In Year 52, 3000 still doing duty

This morning the Internet delivered proof of life for the HP 3000. I hunted down the proof, to be honest. A robot message showed up in my in-box from the OPENMPE-L listserv, assuring me that the mailing list was still alive—because it was checking up on me.

This message is a probe for your subscription to the OPENMPE list. You do not need to take any action to remain subscribed to the list. If the subscriber's email address is no longer valid, then the message will be returned to LISTSERV and the faulty address will be removed from the list. If the subscriber's address is still valid, then the message will not bounce and the user will not be deleted.

OpenMPE has been dead for more than a decade, so whatever's on that listserv is just there for archival-historian purposes. Genuine help and 3000-related information lives on, hosted on another listserv, in the 3000-L forum. Some people are managing 3000s here in 2023, more than 51 years after the computer staggered out of the gates in a bug-riddled, crash-happy debut.

It survived, and so have some of the 3000 experts who know how to do essential tasks with the venerable OS.

For example,

I wish to move a group of similarly named files "LOG9999" from the PUB.SYS group to the OLDLOGS.SYS group. Is the a way to do this without doing each file by hand, or writing a CLI script?

Just as we did over the 26 years of active HP 3000 reporting, here's our relay of a thoughtful reply to the question. Keven Miller, whose Ranger 3K company hosts many archived manuals and sells decades of experience, answered with a script that does the move. He says he wrote the script long ago.

Fox 26:print rengroup.cmd.lab

      IF CIERROR <> 0 THEN
         SETVAR G UPS ( "!NEWGRP" )
         IF FINFO ( "!FILE", "VOLUME SET NAME" ) =  &
            FINFO ( "/!A/!G", "VOLUME SET NAME" )   &
(24/42) Continue?
            RENAME !FILE,!F.!G.!A
            COPY !FILE,!F.!G.!A
            IF CIERROR = 0 THEN
               PURGE !FILE
         IF CIERROR <> 0 THEN
            SETVAR DONE TRUE
            SETVAR CNT CNT+1
   ECHO !CNT files moved to !G.!A

In the event that script isn't formatted well enough, we can all find Keven's answer at;b1236a9b.2312C&S=

That's another 3000 mailing list, one you can prowl around with a browser.

It's not robots that keep the 3000 running. It's seasoned people. Tracy Johnson installed a version of the Invent3K server in 2010 and posted a note about it on the OpenMPE mailing list. It's just about the last tool that OpenMPE was able to mount. Hard working volunteers made up that group. Here in 2023, they're still working, just like the HP 3000

Poll shows sites slow to leave 3000

Reprinted from December 2002

Slim majority of customers choose to homestead or study

First of two parts

One year after HP announced its plans to leave the HP 3000, a little more than half of its customers are either still studying their response to the news or choosing to homestead on the platform, according to a 3000 NewsWire poll.

The survey, conducted on the one-year anniversary of HP’s November 2001 announcement that it’s exiting the 3000 marketplace by 2007, showed one-third of companies responding have already chosen to homestead some or all of their 3000 operations beyond the December, 2006 HP end of support date. Nearly one in five companies are still studying their options in response to HP’s 2001 announcement.

The poll was conducted via e-mail messages broadcast to 500 HP 3000 customers selected randomly on November 13. Companies responding totaled 116, for a 23 percent response rate. Customers identified their firms by name, and no anonymous, Web-based replies were used in the poll’s results.

The margin was close between those sites staying with the platform and still studying options, versus companies choosing to leave the 3000 at some point over the next four years. While 52 percent of firms aren’t deciding to leave this year, 48 percent of companies responding to the NewsWire poll report they have begun plans to rewrite programs, replace applications, or follow their packaged app providers onto other platforms.

Homesteaders — those customers sticking with the 3000 beyond 2006 — came in at 34 percent of companies responding to the poll. Of the companies reporting they are planning to leave the 3000 through migration or replacement, 23 percent are following their packaged application vendors. Amisys healthcare customers led the list of those planning to make a move away from the 3000, followed by educational organizations using various applications.

Companies responded over the two-week period following the Nov. 14 anniversary of the HP announcement. Even among those choosing to leave the platform, sentiment about the move ran to regret and disappointment. A few responding firms had already committed to leaving their 3000s before HP’s advice was announced last year.

The poll’s results showed a stark contrast to the HP claims of April, when the vendor said that more than 80 percent of customers would be leaving the platform. HP has recently begun to recognize that a significant part of its customer base cannot justify the expense of migrating from the HP 3000, even in the face of an end to HP’s support. (See our Q&A in this issue with HP's Dave Wilde for statements on HP’s plans to accommodate its homesteading customers.)

Undecided customers on the fence about their plans reported timelines to decide ranging from weeks to years. John Pickering, a consultant serving a North American firm manufacturing wood products, said a recent migration from IBM SAP mainframes to a PowerHouse application on a 3000 has left his client with little budget or time to do anything about its 3000 during 2003.

“We have no real need to do anything yet,” Pickering said, “as we’ve still got several years and [the 3000] is currently meeting our needs just fine.”

Others still looking over their options say HP won’t be winning any new business if they decide to leave the 3000. “If we do migrate it will quite possibly be to a totally non-HP platform,” said Frank Nikoletti of Argyle Diamonds in Australia. “I think that this is where HP got it horribly wrong, because they expected to retain many customers by moving them to other HP platforms — and I don’t think that is what customers will end up doing.”

Nikoletti and others looking at migration are aware that new options are surfacing steadily, however. The company’s diamond sales and sorting application “is our competitive advantage over all other diamond producers, and there is no other comparable product,” he explained, making a sound business transition option difficult. New migration suppliers offer some hope.

“Just in the last three months there have been a number of offerings in the migration market,” he said. “It will be interesting to see who is still there in a year’s time, and also what other new ones arise.”

IBM is getting attention from both companies electing to migrate and those still considering a plan. One such poll respondent said HP’s announcement disrupted IT operations that were running smoothly.

