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Sun Microsystems has launched round two of its HP Away migration program aimed at Tru64 users.

The program began in July with Sun offering free migration assessments and services to users of the Tru64 operating system looking for a new home on Solaris. Sun has now signed up six partners to help with code porting efforts and various other services in its expansion of the HP Away program. In addition, Sun is expanding the effort to Europe and plans to make it available worldwide by the end of 2003.

"When we first launched the program, our target for the year was to capture about 40 customers," Nancy Weintraub, director of competitive intelligence at Sun. "We managed to surpass that goal in one quarter with 50 customers migrating to Sun so far."

Sun is looking to tap into the pain running through HP's customer base. HP's decision to kill off its Alpha server line and Tru64 in favor of HP-UX on Itanium has more than a few users concerned about where to turn.

The situation for HP users only got worse earlier this year when they were informed that the migration of Tru64's clustering and file system technology to HP-UX would take longer than expected.

"While significant progress has been made to date on this next major release, we have come to realize that the effort and time required to complete and to deliver a top quality HP-UX 11i v3 operating system will extend the schedule from our original goal of the end of CY2004 to the 2nd half of CY2005," HP wrote to its customers.

That's quite a blow for the Compaq customers acquired by HP. Ever the optimist, Carly Fiorina appears to have let a few thousand people down.

Sun hopes to tap into this dissatisfaction with the help of Datamatics, EvolveWare, IrisLogic, Transoft, Treklogic and Relativity Technologies. These are the six new partners that will help with moving code from Tru64 to Solaris. Sun picked this particular group to go after what it sees as ripe vertical markets, including telecommunications, life sciences, utilities, education, and city and state government.

Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata, said that Sun's program does appear to be somewhat of a success thus far with the 50 wins.

"I'm always a little suspicious of vendor supplied numbers of this sort, but if it's even remotely true, yeah, it's impressive," Haff said. "It shows that the AlphaServers really are soft targets for migrating away from HP."

The Tru64 question is HP's biggest problem with it's move from Alpha and PA-RISC chips to an Itanic-only push. The HP-UX crowd is more likely to stick it out with HP as their OS will live on. Tru64 customers, however, have to pick one Unix or another to shift to, so why not go the Solaris route?

"In a way though, it's not a big surprise," Haff said. "It's an OS and a platform shift however you slice it. There's only so much HP can do do keep these - in many cases angry-at-HP - customers from seeking greener pastures."

Thus far, all of the HP customers have moved onto Sparc/Solaris servers, but Sun does offer Linux migrations as an option. Sun said that it's new product roll out next year of UltraSparc IV-based servers would make going with Solaris an even more compelling proposition for HP users. We asked about what specific features of the servers would make them so "compelling."

"We are not talking about future products," said Paul Phillips, marketing manager at Sun.

But, Paul, you brought it up?

"We will be very competitive with (HP)," he continued, as whispers were heard in the background.

We hope this is not a shift in strategy. Certainly, Sun should see itself as competitive already.

More info on Sun's program can be found here. HP has a competing Sun Away program. ®

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