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HP, Oracle cooperate on flexible computing

Their products will work together across a computing infrastructure that can adapt automatically to changing work demands.

SAN FRANCISCO--Hewlett-Packard is working with Oracle to let their respective products work together across a computing infrastructure that can adapt automatically to changing work demands, CEO Mark Hurd announced on Tuesday.

Under the effort, called "Optimize for Agility," the two companies' management software will exchange information about events and equipment status so system administrators can more easily detect system problems. The ultimate hope is that the partnership will make it easier to maintain guaranteed service levels for different tasks.

"It will allow companies to identify, allocate and reallocate resources, from servers and storage to network capacity, without impacting user productivity," HP's Hurd said in a keynote speech.

click to view photos of Mark Hurd

Specifically, the effort will link HP's OpenView management software with Oracle's 10g database and Enterprise Manager software. The companies announced the effort here at the Oracle OpenWorld conference.

The alliance makes sense for a number of reasons. For one thing, the two companies have 88,000 joint customers, with more than 70 percent of HP's midrange Unix server customers using Oracle and 90 percent of HP high-end Superdome Unix server customers also using Oracle, Hurd said. For another, IBM is working on the same general idea, but Big Blue already controls both the database and server technology.

A key foundation to the HP-Oracle initiative is technology called "virtualization," which shields software from the particulars of the hardware it's using. By breaking that tight link, virtualization makes it easier to move applications from one server to another, to expand or shrink storage, and to run multiple operating systems on a single machine.

HP's Unix servers today are chiefly powered by its own PA-RISC processor, but the company is rapidly moving to the Intel Itanium family HP initiated and helped develop. Though the Itanium family hasn't caught on as widely as originally hoped, Hurd voiced HP's continued endorsement.

"We're excited about HP's Itanium momentum and remain committed to its progress," Hurd said. "We're working closely with Oracle to port all their applications to Itanium."

Hurd also offered a broad view of his plans for HP, beginning with his vision for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.

"My goal for HP is that we want to be a company that provides technology products and services that help you succeed in business and in life," Hurd said. "We will do it better than anyone else in the world. We'll be the company that makes you want to come back to us again and again."

He acknowledged that HP is sprawling, complex and hard to deal with at times. Much of Hurd's work will be to make HP "a simpler, more nimble company," and to provide "a clear line of sight from our businesses to our customers."

Doing so will "promote faster responses, faster decisions, better alignment and less bureaucracy," Hurd said. "It'll enable us to deliver more competitively priced products. It will make us more predictable. It will sharpen our focus on customers, partners and technology."

It also comes at a price for HP employees. The company previously said that it is cutting 14,500 jobs.