HP details enterprise NetServer direction

Hewlett-Packard has announced a number of products, including rack-mounted models for its NetServer line, that will help put it on the same footing as Compaq and get HP ready to be a bigger player in the Windows NT market, analysts say.

Hewlett-Packard has announced a number of products, including rack-mounted models for its NetServer line, that will help put it on the same footing as Compaq and get HP ready to be a bigger player in the Windows NT market, analysts say.

The NetServer LXr Pro and the HP NetServer Rack Storage/8 system are scalable rack-mounted servers based on HP's existing NetServer LX architecture.

Analysts say this announcement gives HP an offering more competitive with Compaq's ProLiant 6000.

"HP has delivered rack solutions in the past, but not officially," says Peter Lowber, an analyst at DataPro Information Services. "It is now officially announcing a net rack server product, and a rack storage product, as well, for disk drives."

"[HP] is almost even with the [Compaq] ProLiant 6000," says DH Brown analyst Devin Comiskey. "With LX PRO and LXR, storage memory-wise, it is about even, and now it also has a rack-mounting option for both machines."

HP has also announced availability of the NetServer LH Pro, which supports up to two 200MHz Pentium Pro processors with 512Kb of cache and comes standard with 64Mb of error checking and correcting (ECC) memory.

In addition,the company has announced a series of high-performance, high-capacity peripherals, including 10,000 RPM 4Gb disk drives, DLT (digital linear tape) libraries, unattended backup operations, support for high-capacity storage systems from EMC and a rack-mounted, uninterruptable power supply.

But with the market place becoming so commoditised, the real key to HP's announcements is providing the best service, says Amir Ahari, an analyst with International Data (IDC).

"What customers are looking for is what's going to make HP different from IBM or Compaq if the products are the same," he says.

"HP's strategy to bring on the VARs and certify and train them, specifically at the high-end enterprise systems, is a big move," Ahari says, adding that it will help HP as the company enters the Windows NT enterprise market.

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