“We may migrate to the IBM iSeries,” said Bob Bonnaci of Leader Services, a school district IT service supplier. “For what it’s worth, we are very disappointed in HP’s decision to do this, and had absolutely no plans to migrate from the platform prior to the announcement.”

Others still deciding have ruled out homesteading as an option. At the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Charles Benil said the organization will follow its application provider off the 3000 as well as rewrite in-house MPE surround apps to migrate its programs.

A stalled economy has many companies predicting a long timeline for making a decision or moving away from the 3000. “We will follow our application provider to an NT environment when it’s cost-justifiable,” said Debra Gauger of the City of Oskosh, Wisc., which is still studying a plan for its internal apps.

Few respondents asked for anonymity with their replies. But one who did said his health organization has already been disappointed by the capabilities of a replacement package.

“We had decided to migrate the business on the HP 3000, as well as on our IBM mainframe systems, to a new vendor purchased product,” said the IT manager. “This plan appears to be in serious trouble, due to system capabilities of that vendor’s product.."

Moving the 3000 Into HP’s Gray Areas

Reprinted from December 2002

Dave Wilde is leading HP through fresh territory in its final year of selling HP 3000s. The business manager for HP’s 3000 operations is overseeing the details of establishing a homesteading practice for customers who choose not to migrate. It’s work that serves as a counterpoint for HP’s assurances that all the pieces are in place for customers who must move their applications onto other HP systems.

After this year’s HP World, customers left Wilde and HP with a host of questions about what else HP can do to assist 3000 owners in staying on the platform. Emotion hadn’t cooled, as HP reported to some publications, but a practical dialogue began between the vendor and its customers about how homesteaders will manage in a world without HP’s resources.

One persistent question began to surface, too: why HP wants to remain a force in a computer community where it will cease sales in 11 months, and end support in four years. It was just one of several queries we wanted to follow up on after the conference, during the months when HP is planning its next set of homesteading announcements. We spoke with Wilde in the weeks after HP World by phone, where he explained HP’s objectives in the 3000 homesteading market and what he’s willing to consider.

Why does HP want to force its customers to use HP hardware while running new MPE licenses on Intel-based systems? Why can’t HP let go of MPE?
The decisions are guided by a couple of factors. One factor is that we clearly want to retain a relationship with customers, to keep them as satisfied HP customers. Clearly as we move forward, we want to structure things in ways that are good for our customers, and continuing to play a part in our customers’ long-term satisfaction is important.

I recognize some of the concerns that people might have — on one hand, walking away from the platform, coupled with this may feel a little bit odd to people. But there’s a fundamental philosophy at play here. It’s important to HP that we continue to play a role in understanding the customers’ needs and in addressing those.

As an example, this licensing question that came up about the emulators: we feel strongly that going forward we’re going to have a market-leading offering in the server space. We would like customers who want to move forward with MPE to do that with HP hardware.

We said HP hardware. In the shorter run that could be HP PA-RISC hardware. It’s not only Intel-based solutions.

What’s going to make the HP solution a better deal for the customers, as well as better for HP’s sake?
We’re going to have a market-leading offering. Where customers are staying with HP-based solutions, it’s in the interest of the customers to have access to market-leading hardware.

Does HP still want these customers?
Yes. For customers who have a need to run things beyond HP’s end of support date, we’re trying to address things so they’re retained as HP customers. The things we announced which HP would try to enable after HP’s end of support date are really targeted at those customers who have more stable environments and smaller environments, and it’s more practical for them to run things beyond HP’s end of support date. It’s not our belief that’s going to be beneficial to or attractive to customers with large organizations, large applications and dynamic environments.

I understand HP’s beliefs haven’t changed. But is it true that you recognize some portion of your customer base won’t be moving away from the system?
Some of our customers have told us that they need more time to plan their transitions, and others have told us they do not intend to transition. They want HP to work on solutions, and work on solutions with our partners, to make that sort of environment more available to them.

Are you willing to recognize there’s a subset of your customer base that can’t afford to do this transition?
Yes. Their drivers are that it’s may not financially the right move for them, either because they can’t afford that transition or they’re deciding it’s not worth it for them to make the investment [in a transition]. We’re trying to have a set of solutions for them to help them address that, without going so far as to say we think that’s the right answer for the majority of the customers. We recognize there’s a significant segment, and we’re trying to be responsive to that.

Nobody has heard from a large enough segment of the customers to have a number that's representative, right?
Yes. I’ve heard different numbers, and I’d rather not get into guessing what the size of that segment is. I’d believe that it’s far from the majority, but it’s a very significant segment.

How soon can HP have a proposed MPE license fee in place, so the companies which are considering building a hardware emulator can gauge their market?
One of the things we said at HP World was that I prefer not to trickle information out one-off. It has a tendency to confuse the message and also tends to be inefficient in terms of getting substantive announcements to our customers. We were able to announce a solid bundling of new information, as well as consolidating that with existing information, and I like that model much better.

The model that seemed to resonate with the folks at HP World was roughly quarterly announcements, while providing updates when available. That would indicate around the end of this calendar year.

I will state, and I think this is important, that with this licensing HP is not looking towards structuring the MPE license to make the emulator financially unattractive to customers. We don’t want to state anything about particulars until we’ve thought the costs through and what some of the customer needs are.

Gavin Scott of Allegro said he thought it would be a lot more attractive to any company offering a hardware emulator if they could ship off a demonstration version of the emulator with enough MPE for a test. This involves someone shipping off MPE other than HP. Is that prospect possible?
I’m very open to different alternatives and approaches within the boundaries we announced at HP World.

The objective is to help make this solution work, right?
Yes. Another objective is to make sure that expectations are clear, so we don’t oversell and overset expectations for customers.

Are you willing to get into a position where HP’s just collecting royalties for MPE?
I’m open to lots of alternatives. There are many issues from a customer and partner perspective: legal issues and constraints in the future that we want to make sure don’t result in an untenable position for anybody. That’s one of the reasons we want to be, not vague, but non-specific at this point. We’re in a gray area we haven’t been in before.

