Sun takes a shine to HP's customers
Sun Microsystems SA has confirmed it will aggressively target Hewlett-Packard high-end server customers on the Alpha/Tru64 platform, who feel they are being forced to migrate to Intel Itanium platforms within HP.
Marketing manager Elise Roscoe says the local arm received a heads-up from head office in the US about the plan yesterday. Sun's HP Away programme, a play on the "HP Way" evangelised by HP, offers migration and financial assistance to HP customers who may be unhappy about migration plans.
Sun says the "problems" of transitioning from DEC's Alpha platform to Itanium-based systems will be enough to convince customers to give Solaris a try. Sun's Solaris platform remains focused on a RISC architecture.
"Under the HP Away program, Sun will offer HP's Alpha/Tru64 clients a two-week migration assessment service at no charge," says Roscoe, adding that this is the case even if the customer decides not to proceed with the migration to Solaris.
Sun will also defer payments for the migration, including Sun services, software and servers, until the task is complete, or for a maximum of 90 days. The company will also offer enhanced financing and trade-in programmes for such companies.
Roscoe says the company is offering a similarly aggressive plan for IBM's AIX customers.
HP SA server spokesman Andrew Fletcher says customers will find it tougher to migrate to Solaris than to accept the long-term migration plans HP has for it.
"The programme we are rolling out to customers now, called Alpha Retain Trust, offers a clear and long-term roadmap, and offers a far more cost-effective and clear solution than making huge capital investments in infrastructure and training, without there being a long-term roadmap," he says.
"Furthermore, there is no rush for Alpha customers to do anything at this point. It is not a dead technology. On the contrary, it is an evolving technology, with two hardware generations still to live out their lives, and OS and application support until 2011. Hardware will be sold for another three years, probably."
He adds that the features that Alpha customers like, such as true clustering, will be incorporated into HP-UX - the vendor's Unix - and says HP has all the migration toolkits, labs, best practices and more to help customers migrate within HP.
Fletcher says there is "120% application developer support" for Itanium. While there are not that many apps for it now, "Itanium is not mature technology, but there is no rush to move now".