A decade ago, Intel was shipping the Pentium II processor and Linux was a fringe operating system used by a few Internet fanatics. No one at the time would ever have thought the two in combination would be a match for Sun's SPARC/Solaris combination, HP's PA-RISC/HP-UX, IBM's POWER/AIX or SGI's MIPS/IRIX.
Funny what a decade can do.
Even though there has been a big shift in the marketplace, high-end Unix has not curled up and died thanks to the advent of Windows and Linux Server. IDC puts the market at around $19 billion annually with single-digit annual growth, and the market is split almost evenly between Sun, HP and IBM.
"The market's at $19 billion. That's still good money if you can get 30 percent of that," said Brian Cox, director of software marketing and planning in HP's business critical systems division.
HP gave up on its proprietary RISC processor, abandoning PA-RISC in favor of Intel's Itanium processor, but HP-UX is here to stay. The company is reiterating its commitment to HP-UX as the high-end operating system for its most mission-critical customers and it wants them to know there is a long-term promise of the operating system.
"We want to be able to have customers buy HP-UX today with the full confidence that two decades from now they can continue to run HP-UX for all their mission-critical deployments," Cox told InternetNews.com.
"When you sell into a bank or stock exchange, they don't rip and replace that stuff every couple of years. What's paramount to them is the stability and reliability of that deployment. They keep it for 10 years," he added.
HP-UX is currently on its 11th major release, which came a decade ago. However, HP-UX 11i has been updated constantly since then. It's currently on what the company calls Version 3, with Version 4 due in three years and Version 5 planned for three years after that. In addition, the company does minor updates every six months to update the kernel and add new features.