What’s HP’s position on third parties taking over portions of the delivery chain beyond the end of sales date next Oct. 31?
We’re working on partners with different elements of the value chain. That’s something we’re definitely doing in the transition space. Another area is remarketed systems, and we have a very strong relationship with Client Systems’ subsidiary Phoenix Systems. We’re definitely interested in working with them. We’re open to documenting what we’re doing so customers' and partners’ interests are also protected, along with HP’s interest.

Documenting what?
Suppose the emulator runs on HP solutions. We want to make sure partners aren’t left in a bad position in case HP makes future decisions that are inconsistent with that announcement. We’re very open to different arrangements, subject to representing reasonable business needs from HP’s perspective.

The point is that I’m very open to needs not just from HP’s perspective, but also from a customer and partner perspective. We’ll be working with the OpenMPE group and with partners and customers who are expressing concerns.

What’s the thinking behind maintaining the current pricing model for current A-Class performance?
Doing things like releasing all the horsepower that’s available in one chassis has a ripple effect that’s not acceptable for the pricing model. But we’ve heard that customers who have bought into an A-Class chassis may have some needs for more upgradability. One of the questions we asked was if there was a price associated with an additional upgrade within an A-Class chassis, would they be interested? That’s a price consistent with our overall pricing model. There seemed to be some interest in that which we’ll continue to look into.

Is this a way for a customer to avoid having to find an N-Class system to upgrade to after HP’s sales of N-Class systems stop?
Yes. If there’s enough interest and demand, and we can structure it in a way that it fits in well with our established pricing model, it’s something I’d be open to trying to structure.

Why so much attraction to a pricing model that was conceived before HP decided to leave the 3000 market?
It just isn’t practical for us to restructure the pricing model. We feel we structured it in a way that there’s appropriate value in the system for what we’re delivering. It’s a reference to purchases that have already been made.

You recently made a healthy reduction in that cost to customers with the new pricing. Why not continue in that with the A-Class?
Within limits we’ve obviously tried to offer strong value while recognizing the customers’ expenses they’ll be incurring through these transitions.

Is simplifying HP’s support through such an upgrade — which would give the 6.5 customers something to upgrade to in December 2004 — a factor in creating an A-Class upgrade?
There might be some impact there. But there are enough customers in different segments that some customers incrementally going to upgrade probably doesn’t fundamentally change the support picture from HP’s perspective. What’s more meaningful to me is if it gives customers more degrees of freedom.

How long do you think CSY will continue to operate as a virtual entity with HP after 2003?
CSY is the value chain that delivers 3000s to our customers. In that respect, it exists though 2006. How it’s managed internally is a subject that nobody can predict. From a customer perspective, for me the goal is that customers would see a 3000 business orientation through HP’s end of support date.

What’s the contact for that virtual CSY beyond end of sales? It’s looking like the reseller channel will be folding its tents next year.
From a channel perspective, what’s the contact point? We’re working closely with Client Systems in the Americas to identify different ways they can support customers. We’ll be continuing to work with all our partners. We’ll need to stay tuned as things move forward.

From an HP perspective, I’m the business manager, and I’m the go-to guy. We’d like to make sure the virtual CSY value chain is also represented cleanly and consistently to our customers. Exactly how that’s implemented over time may change. It works best where our customers would be able to work with HP in a centralized fashion.

Having said that, I continue to feel like I have an important role in adding value.

What about you? How long do you want to be the 3000 go-to guy?
I basically want to do this as long as two things are true. One is that I feel like I’m continuing to add value, and that HP wants me to continue doing that. Whether that’s months or years, nobody can predict. There’s no timeline for the end of that right now.

I didn’t expect a few years ago to be in the business, let alone in this particular role. Things have worked out in a way that I’m pleased to be in this role, and feeling like I have an opportunity to add value. It’s hard to tell these days what the future holds. Things are changing very quickly, both inside and outside the company.

So now it's 50 years

MPE-IMAGE forever
It was something of a gamble 50 years ago, but Hewlett-Packard rolled out its first HP 3000 servers this month in 1972. "November is a Happening" banners — probably printed out on mainframe greenbar paper — hung on the walls and cubicle dividers of the factory in Cupertino. This was an HP that still put out doughnuts for its engineers (exclusively male) and hosted beer busts on Friday afternoons.

One of the best sources for stories of this era of the 3000 is Bill Foster's TeamFoster website. He's got more than 15,000 words of reporting and commentary about the HP of 1969-1976. The 3000 became known as Omega inside the labs, a more advanced design than the Alpha model preferred by Bill Hewlett.

They had two new computers under development, code-named Alpha and Omega. When completed, Alpha was going to replace HP’s existing minicomputer line, the HP 2116. But Alpha was just Omega’s little sister, and Omega was going to knock the socks off the industry. Everything about Omega was new and state-of-the-art — the iPad of the day. So naturally all of the engineers wanted to work on it -- nobody wanted to touch Alpha.

Omega was just too ambitious for the hardware of the era. The operating system of 50 years ago was the unique flavor that HP added to the minicomputer mix of the seventies. HP canceled the Omega operating system and fell back on Alpha. The computer system was troubled from the start, bad enough that HP recalled those servers it first shipped. As many of them as they could get back, anyway. HP offered the customers a 2116 in exchange, and at no cost.

Foster says the savior of the System 3000, as HP called it in the early days, was Mike Green.

MPE was the most complex part of the computer and it was a disaster. Because of MPE, customers began shipping their 3000’s BACK to HP -- that was definitely the wrong direction.

Mike agreed to save MPE, and after a week or two we were ready to present his plan to Paul Ely. Mike stood up in a room full of important people and gave the pitch. It was a great plan, and Mike said we would be out of the woods in about five months. When he finished his presentation, Ely said, “Are you telling me five months because that’s what I want to hear, or is this really what you think will happen?” Mike looked at Paul in a dismissive manner. “I’m saying this because it’s going to happen. Why would I say anything just to please you?” For once Ely was speechless. There was dead silence as we left the room. And five months later MPE was working.

