19 November Peter Blackmore, executive vice president of systems giant Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) enterprise systems group, claims the company is already in pole position in the utility computing market, well ahead of main competitors Sun Microsystems and IBM.
Speaking at the company’s annual European software conference in Lisbon, Blackmore – the second most powerful executive within HP – said the company has established an 18-month lead over its rivals in terms of customers, pilot projects and product development. Taking a dig at the competition, he suggested that Sun’s utility computing plans were still at an “immature” stage, and envisaged the emergence of a “two-horse race between HP and IBM” for supremacy in the burgeoning technology market.
IT organisations are expressing considerable enthusiasm for the notion of utility computing, drawn to the promised efficiencies that will result from the pooled processing power and storage and the delivery of all computing resources on demand over corporate networks.
“The difference between HP and our competitors is that the HP Utility Data Centre (UDC) product is [already] up and running,” said Blackmore.
HP started selling UDC – which is based on an enhanced version of the company’s systems management suite and a dedicated utility controller system – in March 2002. UDC requires that a data centre centralises its servers and storage in a UDC administrative rack. HP is targeting UDC at large data centres with more than 200 servers.
After nine months, HP has signed up 12 UDC customers, Blackmore said. While this puts HP ahead of its rivals, according to several sector analysts, few are willing to quantify that lead as 18 months. Will Cappelli, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said: “HP is ahead of the game because they have a [deliverable] product.”