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June 2008

Which HP world looks more real?

Techforumcatalog After a week spent at the HP Technology Forum, I found my way back to the NewsWire office, but I haven't been able to pinpoint the definitive location of your community. Is the experience all about expanding technical choice and excising the old systems? It certainly seemed that way in Las Vegas at the Forum, right from the start of the experience when the attendees were handed a 3-pound, wire-bound program to haul back to their hotel rooms. The book was crammed with more than a thousand sessions, keynotes, and hands-on labs, a tome festooned with tabs.

The assembly was so large it took three floors of the Mandalay Bay Convention center to contain it all. A 20-minute walk between two session rooms was not difficult to engineer. Over a day or so, I learned the shortcuts and elevator outlets, as well as where the comfy chairs and quiet, wi-fi-enabled salons were located.

TrickshotThis was a conference devoted to HP's enterprise computer offerings, including the vendor's storage systems. The show floor was broad enough to offer both an HP Store (complete with branded clothing and HP-logoed Leatherman tools) and a trick-shot pool artist playing one customer after another (all men, as you can see why at left) at the QLogix booth. Why not? Just a few years ago, when Interex hosted an HP World, Danica Patrick of race-car fame was the beautiful attraction at the Logical booth.

The conference was so jammed with ideas, new solutions and HP employees that I could believe this vision was the only possible one for a user of HP-built computers. Tromp those three floors, wander that expo hall with foosball table and a DriveSavers booth where disks were being destroyed for entertainment, and the vision of the HP 3000 faded quickly. I could believe the migration expert who said to me, one month before the conference

An IT director or CIO that does not have an active plan to migrate or terminate the HP 3000 applications is doing his company a disservice. I cannot believe that such a thing exists, it's unthinkable, but I'm sure it does exist.

And yet, sensible and responsible IT pros rely on the HP 3000 today. Some of the servers work inside HP's own IT operations, and yes, those do have active termination plans. It's the length of those plans that calls the other HP computer vision to mind, a location without trick shots, three pounds of sessions or the change which HP promotes to aid quick changes in an enterprise computer environment. How much change does a company need to observe and learn about?

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A drive to beat the clock

OpenMPE is waiting to hear from the vendor about participating in a project to test-run the creation of a "build" of MPE/iX. In the meantime, the advocacy group has raised the flag on its future a little higher.

Director Matt Perdue sent us a note that reports that "The domain name has been renewed for five years. It will next expire on 9-13-2013, perhaps outlasting HP's involvement with MPE. That is of course if HP doesn't extend 'mature product support without sustaining engineering' beyond 2010."

The report arrived as an e-mail, but I detected a tone of persistent pleasure in Perdue's sign-off. There's a Web page that will tell you how many days of HP's 3000 support, with sustained (patch) engineering, the community has left.

Continue reading "A drive to beat the clock" »

A way to report screw-ups

When a session program aborts on the HP 3000, the users don't tell us. Is there a mechanism to report user screw ups?

Matt Perdue of the OpenMPE board and Hill Country Technologies replies:

At one of my clients' sites, all online programs (defined as used by anyone acting interactively with the application) have been coded to go to a common abort procedure when IMAGE, VPlus or other file errors cause the program to want to abort, at least somewhat gracefully. That section closes the terminal, calls DBEXPLAIN or prints some kind of status message and sends this information and what section caused the abort to the console. Each section of code starts with a line such as MOVE “6004-DELETE” TO ABORT-SECTION.

Of course there is the random, unprogrammed-for abort. Not much can be done about that, except write a transaction log record to a file or dataset so you can track the exact progress and last point a user was in before the abort.

I also have a mechanism to control users logging off gracefully for backups. All just part of learning and developing ways to manage remote users since 1985! And it makes my life easier in the process.

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Blades on parade

One of the big advantages of conference-style learning is the ability to see, touch and ask questions interactively. Like, "How do these blade servers look and work, anyway?"

Bladesposter That's the question I asked HP at the latest Technology Forum. A movie of a couple of minutes gives a rundown on HP's latest blade servers, as well as a tour at the C7000 enclosure the blades need to operate. Have a look at the two minute blade demo movie from the HP booth on the Expo floor.

The cinematography on this movie won't rival The Fall, (excellent film, that one; go see it soon on the big screen.). Unlike The Fall, which will have a really brief run in theatres, blades are going to be playing for a long time at HP. Your vendor hopes they will play a part in your transition away from the HP 3000 hardware.

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Critical mass makes CEO access

HP celebrated the 30th birthday of VMS at this month's Tech Forum, marking the end of a third decade of service of the operating system that has bulwarked the user group now known as Connect. Before there was Connect there was Encompass for HP enterprise system users, and before that the DECUS user group represented customers to the vendor. The oldest operating system still sold by HP makes the backbone of the vendor's largest user group.

