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Questions about Itanium migration?

At this summer's HP World, the Special Interest Group for Itanium (SIG-Itanium) will be holding its third annual meeting in San Francisco. The processor has been real enough long enough to have shipped working releases through more than three years. Itanium also represent's HP's future for HP-UX servers, the system the vendor has recommended most often to replace HP 3000s.

We're part of the leadership for the SIG-Itanium, and we'd like to hear questions from HP 3000 customers and partners about the chip. The questions you pass on here will be asked at the August meeting in San Francisco. E-mail them to me at [email protected], or just post a comment below. I am helping to chair the meeting, and so I'll do my best to get the answers to questions for those of you who can't be in SF.

HP announced at the end of May that it has shipped out its last version of PA-RISC processors, the CPUs that drive the HP 3000 line and much of the installed HP 9000 lineup. These are the 9000s that have replaced some 3000s, although Windows/Intel systems are being picked by the biggest group of migrating 3000 sites. By some estimates HP will have only another five years of support life left for PA-RISC, so the future of its enterprise lineup for Unix lies squarely with Itanium. A poll we conducted last fall couldn't turn up much interest at that time from HP 3000 sites in the Itanium systems HP was offering. Maybe the nine months since then have changed things. We'd like to know.

There's been more interest now that HP has said PA-RISC has seen its last update. Eben Young, the IT manager at HP 3000 shop Health Plan of San Mateo, pointed out the "expected demise" of PA-RISC — which was noted on Robelle's blog with a link to a Silicon story —  and then Young posed some questions:

"Is the migration of HP/UX on PA/RISC to HP/UX on Itanium seamless, from the point of view of software compatibility?  Are the data structures and high-level constructs essentially identical to in-house application programmers?  Is it true that those who have opted to install HP-UX PA-RISC systems must now consider thinking about a migration to Itanium?"

Good questions all, since they address concerns by HP 3000 shops that migrating to HP-UX is only the first step in a transition. The leading HP-UX processor is going away as surely as HP's manufactured HP 3000s. HP's Itanium 2 Integrity servers are supposed to make up half of all enterprise sales at HP by the end of this year, if the vendor hits its target.

As for the agenda for next month's SIG meeting, it's still being formed up, but is based around customer reports and HP's updates on the processors:

15 minutes of introduction and housekeeping (attendance, elections, etc)

10 minutes of customer testimonial  about their Integrity experience

About 35 minutes of content presented by HP

About 15 minutes general Q&A

Your questions can make that Q&A more lively.