HP DELIVERS ON INFRASTRUCTURE INITIATIVE
Talk to almost anyone at HP and somewhere in the conservation, you’ll hear, "We are in the infrastructure business." It’s hard to doubt the commitment: HP continues to unveil initiatives and deals that position the company as a major provider of the infrastructure for e-services and the new e-world in general.
In two recent moves, HP announced Infrastructure-on-Tap, a new service that delivers back-end infrastructure to Web-centric businesses over the Internet, and a partnership with service provider, PRIMUS Telecommunication Group, to combine HP infrastructure with PRIMUS’ services.
Infrastructure-on-Tap, designed, owned and operated by HP, combines HP’s UNIX and Windows NT systems, along with enabling software applications, and database management and infrastructure systems from HP and partners, like Cisco, Microsoft, Nortel Networks and Oracle. HP manages facilities and network services through alliances with wholesale service providers.
The service offers ASPs, hubs, portals and exchanges a scalable, high-availability infrastructure, but requires no upfront IT investment. "Leveraging the similarities in IT architecture requirements, HP shifted the paradigm from ‘you have to build it’ to ‘you have a choice,’" says Ann Livermore, President of HP’s Enterprise and Commercial Business. "If you’re a large enterprise, building your own IT infrastructure may make sense. But, most B2B hubs build only because they fear a sudden rise in business could pull down their Web sites and decrease revenues. Valuable resources are used for IT infrastructures that are not fully utilized – in case their capacity spikes periodically."
HP’s initial targets for Infrastructure-on-Tap are business-to-business hubs, a lucrative market. IDC predicts that the number of B2B electronic marketplaces will grow from about 1,000 today to almost 10,000 within the next 18 months.
ERP vendor, Lawson Software, and IPNet Solutions, a provider of software used to create electronic trading exchanges, are HP’s first customers for Infrastructure-on-Tap. Lawson is using the service to power its ijob electronic recruiting services.
HP Funds Start-Up to Deliver Infrastructure
HP has formed a deal with PRIMUS to supply the service provider with up to $50 million, offered through a convertible debt arrangement. PRIMUS will use the financing to upgrade its global broadband network, designed for small to mid-size companies developing Web-based businesses.
The partnership combines HP infrastructure and PRIMUS’ services. PRIMUS will deliver its Internet, data and voice services through HP-powered data centers deployed through the service provider’s existing worldwide facilities-based communications network.
PRIMUS will spend much of the HP investment to expand its data centers in Western Europe, Australia, Japan, Brazil and other regions. The first of the 10,000-square-foot data centers based on HP technology is expected to open in the United Kingdom by June. PRIMUS intends to build another four data centers by the end of the year.
PRIMUS is deploying HP’s UNIX and NT servers, storage products and software in the data centers, as well as relying on HP for technical support. Starting with the U.K. and Australia, and then expanding to other targeted countries, PRIMUS will also offer HP’s Commerce for the Millennium solution on the PRIMUS global backbone network. Moreover, PRIMUS intends to enhance the HP solution by bundling other communications services with it.
SPEEDWARE ENTERS WIRELESS APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT SPACE
Speedware Corporation, a provider of application development tools and business intelligence technology, has become one of the first tools vendors to break into the Internet wireless communications space. Internet wireless communications represents a burgeoning market, according to Forrester Research, which predicts that Americans will spend almost $60 billion for wireless services in 2005.
Speedware’s entries in the wireless arena are a graphical development tool designed specifically for developing wireless Internet applications, and new professional services aimed at helping companies build wireless applications.
The new tool, MobileDev, recognizes the differences between standard Internet development and development devised specially for wireless Internet technology, according to Chris Koppe, Speedware’s Director of Wireless Business Development. "There are no vendors creating tools specifically for wireless development," Koppe says. "XML and Internet tools vendors support WML and HDML presentation layers, but these tools do not have the appropriate graphical representations for wireless objects, nor do they support key features that differentiate wireless applications from Internet applications."
The features Koppe refers to include subscriber ID, alert notifications and location-based services. Not currently supported by the Internet and Web browsers, they are key within the wireless space.
Speedware touts MobileDev for its "rich graphical interface," as well as its ability to speed development and provide for easy maintenance of wireless applications. "Currently, the development of applications for wireless is a slow process, but MobileDev allows for application development in record time – as much as five and 10 times over traditional methods," Koppe says.