Foster's reporting is long enough to be a third of a nonfiction book. It's only available on his website, though. With free beer, and nothing but men behind terminals building an OS, the tale might as well be from another planet. Successors of that hardware and software are running today. Gavin Scott, who noted the 50th birthday, tends to an emulator of the original design. It's a turn-key setup "which will let you have your own 1980-vintage HP 3000 system up and running in a couple minutes."

Fifty years is close to a lifetime for human beings. It’s a span in the computer industry that feels like aeons. All along, it’s been MPE to carry that seventies technology into the third decade of the twenty-first.

Considering how an emulator can elevate an elder technology into orbit, MPE might live forever.

3000's legacy tales now include tax fraud

From the 1980s onward, one software vendor was able to go toe-to-toe with Hewlett-Packard. A recent verdict from a US federal court shows the vendor used a win at all costs approach: cheating.

The Lund Performance Solutions still include a defragmentation product, Defrag/iX, for HP 3000 servers. That software is now sold by its creators, Allegro Consultants. Defragging a 3000 disk set becomes important when B-tree links clutter. But measuring and adjusting 3000 systems performance was a higher-stakes game starting from the 1980s. Now it looks like the stakes were high for Robert Lund, the founder of the vendor who faces a sentence for nearly 30 years of tax fraud.

The news convicting a 3000 vendor of a federal crime is not unique. During the years of the early Noughts, executives of HardwareHouse and Computech earned jail convictions for illegal transfer of HP 3000 hardware licenses. The cause was so celeb that another 3000 vendor, Phoenix 3000, tried to shoo away business that was going to the illegally licensed systems and their brokers.

The story of the tax fraud reads like an epic out of the excesses of the Eighties. A private landing strip, a 7,000-square-foot home, a trailer park with rentals, a health food store, and Medicaid fraud are among the details in a US Attorney’s press release. “On his food stamp and Medicaid applications, Lund boldly claimed to be a part-time handyman earning just $810 a month. In total, Lund stole approximately $70,000 in public benefits, most of which were paid by the federal government.”

The maximum sentence Lund faces is a 27-year prison term and a $950,000 fine. He’s making restitution payments of $1.7 million to the IRS.

Lock-in brings profiting

Some legacy systems owners might remember heady days when such software seemed to come at soaring prices. Systems were captive to vendor hardware like the 3000 and the rest of the HP Enterprise server line. Excesses are accepted, begrudgingly. Once the hardware gets moved to a non-essential track, though, the pricing from commodity markets starts to settle in. There is still lock in with legacy. It starts and ends with the operating system, though.

Lund was a powerful resource for hardware resellers. Proving a system was maxed out meant replacement systems, or at least memory upgrades. Meta-View from Lund measures 3000 system horsepower. HP has its own entry in that performance derby, Perfview. Many managers were skeptical about any performance reporting software from a hardware vendor selling new systems.

Lund’s clients included large businesses, school districts, and health care companies located throughout the US. After an indictment charged Lund with tax evasion, failure to file personal income tax returns, obstructing or impeding the IRS, and theft of government funds, Lund settled in a plea agreement. He will hear his sentence on Oct. 21.

Legacy was big business compared to Intel-based servers during the 1980s. That was the era when many legacy owners took their systems online. Then the x86 architecture gained its speed as well as commodity advantages. There remain many legacy programs that deserve continued investment from owners. The need for special performance measurement isn’t among those, now that Intel servers can work as if they were HP legacy hardware systems.

Graduate to more HP 3000 performance

A commencement address to those ready to matriculate to faster HP 3000 systems

By Mike Hornsby

Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go? You want to get all of the speed out of your current HP 3000 configuration. There are ways of trimming existing costs and applying the savings to improved performance. This article provides insights and methodologies for saving on ongoing costs and improving interactive response times and batch throughput.

Speed traps

If you’re using DTCs, are the terminals running at 19.2 kbaud? Do you have more than four disks per HP-IB or single ended SCSI interface? Do you have a single LANIC for all network traffic? Have you switched to Jetdirect or LPD-based printing sharing?

Hardware options

Maximize your memory configuration/interleave. Switch to Web or socket interfaces to reduce ‘hpusercount,’ allowing a faster server with a smaller ‘hpuserlimit’. Add disc drives in user volumes to spread transaction management. Add or upgrade tape devices to speed up backup operations. Split your fourth-generation language and reporting licenses into developers and runtime licenses, and put the developers on a separate, limited-user system.

Database management

Make sure that datasets are blocked efficiently to save disk space and maximize serial prefetching. If you’re performing chained reads, repack on a periodic basis. Place your heaviest accessed files on Fast/Wide SCSI disks. Use HWMPUT or a serial repack to avoid a deleted entry chain. Split your automatic master for small detail from those associated with large details. Watch for master capacities that cause clustering. Avoid the use of master dynamic expansion except for emergency overflows.

Process management

Tune your CQ=152,200,200,2000 if you’re using VPlus. Otherwise, tune CQ=152,200,100,2000. Watch for socket applications such as ODBC always running at 152. Use NSCONTROL SERVER=MIN,MAX to pre allocate server processes.


If you’re using mirroring or RAID 5, reevaluate the requirement for logging. If you are logging, make sure that proper procedures are followed after system aborts.


Object Code Translate and allocate Compatibility Mode programs such as FCOPY and any other user CM programs. Install the Native Mode versions of QUERY and QUAD if you use them.


If you’re using spooling utilities, minimize the number of spoolfiles on the system. Use set stdlist=delete in trivial batch jobs. If a program produces a large stdlist, send it to a circular file. At reboot, the system must recover any spoolfiles that were opened at the time of a crash. This used to be done prior to SYSSTART, but now is a background process — but it still can hog the system for a while. Also, doing a print ;start=-20 on a large spoolfile causes all records to be read, because spoolfiles have variable records.


The backup is usually the single longest, most intensive job. Many times, slow response during the day can be attributed to an online restore. Use the store listing or BIGFILES to identify the largest files. It is a shame to waste time backing up memory dumps or month-end work files in each full back up. It is a crime to wait for these files to roll in during a re-install!