Comingoffstage This year's meeting must have been especially satisfying to Nina Buik, president and leader of the new Connect group, as she lavished praise on the new allied group's members during Connect's coming out party at The House of Blues. "There," I said to Transoft's Rene Nunnington "is a person who was born to be a user group president."

After passing out awards and thanks for the many volunteers who give a user community backbone, Buik beamed during a short chat while she related her news of the day: HP CEO Mark Hurd gave her a 20-minute meeting at the conference, their first together.

WOnstagebluesith appropriate pride, Buik showed me her cell phone photo of her and Hurd together. I asked what he was like one-on-one, and she reported that he's all he appears to be onstage and in public. "And he expressed his strong support for the user group," she added.

The CEO of the world's largest computer firm can carry that kind of celebrity clout, impressing those whose job is to impress the opinions and decisions of HP's executives.

Continue reading "Critical mass makes CEO access" »

One final Forum bow?

Certificate I wondered, while en route to the latest HP Technology Forum, which of these annual user meetings would offer HP's last e3000 update. Some signs from last week point to the 2008 edition as the last public event where HP will present news about the platform. This is, after all, the last year when the server will employ the services of HP's labs.

HP's Alvina Nishimoto, who's been leading the information parade for third party tools and migration success stories, gave an outstanding contributor award of sorts at the e3000 roadmap meeting. The award shown in the slide above had a commemorative tone about it, like a fond farewell to the days when something new was part of the HP message to 3000 attendees.

At the conference I learned that the Right to Use licenses have been more popular than HP first imagined. HP's 3000 work had to complete a lot of paperwork and presentations to get a licensing product onto the price list for 2007. "People have used systems, and they want to upgrade their license level on them," Nishimoto said.

So with just two HP speakers at the conference addressing the 3000 — Nishimoto and Jim Hawkins, the latter of whom spoke for five minutes at the end of the OpenMPE update — it seemed like those customers upgrading the used systems will outlast HP's MPE/iX participation in the Tech Forum. It's a great place to learn about technology that will never make it onto a 3000, but is readily available for HP's 3000 replacements.

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Anniversaries all around

Lapels and shirts all around the HP Technology Forum sported a jaunty badge this week. HP, having purchased Digital through its Compaq acquisition, is celebrating the 30th anniversary of VMS. DEC users who have endured wrong-headed management and unlucky timing on technology innovations should be proud. They use one of the last vendor-built operating environments, an OS with acolytes so ardent they gather for a Boot Camp each year in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Of course, the badges recalled the many pins HP 3000 customers wore with pride in the waning days of HP's 3000 business. Hewlett-Packard did not celebrate the 35th anniversary of MPE this year, even though the company uses the OS in its corporate datacenters to this very day.

This week's conference showed a lot of historical pros on display among much younger colleagues. Patrick Thibodeau called it the "salt and pepper crowd" in his story for Computerworld. You need salt and pepper to get to 30 and beyond. I genuinely wish more years to the VMS community. It perseveres on classic momentum, even while HP makes more noise about the IT strategies that do not revolve around operating environments.

And while the week celebrated something old, at least in IT timeframes, there was also a much younger anniversary. This 3000 NewsWire blog moved into its fourth year of service to our community and our committed sponsors. It's been a great thrill to be able to report within hours, like we did on Tuesday night, about 3000 news like the liberation of long-cloistered patches. The blog is a powerful tool for a journalist with loyal sources and a long memory. Thank you for your interest in our stories and inside information, data spinning ever farther from the home planet of HP.

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Which HP blade will cut it for you?

HP's VP of marketing for Business Critical Systems said here at the Technology Forum that blade technology was the biggest message for critical systems users like you. The one printed press release I was given touted a new blade system for the Non-Stop operating environment. It's important to show that non-standard operating systems can be matched up with blade technology.

The headline read "HP introduces World's First Blade Server for 24/7 Mission-Critical Computing." You can be excused if you believe you already own Mission-Critical operating environment in MPE/iX.  Michelle Weiss even pointed out that some Non-Stop servers manage 911 systems. That's something the 3000 still does for some US entities, but that's not the point. Blades are an HP product you will only need if you're migrating.

Since many of you are doing that, a Blade 101 article seems in order. We'll soon be providing a better one that this introduction. HP's written a few, but the most important number is not 101, but 69. This is the share of the world's blade market which HP and outside analysts estimate that Hewlett-Packard holds today.

That's something just a bit less than Apple's hold on portable music players with its iPod. And HP seems to have the equivalent of the iPod of blade servers — so named because they are long and slim and so small they make disk drive enclosures seem bulky. Blades consume less power and can be managed from HP's "single pane of glass" interface.

