Eye on the Competition

Up-to-the-minute news on Sun's rivals

March  1998
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HP announces new IT service products, partnerships

Boston (March 3, 1998) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. executives unveiled new products and announced new partnerships today as part of the OpenView '98 forum here, where top management outlined the direction HP plans to take with its IT Service Management program.

The following were among the announcements of new products or versions in the OpenView line, either available now or expected this year:

HP also announced these partnerships:

--Nancy Weil, IDG News Service


HP extends supercomputer, mid-range server lines

Boston (March 3, 1998) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. yesterday introduced two supercomputer-class machines, the HP 9000 V-class Enterprise Server and Exemplar server, as well as two mid-range HP 9000 K-Class Enterprise Servers.

The supercomputers, the 9000 V-class Enterprise Server and Exemplar server, use HP's 64-bit 240-MHz PA-8200 microprocessor and are designed for high-end enterprise, engineering and scientific applications, according to a statement from HP. The machines run on the HP-UX operating system and will ship in March at prices beginning at $182,000, which includes one CPU, 256 megabytes of memory and an unlimited HP-UX license, the statement said.

On the K-Class side, HP's two new servers are designed for mid-range data warehousing, database, application and Web serving, according to the statement. The servers run on up to six PA-8200 240-MHz 64-bit processors and are available now, it said.

The HP 9000 K380 Enterprise Server provides up to four gigabytes of memory, four HP precision bus (HP-PB) slots and three HP-HSC I/O slots, the statement said. Pricing starts at $79,900.

The K580 Enterprise Server offers up to 8G bytes of RAM, four HP-PB slots and nine high-speed HP-HSC I/O slots, according to HP. Pricing starts at $95,900.

--Rebecca Sykes, IDG News Service


HP announces VerSecure cryptography and its export approval

Boston (February 27, 1998) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. has been granted a license from the U.S. government to export its VerSecure 128-bit encryption technology to the U.K., Germany, France, Denmark, and Australia, the company announced today.

Encryption scrambles the content of Internet communications, including e-mail, so that such information cannot be easily read by unauthorized parties. Individual countries have differing laws regarding encryption. The U.S. government allows companies to export encryption technology only to approved countries. Companies must apply to the U.S. Department of Commerce for approval.

VerSecure is hardware-based, with an Internet server containing the encryption technology. The company previously called VerSecure the International Cryptography Framework. It enables end users to choose limited to strong cryptography and to decide whether or not to activate key recovery capability, which besides allowing access to the users also lets law enforcement agencies view encrypted material during criminal investigations.

Some countries, such as France, require the use of key recovery with encryption technology. In the U.S. and other nations the choice will be left to consumers, and according to HP officials, there is no "back door" route that law enforcement agencies can take to read encrypted material when key recovery is not in place.

HP CEO Lewis Platt said this morning that his company recognizes the "legitimate" concerns that the U.S. government has with encryption and the balance that must be found between such issues and the rights of Internet users to make secure e-commerce transactions and to access and exchange information privately.

Platt declined to disclose financial terms worked out between HP and company partners, including IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Motorola Inc. Details about when products actually will be ready for market were not available either.

Platt said that the VerSecure technology is finished and so "you should be thinking in terms of months here and not years" as far as product availability and that the prices will be "reasonable." Consumers will have to have encryption hardware in their computers in order to use the technology. The hardware for home users is likely to involve a board that can be plugged into a computer and eventually is likely to be contained on a chip, he said.

"We think that eventually over time all PCs and devices that connect to the Internet will want to include this technology," Platt said.

HP actually received approval to export its encryption technology on Dec. 24 of last year, Platt said. The company expects to have permission to export to additional countries besides the five already approved and is involved in talks with a Japanese firm for distribution of the technology there, he said.

--Nancy Weil, IDG News Service

IBM aims at business intelligence

Boston (February 26, 1998) -- IBM Corp. today announced a companywide program of new products, services, consulting, sales specialists, and partnerships geared toward the business intelligence market.

Business intelligence is the gathering, management, and analysis of data, which then is used to make decisions. Analysts predict that business intelligence will be a US$30 to $70 billion market by 2002, an IBM executive said this morning.

"This is not about technology," said Janet Perna, general manager of data management in the software solutions division, in an interview. "It's about taking the IT agenda and putting it in the CEO's office."

The initiative is different from programs at other companies because it involves widespread cooperation across division lines, said Perna and Dan Graham, general manager in IBM's global business intelligence solutions division. For instance, salespeople who have drawn commissions by selling a particular line of servers will work with customers regardless of the hardware they want to buy.

"The real message, I think, is that IBM has unified across their laboratories, across all of their research groups," Graham said. "We all looked at each other and said, 'This is a market we want to be in so we should unify our strengths.' "

In a statement issued this morning, IBM outlined its business intelligence program, including:

--Nancy Weil, IDG News Service

SCO UnixWare gets backing for data centers

Boston (February 24, 1998) -- Santa Cruz Operation Inc. today won backing from four server vendors that said they will support SCO's UnixWare system, rather than proprietary architectures, for use in data centers.

Compaq Computer Corp., Data General Corp., ICL PLC and Unisys Corp. today officially endorsed UnixWare, which allows the Unix operating system to run on processors from Intel Corp., in a teleconference and in a statement from SCO.

Data centers, also referred to as "the glass house," typically operate enterprise systems running on mainframes and on servers using proprietary, RISC-based Unix systems.

The companies also have signed a contract to invest millions of dollars in research and development to move the UnixWare system into the data center using both Intel IA-32 and IA-64 platforms. The IA-32 is due for release this year, and the IA-64, or Merced, is due next year.

SCO said in the statement that the announcements mean UnixWare is the only hardware vendor-independent system for Intel microprocessor-based data center servers. UnixWare 7 is scheduled for release next month.

SCO is working with Intel to develop a 64-bit version of the UnixWare system, which will ship with Merced, the company said.

--Nancy Weil, IDG News Service

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