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Roadmap reversal

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HP has given up on trying to bring key parts of Compaq/DEC's Tru64 operating system over to HP-UX and decided instead to buy similar technology from Veritas.

In a move that is simultaneously bizarre and predictable, HP has reneged on its promise to port the TruCluster and Advanced File System technology from Tru64 to HP-UX. HP will now only offer its customers the Veritas Storage Foundation Cluster File System and Storage Foundation for Oracle RAC products to those who which to create groups of servers that are loosely linked together.

HP already has a partnership with Veritas around its Volume Manager product. Now it's looking for Veritas to take care of it on the cluster file system side of the house as well, and the two companies today announced a multi-year agreement to that effect. Veritas has traditionally made loads of money selling its file system and volume manager products to Sun Microsystems' Solaris customers.

"Our collaboration with Veritas helps us to deliver on our Adaptive Enterprise strategy and assists our UNIX customers in their evolution to next-generation platforms," said Rich Marcello, a SVP in HP's server unit. "The thousands of customers running HP Serviceguard on HP-UX 11i today will gain access to Veritas software -- directly from HP -- and close integration, a simplified purchasing process and cooperative support."

HP is spinning this announcement as great news for its customers. This is mostly because HP will offer the Veritas code as part of HP-UX 11i V2 by the third quarter of next year. HP had not planned to complete similar work with the Tru64 code until 2006 when HP-UX 11i V3 arrived, giving customers close to a year edge if they pick up the Veritas technology.

The move, however, is bizarre in that HP has already spent years and tons of money trying to port the Tru64 technology to HP-UX. HP had once planned for the Tru64 goodies to arrive this year and made a big deal of this quick turnaround when it first acquired Compaq. HP later pushed back the delivery date for the clustering products to 2006 and the delivery of the advanced file system product to the second half of 2005.

"The schedule for TruCluster and AdvFS at the close of the merger targeted delivery by the end of 2004," HP told The Register. "As the technical teams became one and developed a bottoms up schedule it became apparent that more time would be required.

"Customers have provided input that HP needed to improve time to market. Since the initial roadmap was laid out in 2002, virtualization has gained market momentum, and HP has secured a leadership position in this space. As Veritas continued to develop and enhance both their file system and CFS capabilities, it gave HP an opportunity to both improve time to market of important capabilities and align our clustering and virtualization roadmaps."

But was it customer demand or just plain, old predicable cost cuts that drove HP's decision to go with Veritas? HP has spent most of its post-acquisition days cutting costs wherever possible out of its server business. The company seemed to have lost the talent and resolve to get the Tru64 to HP-UX work done. The engineers working on this project are, no doubt, members of the most recent server division cuts. HP continues to gut its server research and development ranks at an astonishing rate. In addition, it has totally misled the Compaq customers.

Ironically, HP also announced today that it is expanding its Alpha RetainTrust program for Tru64 UNIX customers. HP will now teach its customers how best to roll out the Veritas software. A wonderful gesture.

For Veritas, this has to be seen as a pretty solid win. The company has been paying more attention to HP-UX for the past year or so, and this should open up an even larger market for the company's products.

How does all this make you Tru64 users feel? Let us know. ®

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