Free tools

Some tools that are available for free: At BIGFILES, a utility to list the files on the system in descending order by size w/cutoff. QPLUS, a command file script that approximates GLANCE or SOS.

At FILERPT, a utility that summarizes file usage from system log files. SYSLOG, a utility that allows dynamic switching of system log file events. RAMUSAGE, a utility that describes memory content better than GLANCE. DBLOADNG, a utility to report on database efficiencies

Application tips

Don’t use PIC 9 fields in COBOL for arithmetic operations. The overhead for ASCII-to-binary is substantial. Do use VPlus forms caching. This is easy to implement in the COM area, and most terminals and emulators support it.

Use DBUPDATE in place of delete/put; this CIUPDATE feature can dramatically reduce the overhead to modify a search or sort item. Do use mode 6 DBGET w/date cut off. Many programs read down the chain selecting for date >, until end of chain. It is usually much faster to read up the chain stopping at date <.

IMAGE does not prefetch for either mode 5 or 6 DBGETS.

Do use Robelle’s Suprtool to extract/sort work files. Many systems have one or two ‘killer’ batch reports. These usually sequentially read a master and chain to a detail producing a work file that is then sorted and passed to a report or output section. Suprtool can usually produce the same work file in one-tenth of the time.

Do use IMAGE b-trees to replace KSAM look up files. IMAGE now has the capability to incorporate b-tree lookups. It is very easy to implement and very transparent to the application code.

Other cost-saving options

Have leased-line and ISP agreements re-quoted annually. Just by asking you can usually save 10-15 percent. Review hardware and software maintenance agreements annually. Look for items that you already have spares for — terminals, DTCs, and tape drives, or thosethat can be replaced inexpensively.

Eliminate OpenView. Many sites have this product to allow DTC switching. This was bundled into MPE/iX 5.5 as host-based DTC control, along with host based Telnet. Look to grow operations and user staff into programmers. Which would you rather have: a great programmer that doesn’t know the business, or a fair programmer that already knows the business and people well?

Mike Hornsby’s company Beechglen Consulting (513.922.0509) provides contract administration, contract programming, and customized system and application software support, specializing in HP 3000s and promoting an “Anyone can call about anything” philosophy. A former HP senior systems engineer, he co-founded Beechglen in 1988.

Understanding how to use Mirrored Disk on HP 3000s

HP’s add-on product provides vital disaster recovery, but you’ll need advice on set-up, disk errors and split-volumes

By Andreas Schmidt

Mirrored Disk/iX is an optional subsystem for HP 3000 mission critical systems, and it’s vital to guaranteeing high availability of your company’s data. This article explains the fundamentals of HP’s Mirrored Disk/iX: how to set up volume sets, how to deal with disk errors and how to establish a split-volume backup.

The complete resource on this subject is, of course, the HP manual for Mirrored Disk/iX (User’s Guide, HP Part No. 30349-90003.) Some of what follows is based on this. But we all know that a summary sometimes will help better than reading through a complete HP manual — especially if you are under pressure in a delicate situation.

What are mirrored disks?

Mirrored Disk/iX is a subsystem for HP 3000s which needs to be ordered separately. The installation follows the normal subsystem Installation Process as documented in the Installation Manual. Mirrored Disk/iX is designed to work only with non-system volumes. To make it very clear: Mirrored Disk/iX does not support mirroring the HP 3000’s system volumes.

It supports disk drives that use HP-FL cards or NIO SCSI cards. But mirrored partners must be the same model of fiber-link drive or NIO SCSI drive, and mirrored partners must be connected to different HP-FL cards or NIO SCSI. Otherwise a single point of failure would still exist.

Mirrored disks are designed to provide high data availability by automatically maintaining identical information on two partner disks. When an application writes to a disk, disk mirroring causes the information to be written to both drive partners. When an application reads from a disk, there are two places to access the requested data. This may give performance benefits on large systems which do a lot of reads for queries but only a few writes to the same data. Applications running on the system are unaware that disk mirroring is present.

Once disk mirrors have been established using the VOLUTIL utility, a mirrored disk acts just like any other disk connected to the system, until a disk failure occurs. If either disk of any pair fails, normal system operation continues. When the partner is ready to resume operation, the system copies data from the good disk, bringing the pair to a consistent state, and normal mirroring resumes.

Once mirrored disks have been installed, you can use them like any other disks connected to the system. Additionally, you can perform split-volume backup of mirrored disk data while still accessing the data.

So, Mirrored Disk/iX supports the following features:

High data availability: System automatically maintains identical information on two partner disks. Users continue to access data if either disk of any pair is disabled or under repair.

Reduced downtime: Users continue to access data while system performs file backup.

Disk failure recovery: System detects failed drive, continues to run application, and discontinues mirroring until drive is repaired.

Resume mirroring: System allows for the removal of the failed drive from pair, the mounting of another drive in its place while the system is running, then copies data to the new drive, and resumes disk mirroring.

Data consistency: System writes data to both partners of a mirrored pair, so data is always consistent, even during the repair process.

The installation of Mirrored Disk/iX is easy:

• Use the SYSGEN utility to configure the disks into the system.

• Install the disk hardware.

• Boot the system with the new configuration.

• Use the AUTOINST utility to install the mirrored disk software.

• Use the VOLUTIL utility to create a mirrored volume set.

• Move files, if necessary.

• Set up accounts and groups.

The subsystem installation of Mirrored Disk/iX enhances the HP 3000’s VOLUTIL commands. HP provides both commands VOLUTIL and MIRVUTIL to make life easier for the System Manager. The functionality is the same when Mirrored Disk/iX has been installed.

Please be careful: The Create Volumes (CV) capability is required to use VOLUTIL to initialize mirrored volumes. You also need it to input system commands from the system console to perform split-volume backups.

