July 22, 2011
It's time to change your 3000 timers
Allegro Consultants has offered a new white paper that deals with an old and common issue of 3000 management: TCP timers. The support company's Donna Hoffmeister, who has posted a passel of tips about 3000 administration on the 3000 newsgroup, wrote A Discussion of MPE TCP Timers. These timers are a management subject every 3000 owner should discuss with their admin folks. They establish how quickly your system responds to network traffic calls.
Hoffmeister's paper sets out the recommended values for the modern era. HP 3000s have been useful for so many decades that it's easy to overlook some of the fundamental assumptions at the heart of the MPE environment.
These values control how a 3000 reacts in the event it needs to re-send (retransmit) a packet ("chunk") of data over a TCP/IP network. These values were established at least in the MPE V days (and possibly before that) – back when only big, important computers were trying to talk to each other. (Unlike today, when even your refrigerator thinks it needs to "yack it up" over the Internet!)
The important thing to understand about these values is that they are perfectly fine and do not need changing because they are never (or rarely) used on an optimally-performing network. However, given that
1. These days, networks rarely perform optimally, and
2. HP Network Engineers described the above values as "way out of whack"
you should change your TCP values.
Allegro's president Steve Cooper reminded us that the new White Paper from his company is part of a collection of MPE and HP 3000 help at the firm's Papers and Books web page. Advice there includes repairs for aborts and hangs on HP3000s, and even a paper on HP-UX system panics. The company is committed to providing support for 3000s through at least 2016.
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