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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
Hewlett-Packard and Cisco announced that they are ploughing unspecified millions of dollars into research and development relating to HP's Utility Data Centre (UDC) initiative. This represents a broadening and deepening of an alliance that the two companies announced in November 2001. UDC is HP's answer to rival IBM's On Demand computing initiative and a similar one from Sun Microsystems. All of these projects want to "virtualise" server, storage, networking equipment and other components, and make them self-managing to the largest degree possible. UDC was announced as a concept in 2001, but Nick van der Zweep, director of utility computing for HP's enterprise Systems Group, said that the company has actually deployed the UDC product at an undisclosed number of companies and has upwards of 40 large enterprises that are examining the concept and the productisation of it by HP. To simplify, UDC has been conceived as the "operating system for the data centre", a kind of meta-operating system that controls all manner of IT hardware and systems software. Physically, it is a set of HP servers (both PA-RISC and Intel-based machines are used), running Oracle databases and HP's Open-View and utility Controller software, the former enabling systems management hooks into equipment outside of the UDC black box and the latter for controlling how the virtualisation of resources on servers, storage arrays and networks is managed.