How to set up volume sets

Assuming that the subsystem has been installed and the hardware as been plugged in and is configured, the new volumes will be in state SCRATCH or UNKNOWN. Verify this via :DTSTAT ALL

30-079370          SCRATCH
31-079370          SCRATCH
32-079370          SCRATCH
33-079370          SCRATCH

Now invoke :VOLUTIL or :MIRVUTIL and create the new set’s master disk as mirrored pair:


and verify via DSTAT:

volutil: :DSTAT ALL

30-079370          MASTER-MD      MEMBER1 (PROD_SET-0)
31-079370          MASTER-MD      MEMBER1 (PROD_SET-0)
32-079370          SCRATCH
33-079370          SCRATCH

Now add volumes in this mirrored set. These volumes must be in state SCRATCH or UNKNOWN.


and check via DSTAT again:

volutil: :DSTAT ALL

30-079370          MASTER-MD      MEMBER1 (PROD_SET-0)
31-079370          MASTER-MD      MEMBER1 (PROD_SET-0)
32-079370          MEMBER-MD      MEMBER2 (PROD_SET-0)
33-079370          MEMBER-MD      MEMBER2 (PROD_SET-0)

In VOLUTIL, the command SHOWSET with the MIRROR option (this option has been installed via the added subsystem) will show the state of the mirrored set:


Volume Name   Vol Status     Mirr Status          Ldev      Mirr Ldev
MEMBER1       MASTER        NORMAL                  30       31
MEMBER1       MASTER        NORMAL                  31       30
MEMBER2       MEMBER        NORMAL                  32       33
MEMBER2       MEMBER        NORMAL                  33       32

How to deal with Disk Errors

There are two types of disk errors: Disk errors after mount (in normal operation) and a disk cannot be mounted (already defective in booting the box)

Disk Error after Mount: If a disk has a problem after the mount, the system will continue to work automatically with only one disk of the affected pair.

Possibilities for Disk Errors are:

Disk reports ERRORS — Disk will immediately become DISABLED and the System will continue to work without a mirroring for the affected volume set without any interruption.

Disk does not answer any longer — The system waits about two minutes for an answer by the disk. During this period, all I/O processes are suspended. If the disk will answer in this interval, the system will continue to work with mirroring for this pair. If the disk will not answer the disk will become DISABLED. The system will continue without mirroring for the affected volume.

Here’s an example: During normal operation LDEV 32 fails. The following message will appear on the Console:


:REPLY 22 ,Y

The system will continue to run. The problem may be that this message and the reply will be overlooked on big systems. It’s recommended to have a monitor in place. HP’s OpenView Operations Center (a.k.a. IT/O OpC) may be one option.

A check using DSTAT and VOLUTIL will show the following:


30-079370     MASTER-MD          MEMBER1 (PROD_SET-0)
31-079370     MASTER-MD          MEMBER1 (PROD_SET-0)
32-079370     *DISABLED-MD       MEMBER2 (PROD_SET-0)
33-079370     MEMBER-MD          MEMBER2 (PROD_SET-0)


Volume Name     Vol Status           Mirr Status       Ldev      Mirr Ldev
MEMBER1            MASTER             NORMAL           30           31
MEMBER1            MASTER             NORMAL           31           30
MEMBER2            MEMBER             DISABLED         32           33
MEMBER2            MEMBER             NON-MIRROR       33           32

Having repaired or exchanged the disk, you must continue by issuing the command: volutil: REPLACEMIRRVOL PROD_SET:MEMBER2 32 and re-establish the mirroring. Check it via


Volume Name Vol Status    Mirr Status              Ldev  Mirr Ldev
MEMBER1         MASTER     NORMAL                  30      31
MEMBER1         MASTER     NORMAL                  31      30
MEMBER2         MEMBER     REPAIR-DEST             32      33
MEMBER2         MEMBER     REPAIR-SRCE             33      32

The repair will happen automatically. No further intervention will be needed. This process is fully transparent for applications and users of the data on the affected volume set.

Disk Error before Mount: Here’s another example: LDEV 33 cannot be mounted during the system’s startup. Following message will appear on the console:


The system sets the “good” mirrored disk LDEV 32 on PENDING and waits for SUSPENDMIRRVOL to allow LDEV 32 to work without the mirrored partner:


:REPLY 22 ,Y

This volume (here: MEMBER2) will stay unavailable until either the mirrored pair (here: LDEV 33) will become available again, or the mirror will become suspended via SUSPENDMIRRVOL command. DSTAT will show the following:



By using SUSPENDMIRRVOL the mirror will become suspended, and the disk will work without a mirror for it. Now, this disk should not become faulty — it’s a single point of failure now! SUSPENDMIRRVOL will work only for disks in state PENDING!


MEMBER2 is now available again, but without a mirror:


Volume Name Vol Status Mirr Status Ldev Mirr Ldev

Having repaired the disk (LDEV 33), the mirror must become active again:

33-079370 SCRATCH

By using REPLACEMIRRVOL, the repaired LDEV 33 will be initialized as mirror for LDEV 32 :


You can verify this with SHOWSET


Volume Name Vol Status Mirr Status Ldev Mirr Ldev

Split-Volume Backup

Another feature of Mirrored Disk/iX is the way it can make backups. It is only necessary to take (physically spoken) one disk’s content out of a mirrored pair. This is possible via the split-volume backup. To split a volume set, no user is allowed to stay logged on for this volume set: You can use the command :TELL @ LOGOFF FOR BACKUP. The volume set will become unavailable now for one half:



Now make via VSOPEN both SETS (USER and BACKUP) available: :VSOPEN PROD_SET


Now the PROD_SET is available for production but without the mirroring:



Start the backup with the command: :FILE T;DEV=TAPE :STORE /; *T; SPLITVS=PROD_SET; SHOW. This backup is compatible to the “normal” STORE.

Having finished the backup, the split can be canceled:


SOURCE=USER tells the system that during the JOIN and the following REPAIR to synchronize the BACKUP with the USER split, so the on-line users are allowed to continue to work. The status in VOLUTIL during the synchronization will look like:


Volume Name Vol Status Mirr Status Ldev Mirr Ldev

At most, six mirrored pairs will become synchronized in the same period for performance reasons. That means as soon as one of the six pairs is finished the next waiting pair will be processed.

