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Audit-proofing IMAGE databases

Storage improvements for a 3000

The Transition Era for the HP 3000, years 2002 and onward, heralds fewer changes each month for plenty of 3000 customers. Many sites are frozen on a current release of MPE/iX. Others have locked down applications, adding only critical features to keep programs useful and productive.

But the cool climate of stability — no changes to something still working — has not frozen out storage upgrades. Some HP 3000s are linked to HP's virtual disk arrays. Others are plugged into the vendor's XP series. Storage is the only spot in HP's hardware lineup where the 3000 gets connected to later-generation devices.

Xp1200Evidence of this: The XP10000 and XP12000. These storage devices, called StorageWorks units, continue to serve MPE/iX systems. HP describes the XP10000 as "An entry-level enterprise class storage system in a compact footprint that increases business agility and decreases the stress of running applications where downtime is not an option."

The XP12000 is built for the more typical 3000 customer, one who cannot afford downtime. The array is aimed at "organizations that demand always-on data availability, seamless scalability, and cost-savings through data center consolidation."

HP 3000 hardware resellers in your community continue to sell these devices. In fact, storage represents the largest share of 3000-related hardware opportunity for many resellers.

HP 3000 customers, especially those who have way-out-there migration deadlines, or the homesteaders, can ask for these HP devices by name. These are Storage Access Network products, with the XP12000 capable of carrying up to 32 petabytes — yes, the 1,000 times-as-big-as-terabyte measure — of disks.

The StorageWorks products have deep Web sites at Hewlett-Packard, full of Flash presentations, success stories and even a "request a CD" option. HP likes to point out that its XP arrays, which use Hitachi hardware, are a cut above similar products from Sun and Hitatchi. HP says it has a development arrangement to improve on the XP technology, in partnership with Hitachi.

These HP devices have support contracts which HP will fulfill, and well beyond 2010. Not in a Mature Product status, either. Storage is a sensible upgrade for a system that may well be frozen, but needs a warm-up for ever-expanding, ever-archived databases.

The XPs like to tout flexibility, too. "With the XP you can add disks, processors, cache, disk racks, and host interfaces as you like while it is running with no application downtimem" HP reports. The cost is not for the faint of budget, but an XP array can serve multiple operating environments simultaneously. HP charges enough for these workhorses that the installation, performed exclusively by HP Global Services, is free.

And free HP Services engagements are rare indeed. In the years to come, it's reasonable to imagine that XP arrays like the 10000 and the 12000 will gain a spot in customer sites still running HP 3000s.