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HP talks up approach to next-generation data center

Open source will be important to HP's expansion of its software and services business, says Ann Livermore.

SAN FRANCISCO--A business' success or failure hinges on how well it understands the importance of information technology, and Hewlett-Packard wants to do it all.

That's according to Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP. At LinuxWorld on Wednesday, Livermore outlined how the Palo Alto, Calif., company envisions the next-generation data center, which has been on the lips of IT executives for several years. The Linux community will continue to be important as more businesses embrace the concept, she told the audience gathered for the conference here.

Almost all CEOs see the importance of information technology to their companies' success, but "almost none of them are satisfied that IT is driving the business outcomes they want," Livermore said.

HP, she said, is committed to expanding and being an all-in-one solution for businesses looking to embrace the combined services plus data center concept--scalable, fully automated virtual environments. How HP envisions this architecture is not completely new, she said. It is "in some ways what people have been talking about for a very long time."

The Linux community either currently is or will be factoring into HP's plans in this area. Already one-third of the servers the company ships are Linux-based. According to Livermore, HP ships a Linux server every minute.

IT management software is a market HP wants to own. "You're going to see us invest like crazy" in this area, Livermore said.

HP has already spent a good chunk of change on Mercury Interactive, a management software maker, which it purchased last year. The company is also buying its way into the virtualization and automation software businesses to compete with IBM's services and software business. Last month, HP announced it will acquire Neoware, maker of thin client and virtualization software, and Opsware, which does data center automation software. Livermore hinted there will be more to come in this area.