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HP leans on Veritas for Unix boost

Faced with delays integrating technology from Compaq's version of Unix into its own, HP goes with Veritas.

Hewlett-Packard, faced with delays integrating technology from Compaq Computer's version of Unix into its own, said Thursday it will instead rely on software from Veritas.

HP will incorporate into its HP-UX operating system elements of Veritas software used for linking computers working together in a tight grouping called a cluster. Previously, HP had been trying to add features called TruCluster and Advanced File System from Tru64 Unix, the operating system HP acquired in 2002 from Compaq, which in turn acquired it in 1998 from original developer Digital Equipment Corporation.

"We are scrapping it," said Rich Marcello, general manager of HP's business critical server group. "The original schedule called for delivery of that technology right now. We slipped to mid-2006...It would probably be mid-2007 before people could take advantage of it in production environments."

At the same time that HP had delays on its own project, Veritas technology had largely caught up with what TruCluster offers, Marcello said. In addition, Veritas software is widely used among HP Unix customers and works with Linux as well as Unix, he said. The Veritas software will be incorporated into HP's Serviceguard cluster software product.

Sun Microsystems, HP's main rival in the Unix server market along with IBM, has based a marketing campaign on HP's delays in bringing the Tru64 features to HP-UX, a move important to HP's attempt to retain its Tru64 customers. All those customers have to switch to some new system at some point, and Sun and IBM are trying to get the business.

HP is scaling back some of its businesses to try to become more competitive. It announced earlier in November a plan to cut some of its 150,000 employees by the end of April, a restructuring program that will cost about $200 million. Overall, however, HP expects to add more staff.

Also as a result of the deal announced Thursday, Veritas advanced its schedule to support HP-UX on Intel's Itanium processors; previously the software was available only for HP-UX running on HP's PA-RISC chips, which are being gradually phased out.

The Veritas software will be available for HP servers using both chips in the third quarter of 2005; previously Veritas had planned on the end of 2005 or 2006, said Sanjay Poonen, vice president of strategic alliances for Veritas.

Financial terms of the deal weren't released.

The clustering software is part of HP's Virtual Server Environment, technology designed to let customers increase or decrease computing resources allocated to specific tasks as workloads grow or shrink.

HP has nearly brought the version of HP-UX for its Itanium-based Integrity line of servers to parity with the version for its PA-RISC based HP 9000 line, Marcello said.

The last major piece missing from the Itanium version is virtual partitions, or vPars, a mechanism to divide a single server so it can run several independent operating systems, Marcello said. That feature should arrive in the first half of 2005, he said.

The next update, HP-UX 11i version 3, is due in 2006, Marcello said. It will have improvements in multiprocessor support as well as the ability to run simultaneous instruction sequences called threads.