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HP releases SCSI Pass-Through, to some

Following through on a summertime promise, HP has finished its work on an SCSI Pass-Through driver for the HP 3000. The software makes it possible to connect and configure SCSI storage devices which HP has not certified for 3000 use.

HP announced the availability of the enhancement late Monday evening.

Full instructions on how to use the software are on the HP Jazz Web site (PDF file). But the software itself is being put on a the usual HP software improvements leash: only available to the HP support customer willing to take SPT, as HP is calling it, as a beta test version.

Patches MPENX01A, MPENX03A and MPENX04A are beta patches, required to make the SPT work on MPE/iX 7.5. Contact your HP support representative to get your copy of SPT — an HP 3000 enhancement which might be one of the last which HP will design.

HP has always described the SPT as a tool with many caveats. While the software has a wide scope of help for the customer who wants to add the latest SCSI disk to the 3000 in the future, HP has printed plenty of cautions such as these in its Communicator article:

Sending SPT commands to a device in use by MPE or other applications may result in data loss, data corruption and/or System Aborts. We do not recommend sending SPT commands to Disks with MPE/iX Volumes present nor should one access tapes devices which are used for normal back-up or data logging purposes. Rule of thumb: Don’t do SPT to tape or disk media you cannot recover at a time you don’t wish to cause a system outage.

SPT joins the six dozen or so HP developed enhancements and fixes stalled in beta test status. It's up to the customers still purchasing HP support to get SPT into the full community. Whether such cautions will encourage enough testing remains to be seen.