand, cutting the price of its HP 9000 series by 45% and recruiting several sales staff. The three-month discount, which came into force last Monday and is specific to New Zealand, is targeted squarely at Sun Microsystems' Unix servers.

Hewlett-Packard is making an aggressive assault on the enterprise Unix market in New Zealand, cutting the price of its HP 9000 series by 45% and recruiting several sales staff.

The three-month discount, which came into force last Monday and is specific to New Zealand, is targeted squarely at Sun Microsystems' Unix servers, though HP is keen to attract customers from vendors currently using rival products such as IBM's RS/6000 and AS/400. The campaign was announced at the launch of HP's N-class Unix servers. The HP 9000 N-class, which runs on version 11 of HP's 64-bit Unix, HP-UX, is a midrange box offering 360MHz and 440MHz PA-8500 chips and intended to slot in between the existing K- and V-class machines. HP claims an N-class box equivalent to the E3500 will offer twice the performance at the same price, and the same performance as a 24-CPU E6500 using an eight-CPU N-class box at half the price. The company promises an easy upgrade for the N-class to Intel's 64-bit architecture when it arrives next year.

HP in New Zealand will recruit three or four extra sales people to back up the campaign, says HP's general manager of the enterprise accounts organisation for Australia and New Zealand, Norry McAllister. Sun's been "making hay" in New Zealand of late, say McAllister, and he is "unhappy" at the lack of aggression by HP in the Unix server market. It's more a case of Sun performing and HP underperforming, he suggests. McAllister says the loss of New Zealand head Bob Cattell was not connected to the recent company changes or the Unix drive. Cattell left to "pursue other options", says McAllister.

A Linux version of the N-class is planned. HP is working with the open-source company Puffin Group to port PA-RISC ship to Linux.

In regard to HP's recent split into two companies and four computer divisions, McAllister says HP will take a "portfolio" approach to sales, meaning not every part of a sale has to make a profit as in the past. This is likely to be passed on the consumers in lower prices, he says.

Mark Broatch attended the Sydney briefing courtesy of the company.

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