This is an optional way to make a backup — as I said earlier, Mirrored Disk/iX is fully transparent to all applications. We’re still using TurboStore/iX online to back up our mirrored volume sets, and didn’t encounter any problem because of Mirrored Disk/iX.


Mirrored Disk/iX is a MUST for mission critical systems to guarantee high availability of the data. In case of problems because of the physical disks, the data stays available. The automatic repair processes in Mirrored Disk/iX are transparent to the users. The procedures are quite easy — but you must know them! This article will help all HP 3000 System Managers to have this handy.

3000 Network Hardware: Routers and Switches and Hubs, Oh My!

HP 3000 hardware networking can be like a trip down a Yellow Brick Road

By Curtis Larsen

Auntie MAU! Auntie MAU! A Twisted Pair! A Twisted Pair!

Once upon a time, networks were as flat as the Kansas prairie, and computers on them were a lot like early prairie farmsteads: few and far between, pretty much speaking to each other only when they had to. (“Business looks good again this year.” “Yep.”) Most systems still used dumb terminals, and when speaking to anything outside the LAN, system-to-system modem connections were the way to do it.

A tornado named the Internet appeared in this landscape. It uprooted established standards and practices, swept aside protocols and speed limitations, and took us into a Technicolor networking landscape very different than what was there before.

Toto, I get the feeling our packets aren’t in Kansas anymore

Smaller companies were tossed before the tornado to eventually land and quickly begin growing again in the new environment. Large companies like IBM, HP, Digital, and Microsoft, who were rooted and established in their own proprietary standards (it sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true) survived by generally ignoring the howling winds. Eventually, munchkin-like, they all came out to see what the general fuss was about, and found that a house-sized chunk of change (pun intended) had landed.

Networking, and the TCP/IP protocol had truly arrived in style, bringing strange new applications and markets. Serial connections and proprietary networking (“What do you mean we don’t need SNA to connect to the Wichita office anymore?”) gave way to a new kid on the block. And her little dog, too.

Follow the Yellow-Colored-Cable-and-Labeled-at-Both-Ends Road!

So here we are, sitting in a strange new networking land of strange new networking things. And for some of us, trying to understand the whole of it all — especially in relation to “legacy” system like the HP e3000 — is a little daunting. What are all these networking black boxes we plug the system into, and what do they all do? How can they make life better? (How can they make life worse?) If you’re not sure (or just plain curious) read on.

We’re off to see the wizard — this wonderful wizard of ours!

The networking wizard of your HP e3000 system is a program named “NMMGR.” It allows you to define networking hardware and tells you how to create connections with them. But what things can you define? Before we talk about connecting to things, we should probably take a crash-course in the things you’re connecting to.

Which path do I take? Well, you could take this one, that one, or both...

The basic networking boxes you’ll connect to are hubs, routers, switches, bridges, and gateways. Oh My. Let’s take them one at a time.

Since life is like an analogy, I’ll stretch one for the hub to go like this: If your network traffic is like water through a hose, then a hub is like a splitter, allowing multiple exits. Generally speaking, a hub simply splits the traffic from the “incoming” line into each connected port “out.” This is cheap and simple to set up if you don’t have a lot of connections, but like too many divisions on any hose, too many hubs will make the end connections anemic. The fewer connections the better, so most hubs have no more than 24 ports total.

Obviously, to make things better for all connections in larger networks, more “water pressure” was needed — and the switch was born.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

No, I’m not talking about the System Administrator. A switch looks very similar to a hub, but the appearance ends there. Again, if your network is like a stream of water in a hose, then your garden-variety switch is like a water tank, adding pressure to the line. Huge water tanks are placed at the heart of a city’s water system, while small tanks are placed on buildings. At the heart of most networks — tended by a cooing Network Administrator — is a core switch (the main tank).

Additional “work group” switches (building-sized tanks) can be used in wiring closets for special-need areas of the network. So, although a hub and a switch both offer multiple connections, the resulting “streams” have vastly different origin and force. Now that we’re one big speedy networking family, no one minds if it all fails, right? No? Well love can build a bridge, and so can electronics.

My Network’s crashing… What a world! What a world…

Having all your network connections on one physical segment isn’t too grand — especially when it fails. By segregating physical networks and then “bridging” them together, you ensure that in the face of adversity, some people can still laugh at the ones who can’t work. Aquariously speaking, a simple bridge is like a valved pipe between two water systems, passing water in both directions, and shutting one side’s valve if that system “loses pressure” (goes down). You say you want to route water based on content? Well then.

This here’s the ‘Packet of a Different Header’ you’ve heard about

Simply put, a basic router is an intelligent (logically) one-way bridge, examining network data information and very quickly sending data packets down one line or another. In our epic analogy, a router could be a thermal valve, forcing only cold water to flow this way, and hot water that way, preserving us from the heartbreak of tepidity. Since the router has to work quickly, it usually works at a lower level than other equipment does, caring less about content and more about destination. You say you’d like to exchange hot water with someone else? You’d like the gate to swing both ways?

There’s no place like the home network! No place like the home network…

A router is excellent at sending packets from Here to There (and not necessarily Back Again), but nothing beats the gateway for two-way communication. A gateway takes data from one network and sends it to another, even re-creating the data packet on the other side, if need be. To stretch our analogy to its limits, we could say that two different water systems exist, having the same characteristics, including temperature. One system is chlorinated, while the other is not, and so simply allowing the water to pass unmolested would be an issue — one system would become diluted, and the other exposed. What we need is a filtration pump that allows the water to be pumped in either direction, adding chlorine one way, and taking it out in the other direction.

Connecting to the Internet requires a gateway, since your home network doesn’t “know” how to reach something out there. What it does know is how to hand off a data packet destined for “Not Here” to a gateway for processing. The gateway in turns checks the packet’s address and sends it to the best possible network closer to the packet’s Ultimate Destination, re-labeling the packet as it does so, and putting its own address in the packet’s “return address.” If the packet’s Ultimate Destination isn’t on the new network either, then the gateway there does the same thing until the packet finally hits the Emerald City.

