A company operated by HP 3000 support and sales corporation Advant wants to help customers create late-model HP 3000s with maximum CPU speeds, telling customers to bring their own licenses of MPE to systems being sold as "GREBs," a Generic REplacement Box for an HP 3000 or 9000.
Advant's Steve Pirie said the company has started to enable these generic systems — Advant doesn't sell the hardware — by employing SSEDIT, software which Advant has been using to modify HP server model strings for support procedures. Advant does not sell SSEDIT, which it describes at the Web site irs4hp.com. It says SSEDIT is a recovery solution, meaning that it was introduced as a means to rescue inoperative HP PA-RISC servers including 3000s.
A GREB would not exist without SSEDIT to give the server its critical personality information: the details of how fast a given 3000 processor will run. "That's how it gets done," Pirie said. "There's no secret to how a GREB gets born. You go to eBay, you buy what you want, and then you GREB it. GREBing it is running SSEDIT, putting in the correct information that you need."
The 3000 community has long speculated that a third-party answer would emerge to counter HP's N-Class crippling. Advant, through GREBs and its use of SSEDIT, appears to be the first such reply.
Pirie said SSEDIT "is all proprietary stuff to us. HP could do the same thing if they wanted." He added that he believes it's possible that many customers don't care anymore what HP thinks about a third-party's alteration of HP server model strings — whether it's for the purpose of recovering a system, or purchasing a newer 3000 with processors running at maximum speed.
The minimal information at a new Web site, grebs4hp.com, shows a lineup of three newer N-Class servers now available for purchase. The table at the site shows servers running at the maximum speed of their PA-RISC processor, unlike the N-Class systems sold by HP, which are speed-limited — some customers call them "crippled" — because of system personality information.
Has HP worked out an arrangement to allow its servers to be upgraded in speed? Pirie says, "I have no idea. They might be stupid enough to try and do that." The vendor has told OpenMPE's advocates repeatedly it will not open up A-Class and N-Class horsepower range, slowed down on almost all of its newer HP 3000s. But a GREBs system, used with SSEDIT, will provide this maximum horsepower, Pirie said.