NORTEL LEADS GROUP TO DEVELOP BROADBAND STANDARDS
Nortel Networks Corp. is heading up a group of more than 30 Internet infrastructure, content and service providers in an effort to set common standards for broadband delivery over the Internet. The group, called the Broadband Content Delivery Forum (BCDF), aims to drive broadband by making sure vendors develop common equipment and services, instead of fighting over competing technology.
Nortel has lined up some big-time support for its effort. BCDF boasts networking heavyweights HP, Sun and BT (British Telecommunications), as well as broadcasters like BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and NBC’s Internet Unit as members.
Nortel has set some specific goals for the group, one of which is to accelerate delivery of data over the Internet. The group will also work to improve the quality of the transmission of high-speed video and data services. By doing this, BCDF plans to encourage use of these services and drive development of new products.
The group also plans to develop technology that allows networks to identify Web customers. Service providers could use this kind of technology to create personalized content and servers for their customers.
The first meeting of BCDF is scheduled for this month. Other members include Akamai Technologies, Aliant, Alta Vista, AT&T Broadband, Bertelsmann, Be Here, Broadband Digital Group, Broadjump, Canbras Communications, CMGI, DSL Networks, El Mundo, Enron, First Mark Comm, iKnowledge, InfoLibria, InfoSpace.com, Inktomi, NetActive, Qwest Communications International, Redo Ajato, Starguide Digital Network, Telocity, Telstra, TVA Sistema de Televisao, Universo Online and Zyan Communications.
HP DEBUTS 6-WAY INTEL-BASED SERVERS AT 4-WAY PRICE
In a bid to boost sales of its 4-way Intel-based servers, HP has unveiled new offerings – and challenged some conventions of the 4-way marketplace. HP’s new NetServer LH 6000 and LT 6000r aren’t your traditional 4-ways. They also offer 6-way processing – the capability of scaling up to six Pentium III Xeon processors.
To introduce the LH 6000 and LT 6000r, HP is giving customers the chance to order the 6-way for the same $25,000 price as a 4-way. The promotion lasts through June. To take advantage of it, customers must purchase a 6-way design and order through HP’s Select Express Program. In this program, HP’s Channel Partners funnel customer orders on to HP, which then configures, tests, and ships the machines. A 6-way NetServer carries a price tag of $30,000. Prices for the 6000s start much lower than this, of course – $7,299 for the NetServer LH 6000 and $8,199 for the LT 6000r. The servers will ship this month.
FROM THE BENCH
HP is publicizing a number of different benchmarks that show the 6000s outperforming the Compaq ProLiant 6400 and Sun Enterprise 450. The LH 6000 equals or betters the performance of the Compaq ProLiant 6400 in a 4-way configuration and outperforms it, depending on the benchmark, 20 to 50 percent in a 6-way configuration. The LH 6000 outperforms the 450 from 30 to 80 percent in a 4-way configuration and from 60 percent to more than 200 percent in a 6-way configuration.
Along with their 6-processor capability, the NetServer LH 6000 and LT 6000r offer quite a bit of headroom. They are expandable to 8 GB of memory and offer up to 8 free PCI slots, up to 4 hot-pluggable redundant power supplies, and up to 216 GB of internal storage. They also provide two channels of embedded disk array (NetRAID) controllers at no extra cost.
The LH 6000 comes in two versions – a pedestal and a rackable version. The LT 6000r is a rack-optimized model targeted at service providers, who need to consolidate servers and externalize storage. Packaged in a 4u form factor, the LT 6000r gives ISPs and ASPs the ability to squeeze 60 Xeon processors into a 2-meter rack.
HP BEEFS UP STORAGE FOR THE MIDRANGE INTEL-BASED SERVERS
With the launch of NetServer LT 6000r systems, HP has also boosted storage capacity for the midrange by unveiling the SureStore E Disk Array FC60. The FC60 boasts high-speed Fibre Channel connectivity to NetServers and the capacity to handle heavy traffic loads and deliver fast response times for applications in areas like business intelligence, transaction processing, and e-services. The FC60 can be connected directly to servers or used in SANs. It can be reconfigured to support HP-UX.
The FC60 has a modular design. Each module contains 10 disks as well as dual controllers, for redundancy and performance. That allows users to add 10 disks at a time. The FC60 scales up to 60 disks in a 2-meter rack, providing up to 4.5 TB of main storage for the LT 6000r.
