I love traveling by train. As I write this in the ICE train speeding out of Berlin across a countryside bathed in the light of dawn, I'm struck by the fact that a train journey is quite unlike other forms of travel. Even as you ride in the fastest train, you can see the panoramic landscape changing gradually. Even as you travel with a few chosen companions, you share the journey with many strangers. And perhaps most importantly, even though you choose your points of departure and arrival, your journey is determined by straight tracks and standard times. Yet you can control the cost, manage the risk, and change the duration of your trip -- entirely shaping your experience of the journey.
Without stretching the analogy too far, we can think of businesses migrating their IT infrastructure from legacy systems to Linux servers as being on a journey of this kind. Early adopters of Linux servers had many basic questions about their destination -- whether Linux was ready for "prime-time", what workloads to run on Linux, what Linux distribution to standardize for each workload, what hardware to deploy under each distribution, how to manage the entire operating environment, and what level of vendor support to maintain for the complete lifecycle of the project.
For the past decade, HP has answered these questions with a broad and consistent response. HP has encouraged the use of Linux by businesses as diverse as ISPs, investment banks, stock exchanges, telecommunications carriers, hospitals, and automobile manufacturers for workloads ranging from the conventional (file, web, and network services) to the core (line of business and database applications). As early adopters laid tracks for the majority that followed, HP provided robust platforms -- reliable and scalable servers, OS vendor and industry certifications, leading
performance benchmarks, validated reference architectures, technical support, and legal indemnification -- for travelers boarding the Linux train.
And as demand grew for Linux in high-performance cluster computing, supercomputing, extreme scale-out computing, and cloud computing configurations for demanding applications such as animation rendering, seismic exploration, and computational fluid dynamics, HP developed the infrastructure -- people, processes, and technology -- to transport new passengers from monolithic legacy systems to more cost-effective, energy-efficient distributed architectures.
And all along, HP made key contributions to the Linux kernel, collaborated with Linux distribution vendors to deliver joint solutions, offered essential management software (such as the ProLiant Support Pack and Insight Control) for Linux, and delivered comprehensive services ranging from design, migration, and implementation to mission-critical support for customers deploying core business applications on Linux servers. This quiet leadership has not gone unrecognized -- our customers have made HP the leading Linux server vendor every year of the past decade.
With these many miles and many stations behind us, we now hear far fewer questions from customers about Linux servers as the destination of their enterprise applications. The question is no longer "why" or even "when". Instead, we see enterprises focusing on "how". Businesses today are looking for maps, tools, and help to reduce the cost, time, and risk of the journey from legacy to Linux, regardless of their specific points of departure and arrival -- be it RISC to x64, physical servers to virtual servers, or cluster to cloud.
But that's a topic for a future post. Until then... All aboard!