September 01, 2015
Finding a Virtual Replacement for MPE/iX
This week HP and other vendors are presenting new products, and new ideas about older products, at VMworld. The conference is organized by VMware and offers a stage to show how IT strategies are being changed by virtualization. The only virtualization that MPE/iX hosts can enjoy is the Stromasys Charon HPA server. It makes Intel processors a virtual choice. Stromasys is at the conference, but what HP's got to say about Hewlett-Packard solutions is informative, too.
As it turns out, heading to Intel Xeon hardware is a good idea for all of the other HP enterprise environments. It's as if Charon and the Superdome brand are aimed at the same destination. HP-UX won't get there, though. And Intel Xeon is essential to VMware.
The 3000 customers who've been the slowest to move onward to other platforms might be the ERP companies. Manufacturers customize their applications more than any other kind of app user. This week HP's touting a server at VMworld that it says is the world's fastest 16-socket ERP server. Superdome X is driven by Linux and Windows, though, not the HP-UX environment that ruled HP's enterprise roost in the late '90s — an era when Windows was taking over IT.
HP bet heavy on Unix. Back then, the product which became Windows 2003, 2008 and then 2012 was called Windows NT. Everything that NT did was folded into those subsequent Windows enterprise solutions. Since then, meetings like VM World apparent that HP's Unix lost its high ground, but not because of any lack of virtualization. HP's Unix isn't ever going to the x86 family. HP-UX slipped as an enterprise choice because it was built upon the wrong processor.
That's what HP's manager Doug Strain used as a key point in his VMworld talk about Superdome X. "The only problem was that it didn't have x86 processors," he said of the machine that now can use up to 12TB of memory. "Well, we fixed that." So it seems that the right chipset — based on Intel's Xeon, not Itanium — will make Superdome as useful and fully-featured as it should be for virtualization. It's just one more way to see that Itanium and HP-UX has dropped from HP's futures.
Linux is taking the place of HP-UX in HP's ERP futures. It's not news that VMware and HP's Unix are not a match. What seems new is the way Linux and Windows are positioned as HP's VMware solutions — with specific mention of ERP applications.In a meaningful minute-plus, Strain sums up how the Integrity line is a real VM player, now that it's got Xeon capability. It paints the new-ish HP hardware (Superdome X has been out since this spring) as a powerhouse for ERP. Does it virtualize? Oh boy. What better reason for HP to have a slide show at VMworld, but to talk up this OS-chip combo? Integrity used to mean Itanium, still the only chip that hosts HP-UX. HP says that Integrity, "if you're familiar with it, going back," is now so much more.
Replacing MPE/iX as an ERP solution has been a challenge for a decade on the migration front. There are still major manufacturers using 3000s, and looking to what's next. Virtualization is important for shaping an advanced strategy that wrings the best use from IT investments.
How important? Here's what HP had to say today about its partnership with VMware.
"The software-defined data center enables companies to evolve beyond hardware-centric architectures to create an automated, easy to manage hybrid cloud platform that can meet the demands of both traditional and emerging cloud-native applications," said Carl Eschenbach, president and chief operating officer, VMware. "VMware and HP continue to help our mutual customers drive innovation with greater speed and scale."
Linux has won a victory by evolution. HP decided the best of HP-UX would go into Linux.
MPE/iX got replaced in the same way, by an HP environment that has now gotten eclipsed itself. MPE/iX has a role to play with VMware, as part of the Charon solution. The HP-UX environment certainly has partitioning, as well as virtualization. It just doesn't have enough HP mindshare at VMworld to earn a talk like Strain's. That conference is the epicenter of virtualization this week.
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