HPmaintains that the price tag for this class of storage is as little as "one-tenth of what you pay for the XP256 [HP's high-end disk array]." In fact, the FC60 provides roughly 300 GB of storage for between $50,000 and $75,000. Contrast that with the XP256, where prices start at $256,000.
ORACLE DATABASE SERVER
The industry is finally getting a look at the much-delayed Oracle8i Appliance, a database server previously code-named Raw Iron. The server appliance, now shipping through hardware OEMs and valued-added distributors, allows for deployment of the Oracle8i database independent of Windows NT or UNIX operating systems. Oracle is targeting the product at small and mid-size businesses.
The Oracle 8i Appliance features a database, processors, and parts of Sun’s Solaris operating system. It also includes Oracle software that allows for remote management of the appliance over the Internet, and WebDB, a tool that enables businesses to develop and run their own Web-based software.
Approximately 50 percent of Oracle customers run their Oracle databases on dedicated servers, so it makes sense for Oracle to have pared down the operating system, limiting it to the functions required to run an Oracle database. With the server appliance, Oracle aims to reduce the cost of software administration, and enhance the performance of the database by allowing software operations to be more closely tuned for specific hardware.
Oracle’s new offering has met with an enthusiastic response from hardware and software vendors. Hardware vendors signing up to ship the product include HP, Compaq, Dell and Fujitsu Siemens. Pioneer/Keylink and HallMark Global Solutions and have agreed to manufacture and distribute the product on non-branded Intel systems.
About 50 ISVs, including J.D. Edwards, Legato, Macromedia and TIBCO, also announced support for the new product. ISVs supporting the Oracle8i Appliance have validated their applications against the appliance at four newly created Application Solution Centers, established to test third-party applications with the database server.
COGNOS' BI PORTAL
Cognos unveiled their new EnterpriseService Portal (ESP), a customizable, personalized portal that allows Cognos business intelligence customers to receive the level of customer service, support and education they choose. Cognos will implement the portal in stages throughout the year.
The ESP provides access to training, including new Web-based training offers; technical support; and post-sales consulting through Cognos’ Consulting Services organization. ESP delivers Web-based training to Cognos’ customers anywhere in the world, at any time. It also provides access to live customer support, customer chats, FAQs, a solutions knowledge base, and other forms of knowledge transfer, such as online diagnostic support.
"Cognos is evolving from the brick-and-mortar customer service model to a new e-business model which is more in tune with the new e-conomy," says Rob Ashe, Cognos Senior Vice President of Customer Service and Support. Ashe’s comments about the "new e-conomy" are underscored by a recent report by E-Offering, an online investment banking firm. The report suggests that the Internet and information technology are fundamentally changing the way companies conduct business, predicts that the growth of business-to-business e-commerce will far exceed that of business-to-consumer e-commerce. This, of course, isn’t news. The GartnerGroup has already reported that it expects the worldwide business-to-business e-commerce market to exceed $7 trillion by 2004.
SLIC WORKS THE MARKET
Alacritech Inc.’s new SLIC (session layer interface card) Technology has been found to improve server performance in the Internet, corporate networks and network-based applications. Alacritech will offer high-performance server adapters, delivering performance improvements in server CPU performance and network throughput.
The company’s first products will be two- and four-port 10/100 server adapters, targeted specifically at enterprise users, system integrators and computer system OEMs. The multi-port design supports aggregation of multiple ports to deliver Gigabit performance, allowing customers to upgrade systems without the inherent expense and time required to move to a Gigabit solution.
Alacritech maintains that CPUs today provide enormous amounts of power, yet often aren’t able to use that speed to deliver improved network performance because they are tied up processing Internet protocols. Today’s demands for greater network throughput cannot be solved using a conventional network adapter architecture, simply because they are dependant on the CPU for all of their horsepower.
Alacritech’s SLIC architecture, designed to eliminate the burden of protocol processing on the server CPU, does not represent an "intelligent" or enhanced network adapter. Instead, SLIC represents a complete re-thinking of the connection to the corporate LAN, via a new class of network adapter that provides higher network throughput, lower CPU utilization and greater server efficiency. SLIC Technology employs a custom Internet Protocol Processor (IPP) for protocol processing, rather than relying on the CPU to handle these tasks. Alacritech Fast Ethernet server adapters come bundled with up to 8 MB of onboard RAM for protocol processing and buffering. Conforming to PCI 2.2 specification for 64-bit devices for operation in either a 32- or 64-bit PCI environment, the products support Windows NT.
For more information, visit their Web site at www.alacritech.com.