HP announces free application server

Hewlett Packard is set to make its Application Server 8.0 available for free. The J2EE application server will be made available as a free download from HP.com, as the company aims to drive its application server into the enterprise market.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  November 24, 2001

Hewlett Packard is set to make its Application Server 8.0 available for free. The J2EE application server will be made available as a free download from HP.com, as the company aims to drive its application server into the enterprise market.

The application server technology was gained through HP’s acquisition of Bluestone last year, and the aim of making it available for free is to boost HP’s share of the server market. The server will be targeted at platform independent deployments, in particular web services, where its full compliance with J2EE will make it an attractive proposition. HP will drive revenue by selling add on services and applications to the basic HP AS.

HP announced the HP AS at its Software Universe, an annual customer and partner event, held this year in Monaco. A further fifty software product announcements were made at the event, mainly additions to HP’s OpenView network management product, and some improvements to the utility data centre offerings.

Speaking at the event, Bill Russell, vice president of HP’s software division said that the products were the result of a year’s work in software. “This is a set of products that have sprung from a strategy set out a year ago. We’ve exited from eight business interests either by selling off or shutting down. We’ve consolidated in only the areas that we want to build in, and now we are ready to deliver—these products are part of the execution of that strategy.”

The decision to offer HP AS for free is likely to cause conflict with rival vendors such as BEA, that currently sells its own application server at a considerable price. Oddly enough, HP says it is currently in talks with BEA about undisclosed co-operation in other areas.

Gartner analyst Yefim Natis said that the move took bundling of application servers and hardware a stage further with regards to the amount of technology it is offering.

“HP will force platform-independent vendors such as BEA to look for new platform partnerships and new ways to differentiate themselves,” said Natis. “HP AS has a good technical reputation, and its availability on HP-UX machines will likely help it find some new deployments, especially for some small scale applications.”

In the Middle East, HP’s main focus will be on local ISVs and systems integrators, according to Anas Jwaied, software business manager for HP Middle East. Public and private enterprises using application servers would also be a target. “We are sure that with our new, free, offering, a lot of ISVs, ISs and enterprise customers using application servers will be downloading it from our websites. Just after we announced it, thousands of downloads of HP AS were done, with some in the Middle East,” he said.

Jwaied said that in part, the aim of making HP AS freely available is to drive the idea of application servers as a commodity, based on J2EE. HP can now offer a much cheaper package than other applications servers on the market. HP is relying on partners to grow its software business in the region. “We are planning to grow in this fiscal year,” Jwaied explained. “HP’s strategy is to work directly, and through partners in the region. We have tens of partners, with much expertise in sales, pre-sales, consulting and support, and the HP software team in the Middle East supports those partners.”

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