A Message to Hewlett Packard’s Constituents – on the Demise of HP-UX

It’s late on a Friday night, but with yet another series of disappointing announcements coming from HP this week, and the year coming to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to speak directly to the entire Hewlett Packard community – customers, partners, all.

I’ve met with many of you over the past year – all over the world. And rather than waiting to meet with more of you at keynotes, customer visits or recruiting events, I figured a single message in a public forum was by far the most efficient means of communicating the following.

HP will only continue to decommit to HP-UX as a source of differentiation. Its recent duplicity around the integration of TruCluster and AdvFS into HP-UX is an enormous disappointment to everyone (except Gary and our friends at Veritas, congrats!). After years of protesting Sun’s claims, this abandonment is indisputable evidence that HP-UX is on its way to Hewlett Packard’s industry leading collection of dead architectures. We’ve all watched the demise of Alpha, Tru64, PA-RISC, Itanium, storage – it’s now irrefutable that HP-UX is on its way to that same, very crowded boneyard. Along with the systems devoted to running it.

HP is racing to become a company focused on the distribution of other people’s technology. Granted, this may represent a viable business model for those best in class, but it leaves customers who’ve historically relied upon HP systems sitting on a sinking platform. Many customers I’ve spoken with have wondered what value HP brings to their enterprise – when they’ve asked for operating system or architecture roadmaps, they’ve found themselves talking to a “VP, Linux Evangelism.” Whose responses to technical questions lack substance without a 3rd party representative in the room.

HP’s crisis will continue and deepen. Independent of the constituency, HP has destabilized its business with ambiguity. Questions like “what happens next?” erode everything from revenue opportunities to career discussions. As an HP customer just said to me (and my apologies to the global audience that may not understand the reference to Charlie Brown), “Increasingly, HP is like Lucy with the football and frankly, I’m tired of feeling like Charlie Brown.”

What should you expect from Sun? We believe our insistence on the value of R&D and long term commitment, our ability to present a vision, to evolve community models, and to deliver on complex product integration and systems evolution, all represent opportunity. Opportunity for customers, partners, and current – and future – employees. The introduction of Solaris 10 and its 128-bit ZFS, on our Opteron systems, and on a revolutionary (and completely binary compatible!) multi-core SPARC platform that is set to redefine enterprise computing, continues to generate buzz for our software business, our systems business, our storage business, and fuel the growth of our services business. While driving confidence, not instability, among customers and partners.

Confidence, commitment and execution are the three things every Sun constituent should expect from us. We’ll deliver the systems, the innovation, the partner models, the services and ultimately the results that represent the best source of opportunity for everyone involved. We have never had a stronger product line to solve the problems faced by the developers, deployers and operators of network services. And with another UNIX falling by the wayside, it’s increasingly evident the OS wars are down to three – Microsoft Windows, Sun’s Solaris, and Red Hat’s Linux. Not surprinsgly, I agree with the aforementioned HP customer. Enough is enough. We’re happy to help all HP’s constituents move on in life – better you walk away from the football, than have it walk away from you.


ps. And just to preempt the inevitable responses – before HP goes touting how they’re migrating Sun’s customers to HP platforms, exactly which platforms would that be? Itanium? If it’s to another company’s operating system, you’re making, not refuting, our point, that HP’s exiting the game… but do keep the examples coming, our salesforce loves the leads.

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