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HP puts unitard on server and storage software

Taps Sgt. Schultz

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HP has birthed a new software unit within its server and storage business in the hopes of adding some might and revenue to systems management applications.

Bob Schultz, the head of HP's StorageWorks division, will run the new ESS (Enterprise Storage and Server) Software business unit. In that role, Schultz has been tasked with "differentiating HP's current server and storage software and developing additional capabilities" for customers. In a larger context, the new unit builds on a long-held HP ambition to grow software revenue.

In its most recent quarter, HP's standalone software division brought in $349m in revenue - a 14 per cent year-over-year rise. Such an increase in revenue makes the software group one of HP's fastest growing divisions. And the totals should surge higher with the inclusion of the newly acquired Mercury Interactive's results.

Away from printer ink, HP has struggled to find another glorious, high-margin business. It's for that reason that the company has spent so much time hawking OpenView and gobbling up smaller software players.

Now it seems HP will eye ways to churn more profit from its systems management expertise away from the OpenView line.

At present, HP's major software emphasis in the ESS group has been placed on the Systems Insight Manager software inherited from Compaq, Storage Essentials inherited from AppIQ and Virtual Server Environment.

All of the major hardware makers must look at EMC's VMware purchase with jealous eyes. The server partitioning vendor now brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for its storage big papa. With a boatload of luck, HP's ESS software unit might concoct a similar success story. ®

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