HP: We're gonna book $1bn worth of Server 2003 sales THIS WEEK

A month's worth of activity in seven days? Good luck, says analyst

A Windows Server 2003 customer migration blitzkrieg is underway at HP's as it tries to generate $1bn of x86-related sales this week, squeezing a month’s worth of customer deals into just seven days.

Microsoft shutters extended support for the operating system on 14 July, issuing no further patches or bug fixes after that date, although it seems plenty of businesses will miss the deadline. Doing so for internal facing systems or applications that are closed off might not be a big deal.

El Chan revealed HP estimated last year that 11 million WS03 servers were in play globally – but HP now says this figure was for licences, and after it “refined” the numbers, there were nearer to 10 million boxes.

Stuart Kalman, director of global channel business for Microsoft alliances at HP, said the Enterprise Group had thrown its weight behind the push – call centres globally are this week ringing customers and channel partners to “focus our intention”.

“We talk about this as a $1bn opportunity for us in terms of this week’s actual activity, that is a big number,” he said. “Will we achieve it? We’ll see but we’ve got activity all over the world, we’re going after this hard.”

The nine-figure target is based on the “pipeline generated”, the HP man said. It is not clear how many servers are in the wild now and estimates differ, but in the UK there could be roughly 400,000 physical WS03 systems.

HP's target includes hardware, OS software, and services.

According to Gartner, $1bn worth of HP server business is a month’s worth of HP sales condensed into a week, and Errol Rasit, research director voiced scepticism about the chance of success.

“If organisations planned to migrate in months or next year, they might not have the capacity to accelerate the project,” he told us.

Gartner doesn’t share the same warm feeling about WS03 driving sales in the stagnating server market either, warning biz spending looks set to remain tepid. “They are expected to do more with less”.

IDC told us, that in any given week across the world, "only between $700-800 million dollars are spent on x86 servers".

The migration trends around WS03 are similar to XP; customers left it late and there was a dash before (and after) the end of support deadline last April that boosted sales of PCs. Some SMEs, for example, did not have the budget to move, and perhaps didn’t realise the significance, HP said.

This could lead to a migration skills shortage, as warned by multiple tech distributors recently, and Kalman at HP agreed. “There is certainly a chance there won’t be enough service people out there."

He thinks migration activity will occur throughout this year and into 2016. HP estimates it take nearer 100 days for a simple migration and 200 to 300 days for more complex ones

A raft of channel incentives are to be launched to partners starting next month, with a fifth off qualifying TopValue ProLiant Gen9 servers from February to March.

From February to the end of April HP is introducing pre-defined bundles for business applications. There’s promos for customers, incentives for HP and channel sales reps and discounts on pre-packaged services. The vendor will run workshops including assessment services for customers and channel folk.

HP is in a quiet period – this is the last week of Q1 of its fiscal 2015 – and so we'll not know if it hit the $1bn target until the numbers are released next month. ®

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