Feeds

HP preps Superdome service Trojan Horse

From now on you buy only from us

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Hewlett-Packard will today unveil the replacement for its top-of-the-range V-class servers, Superdome, in a launch that company executives have been trailing as the company's biggest server roll-out in ten years.

Some mistake, surely? The boxes unveiled later today constitute major, seven-figure purchases and may well at best sell into the high hundreds or low thousands of units. They're really there as showcase pieces that enable HP to renew pissing competitions with Q's high-end Wildfire kit or Sun's E10000 range. Which as HP unfailingly points out, Sun didn't invent, and only dropped into Sun's lap when SGI was obliged to divest itself of what looked like a dangerous monopoly on high-end servers used by the US government.

But there's more than bragging rights at stake, however. We expect HP to use the occasion to showcase a new business model that it hopes will grab as much attention as its "mainframe for free" garage program a year ago. Under the HP garage scheme, start-ups were seeded with HP kit on preferential terms. HP has a finance division that can underwrite all this, and despite the downturn in dot.com mania this spring, the garage program appears to be a success both in terms of winning HP marketshare, and paying its own way.

However, we gather that Superdome is a really a market trial for HP bundling its services as a mandatory part of the box purchase. We gather this both from HP channel sources and company executives, who've layed the blame for the much-publicised e-Bay outages on its failure to wrap-up a comprehensive Sun-sourced service guarantee to go with its shiny new kit.

Well... we're not so sure if this is the case actually. We've heard a myriad of technical reasons for e-Bay's wibbly performance, ranging from a failure to partition the E10000s to ropey cache consistency.

But more to the point, how effective will this new tactic of ramming service guarantees down the throats of HP customers actually be? Do HP customers get to see a stick, or a carrot?

For HP's largest customers - the first round of Superdome purchasers - there's no doubt that service will be generously bundled with their V-class replacements, so there's bound to be a loyalty bonus. But lower down the food chain, the requirement that you get buy must buy your service from your box supplier could bring administrators out in hair balls.

What HP must have in mind is Microsoft's first and expensively catastophic crack at the enterprise business. When Microsoft first embarked on its NT adventure, it very publicly ceded the service business to third parties. The world applauded, and in jumped the big five consultancies. But it took several highly-publicised failures (in which Redmond staff had to produce hastily rewritten bespoke versions of its shrink-wrap showcase software) before Microsoft realised that it had to deal with top-tier enterprise customers directly. So much for good intentions.

But not everyone has the clout that these top-tier customers can wield. And no one likes to have their choice of service provider curtailed by the box shifter. It's a risky strategy, and if HP is to appeal to more than in-flight magazine executives, it'll have to convince the BOFHs who make these technical choices that they're gaining as much as they're losing. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.