On its way back home, because of all the “return addresses” it picked up, the packet passes back through each gateway that it came from until, clicking its little ruby slippers, the packet realizes it is in no place but home.

Because of its intensive examination work, a gateway is almost always dedicated to its task, especially on larger networks. It was the gateway’s filtering abilities that led to using them as a firewall to protect networks by purposefully filtering and/or denying different types of connections and data. But the firewall is a topic all its own — just make sure you use one!

And you were there, and you, and you.
Oh Auntie Carly, there’s no place like HP!

So there you have it — Networking Devices 101. Now that you know what you can connect your e3000 to, you can come up with some ideas on how to use them, and answer questions about what to connect to. Should an e3000 be connected to a hub, or to a switch? (Switch!) Does a printer need to be connected to a hub or a switch? (A hub will usually be fine.) Should I use my e3000 as a gateway? (I think not.) Should the physical part of my network the e3000 is on be bridged? (Yes.) Can I configure a gateway and connect my e3000 to the Internet? (Certainly. But make sure you have a firewall first!) Can I use other protocols or connections besides TCP/IP and Ethernet? (Absolutely! X.25, SNA, FDDI, and a number of other connections are available, but they change a lot, so check with your favorite sales rep first.)

So long as HP continues to expand and extend the capabilities of their workhorse system, the e3000 will continue to be the perfect business computer choice. As everyone who uses and loves it knows – stick with it and your business just keeps flowing along, leaving your competitors all wet.

Remote storage emerges as HP 3000 solution

The parts of a legacy IT shop most likely to fail are the moving parts. Old servers usually run off old disk drives. Some of the drives in the HP and Digital legacy shops hail from the 1990s. It’s as if the trouble coming with the hardware is on the move, heading on a direct course to a loss of service.

Beechglen Development has a solution that steps between a legacy server and the applications’ need for data. The BGDSAN creates a storage area network’s individual drives using a network link to a customer’s on-premise legacy server.

Virtual arrays were state-of-the-art storage solutions 20 years ago. Plenty of these VA devices still serve legacy iron. Beechglen says its “managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) solution is typically comparable in cost to your existing hardware support contract.”

In one interesting wrinkle, Beechglen says it builds its BGDSAN units exclusively from HP hardware. Some of the customized configurations for this STaaS solution can include SSD units. Repairing VA arrays like the VA7410 requires parts that are not new or refurbished. “These are just used drives that have not failed yet,” the company says.

HP’s other array solution for HP 3000 and HP 9000 systems is the XP line. Both VA and XP arrays require costly hardware support compared to the BGDSAN.

Ready to restart

Then there is the ability to restart devices after a shutdown.

“Many disks will continue spinning forever – provided they never stop spinning,” Beechglen says. “Over the years we’ve seen countless disks powered down for planned maintenance that don’t spin back up. The bearings cool off and seize the motor. Or the bearings are warped from years of running hot resulting in disks that just cannot come back to operational speed after a complete stoppage.”

Remote computing is the default today for modern IT architecture. Azure Cloud services deliver virtualization servers. The scope of off-premise computing is virtually complete. If there is a spinning disk in a legacy IT shop, it’s as classic as a terminal attached via cables.

HP-labeled hardware is always going to have a terminus, because they’re not building 3000s anymore. The peripherals will see their finale, too. It could well turn out that the Charon emulation solution will be the only data route that runs into the end of the 2020s, and maybe beyond. They keep making faster Intel hardware.

Now, HP's Unix transitions to legacy

Wall of books
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has issued dates to terminate support for two releases of its HP-UX Unix environment. Next year will mark the end of HPE’s support for HP-UX 11.11 and 11.12. The final, terminal version of HP-UX, 11.31, is already in the MPS category. This Mature Product Support repairs crucial bugs. HPE adds that this support level is “without sustaining engineering.”

MPS is a milestone that the MPE/iX operating system visited in 2007. In this state, the operating system is frozen for features. The legacy managers in the HP 3000 market found a silver lining in frozen status. Fewer elements of the MPE/iX environment were likely to break, since changes did not find their way into the base software. Already a reliable OS, taking MPE/iX into Mature support makes it even more stable.

HP-UX is another matter for a legacy manager. Unix, touted as the replacement for HP 3000 datacenters, holds a riveting reputation. Security flaws are a major element in an OS that powers IT so frequently. The more Unix running in the world, the less secure it becomes.

The year 2022 ends HP’s active support for HP-UX, but the shift away from the vendor’s teams isn’t stopping legacy use. This legacy milestone usually arrives while independent support companies take on the vendor accounts relying on the OS. Change is inevitable, but changes to legacy IT are fewer. Losing vendor support may not even mean different experts will take on the work. At VMS Software Inc., some support team members shifted from HPE jobs to work at VSI.

Indies to the rescue

In the HP 3000 marketplace, Beechglen Development took up HP 3000 support, among other companies. Just about the time HP announced in 2011 it was migrating its best HP-UX features to Linux, MPE/iX support from HP ended. Beechglen remains a support resource for legacy IT in both HP 3000 and HP 9000 communities. The company uses Nickel, a program to assess the state of software on an HP-UX server.

This Network Information Collector, Keeper, and Elaborator is “a shell collection script from Hewlett Packard,” Beechglen explains. It’s been maintained and modified through the decades by Beechglen. A NICKEL script runs on HP-UX systems 10.20, 11.0, 11.11, 11.23, and 11.31.

Nickels run as a review and reference for general system health. “The script also provides aid after system events for troubleshooting,” Beechglen adds, “and getting a system back up and running in as little time as necessary.”

Beechglen, Allegro Consultants, and other companies keep supporting legacy environments after the vendor leaves the market. These companies tout expertise from a “team who eats, breathes, and sleeps HP-UX and MPE for 33-plus years, in the most demanding environments anywhere in the world.”

HP’s Unix is entering the era where MPE/iX visited 14 years earlier. Like MPE/iX did, HP-UX has gained an extra year of vendor support. System vendors will continue to collect support dollars until the latest possible date. There’s plenty of value in legacy IT, all through the years after the vendor stops selling it.