HP Rolls out UNIX OS Optimized for Net

Last week's eBusiness Conference & Expo, held in San Jose, Calif., was the setting for HP's launch of a new release of its UNIX operating system. Janice Chaffin, Vice President and General Manager of HP's Business Critical Computing Business Unit (BCC), asked the assembled press to guess what the "i" in the new HP-UX 11i release stands for, but no one had to answer. It was clear HP was touting its optimization of HP-UX for the Internet.

HP-UX 11i features Apache Web-serving software, the Nokia WAP server, LDAP-compliant enterprise directory servers, the e-speak runtime engine, e-service brokering libraries, Internet load balancing software from Resonate, Internet caching and content distribution software from Resonate, Internet caching and content distribution software from Inktomi, and InfoSeek's Ultraseek search engine.

The inclusion of the e-speak runtime engine is designed to spur development of e-speak applications, Rajiv Gupta, the creator of e-speak and General Manager of HP's E-Speak Operation, told HP Professional. In fact, development already seems to be taking off. Gupta said there are now more than 10,000 registered e-speak developers worldwide and there have been more than 13,000 downloads of the open source code.

HP is touting HP-UX 11i as "the industry's only operating system that supports applications developed on HP-UX, Windows and Linux." Linux and Windows application development compatibility has been strengthened with Linux Open Source GNU tools, Linux APIs, the ability to debug and deploy from the Webgain VisualCafe Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Java Virtual Machine (VM) optimization tools. HP claims that HP-UX 11i-based systems deliver SPECjvm98 of 91.1 compared to 34.4 from comparable Solaris-based systems. That allows for faster performance of Java applications and the ability to handle more users.

HP-UX11i, which is scheduled to ship in September or October, features 100 percent binary compatibility with the most recent version of the OS, HP-UX 11.0, and with future PA-RISC and IA-64 platforms. The OS can scale up to 256 CPUs.

HP announced that it is offering optional intrusion detection software with HP-UX 11i as well as the new HP ServiceControl Manager, which provides a single point of administration for multiple systems running HP-UX. Also included in HP-UX 11i is a new release of HP WebQoS. Version 2.2 supports additional operating systems, offers vertical market capabilities, and alleviates "denial of service" attacks. The first vertical market solution, for business-to-consumer retail customers, includes integration with HP OpenView, Agilent's Firehunter and software tools from Blue Martini, F5 and Mercury Interactive.

Along with the new release of the operating system, HP unveiled a new Global Security Consulting Practice and new tailored e-solutions delivery services. The Global Security Consulting Practice will make use of HP's Praesidum products as well as solutions from partners to provide Risk Management Services, E-Security Strategy Services, E-Enabling Security Services, and E-Security Infrastructure Services. The tailored e-solutions delivery services, intended to help businesses get up and running as fast as possible while offering them a single point of contact (HP), includes pre-integrated, pre-tested and pre-certified applications from HP and its strategic partners.

HP was also touting software the market hasn't heard much about lately‚ÄĒChangengine. This workflow software's "time has come," Bill Russell, Vice President and General Manager of HP's Enterprise Systems and Software Group, told HP Professional. Changengine allows businesses to develop and change business processes without affecting the underlying applications.

Sun Microsystems wasn't mentioned much by the HP execs attending the event, but that doesn't mean the messages weren't aimed at HP's closest rival. HP is still running second to Sun in sales of UNIX systems, and Sun is aggressively pursuing dotcoms and other Internet businesses. Sun recently released Solaris 8, the newest version of its UNIX OS, which includes Internet features such as Solaris Web Start, allowing installation to a remote site through a Web browser. HP obviously was determined to tout its Internet functionality in HP-UX.

Where HP seems to have the advantage over Sun, according to IDC (International Data Corp.), is in Linux interoperability with HP-UX and with HP-UX's binary compatibility with the new IA-64 architecture. Regarding Linux, IDC says, "By adding increased Linux interoperability to HP-UX through the inclusion of Linux application programming interfaces, HP is assisting developers that want to develop on Linux and then take advantage of proprietary UNIX. This should be a positive move for both HP and Linux on its systems." The real opportunity may lie in IA-64, though. "The 'big noise' for HP should be in its strong relationship with Intel regarding the development of IA-64," IDC claims. That "relationship" should, the market research firm predicts, give HP a key "technological and marketing advantage over its competitors."