The software will come with several enhancements designed to make HP's servers better suited to the Internet, said Mark Hudson, general manager of HP's business-critical computing group. The software will include software components from HP and several other companies designed for running Web sites, e-commerce and other Internet operations.
In the longer term, the new operating system will be useful for HP's upcoming high-end "Superdome" Unix server, due by this fall, and other new servers running on Intel's Itanium chip due in the fourth quarter, Hudson said. HP-UX 11i will work on computers with as many as 256 CPUs.
Unlike Microsoft, HP won't charge for the upgrade. Like rivals IBM, Compaq Computer and market-leading Sun Microsystems, HP views its operating system chiefly as a part of the entire package of hardware, software and services. Spurred by the increasing importance of the Internet and powerful computers in general, the companies are locked in a battle that analysts expect to put pressure on the hardware makers' profit margins.
HP has acknowledged missing the first wave of customers buying systems for building Internet sites, but analysts believe the company is likely to succeed with its newer systems coupled with financing and marketing efforts.
HP has about 2,000 programmers working on HP-UX, said Ram Appalaraju, marketing director for HP's E-service operating environment group.
Software for the HP-UX 11 is guaranteed to work on HP-UX 11i as well, Hudson said.
The new version includes software from Infoseek, Resonate, Sun-Netscape alliance's iPlanet, Apache, BEA Systems and others, Appalaraju said.
By the first quarter of 2001, the new OS will be able to run Linux software as well, he said.