Sun is sharpening its claws in its catfight with Hewlett-Packard (HP) as it continues its attempts to poach its rival's customers through its HP Away initiative.
Sun has now extended the scheme to include its Opteron workstations and servers. Previously the programme only covered Sparc-based servers. The scheme provides an easy migration path from HP to Sun servers, which started with high-end data-centre kit and now includes the mid-market server range.
Sun said the move is a response to HP ending support for its 64-bit AlphaServers and what it typified as "a lack of commitment" to HP-UX. The firm claimed 150 HP customers worldwide have switched to Sun since the scheme started last year.
"I'm sure market share figures over the next few weeks will show that we are continuing to take extra share from HP," said Jon Tutcher, Sun's server product manager in the UK. "We are seeing more competition from IBM than HP. We turned a profit last quarter, and we think the tide has turned from HP."
Sun is also hoping to take advantage of the fact that some HP resellers are still smarting from the vendor's decision last month to can its Centres of Excellence programme.
Paul Byrne, managing director of VAR On Line Computers, said he has not come up against Sun while selling HP servers in the past 11 years. But he added: "HP has a massive range of products, and that suits us. That said, after Centres of Excellence, we have no real ties to HP any more. To be honest, we could swap to Sun, IBM or Fujitsu without too many problems."
However, HP was unconcerned by Sun's claims.
"Sun is looking at this from a hardware point of view," said John King, HP's enterprise server manager.
"It's been a very expensive marketing campaign to win 150 customers. If you look at the market dynamics, we have consistent market positioning. We have more than 45 per cent market share in the UK and EMEA."
Nigel Lomas, commercial director at Trams, which resells both HP and Sun products, took a more neutral approach.
"HP has had its ups and downs, but all vendors do. We've been selling HP for years and years. We would not proactively go out and tell our customers to bin their HP kit in favour of Sun. I'm sure HP will provide a counter strategy against Sun at some point soon."
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