Is 2010 really HP's end?
The ticking clock of releasing source

Another, third-party way to extend 3000 life

3000 customers are starting to notice something called the Orbit Advantage, a solution to performance futures for MPE/iX which Orbit and its partner Ideal have quietly started to roll out.

I don't think calling the Orbit Advantage an "emulator," as Joe has ably located in the Web address below, accurately describes what is being offered.

Some months ago, Advant started to roll out hardware and software to let MPE/iX operate on PA-RISC servers — all such servers, no matter what HP firmware determined the system's preferred boot-up OS.

The new feature here is VM/iX, software with the ability to relocate the MPE/iX instance, so the MPE/iX OS can perform on any of HP's PA-RISC hardware with a different HP model name.

The language from the Web page for Orbit Advantage tells the scope of the software. A prior 3000 NewsWire report on this blog, from early in 2007, reports the company's intent. From the Web page:

VM+/iX provides HP 3000 users the capability to virtualize their existing servers onto other servers to achieve increased performance, long-term maintainability and significant cost savings.

The Advantage is a package is Orbit has bundled with Backup+/iX, whose latest version includes the much-needed AES 256-bit encryption and Cipher-Block Chaining.

Not long ago on the HP 3000 newsgroup and mailing list, I enjoyed reading a lively discussion of encryption needs. Backup+/iX offers what some 3000 customers need to satisfy federal and auditor security requirements. It now appears that the Orbit Advantage offers even more than what auditors need.

HP has its views on whether MPE/iX can be run directly on any PA-RISC hardware which is not stable-storage-wired to behave like a 3000. The software gives customers another option, other than hosting MPE/iX on another kind of HP PA-RISC box.

Very little of this will have an impact on extending useful lifespan of the 3000. That kind of extension — and yes, technically it could be 20 years — is up to customers and their partners, not Hewlett-Packard. Advant has said that its intent with VM/iX is to provide "death with dignity" to the 3000 line, a hospice effort.