Blades represent a solution where HP leads the field. But which patch of the field should the HP 3000 users who migrate consider as a new hardware platform? And which migrators can start farming out their 3000 computing onto blade servers today?

Continue reading "Which HP blade will cut it for you?" »

Press that's not completely approved

Running a user conference is no easy task, especially if your organization must partner with a powerful ally. There are many places where the gears can jam up on a machine that gathers thousands of people for four days of talk and learning.

But after 24 years of covering Hewlett-Packard user events, my experience with this sort of meeting has been changing — and I'm sorry to say, not entirely for the better. No, not crowded flights, 25 minutes to hail a cab, $12 burgers and so on. It's the restraints I feel tugged by HP. Years ago, editors and reporters were courted and curried at these events, meetings hosted and controlled by a users group, while the whole event was financed and supported by the computer vendor and its reseller partners.

Two events in the past two days suggest that those days of sway are long behind me and other editors. Yesterday morning I wanted to attend an OpenVMS roadmap breakout session. It was only an hour of the OpenVMS Security Product Manager talking about what's coming up for OpenVMS. (Luckier users, they are, than a customer who still must rely on the 3000.)

I was not so lucky getting into the doors of that breakout session.  A "temporary employee" waved written instructions that the press was not to be admitted to any breakout sessions. Also barred from entry at that moment: Patrick Thibodeau of Computerworld. I might understand why a specialized newsman like me wouldn't get access, but blocking Computerworld seemed like a mistake.

And it appeared to be an honest mixup, one which the PR agency rep Chase Skinner fixed with persistent talent. But we sped to a quick meeting with HP's manager of press relations for the event — who treated us media types to a fine dinner just the night before — to educate me on the nature of "roadmap" sessions. They sounded like they've become sorta, kinda, well, the type which HP isn't keen on letting anybody into except customers and partners.  Even though there's no confidential disclosure agreement (CDA) needed for anybody to pass into such a roadmap session. And believe me, there are plenty of CDA talks here where the "I promise not to tell" document is needed. The CDA is so ubiquitous that it's printed into the conference session guide, complete with signature line to fill in and submit.

Patrick and I got new badges rushed to us after we'd been escorted into the meeting. Our new papers were upgraded from a press pass that could not pass us into the hundreds of breakout sessions. Okay, a mixup, and an education for me about what a roadmap might mean now and in the future. Face it, HP: Roadmaps promise news, and that's what we get paid to write.

The education about my editor's access didn't stop at the revision of what a roadmap means, though.

Continue reading "Press that's not completely approved" »

A few other HP notes of 3000 news

HP shared three other pieces of news in its Tuesday briefings at the HP Technology Forum. The set of slides presented by HP vCSY staffer Alvina Nishimoto showed no changes from the slides shown in May for HP EMEA partners and customers.

But in less than 10 minutes at nearly 6 PM Tuesday, HP's Jim Hawkins shared three bits of news from the HP division about the 3000.

1. Cost of the RTU licenses is coming down, expecially on the high end server Right to Use licenses. HP has been selling RTUs for the customer who is upgrading an HP 3000 — instead of migrating, or as an interim step toward moving off a 3000. How many RTUs HP's selling is not known, of course, but it appears that the RTU is generating more revenues than HP R&D Lab Manager Ross McDonald predicted last year at RTU introduction. HP is looking at 35 to 50 percent reductions in the RTU fees.

2, As mentioned yesterday, HP will be shipping out its PowerPatch 5 for MPE/iX in August. HP's support chief Bernard Determe — who was listed for the first time yesterday as a customer contact for the 3000 community — within the remains of the lab services available to HP's 3000 operations. The support chief said that the 3000 support arm "will be losing its lab" 27 weeks from now.

3. Maybe most important to the long-term use of the HP 3000, HP's problem resolution database will be available on HP servers after 2010, when HP plans to exit the 3000 community.

Continue reading "A few other HP notes of 3000 news" »

HP to release more 3000 patches

HP engineer Jim Hawkins reported here at the HP Technology Forum that Hewlett-Packard will be moving some more of its patches to improve 3000 reliability and add features.

HP issued a letter from OpenMPE liasion Jeff Bandle outlining the extra patches available to everyone in the 3000 community.

The issue of MPE/iX patches that are in Beta-Test (BT) status has been a subject of mutual interest between OpenMPE and HP. HP is pleased to inform you of some positive developments in this area.

As you recall, patches in BT status have been tested by the MPE/iX lab but are still awaiting end-customer testing and validation before they can be moved to General Released (GR) status and made available to all HP e3000 users. These quality assurance processes have been in place for several decades and contribute to the high patch quality level that HP e3000 users have come to expect.

For the last several months MPE/iX Lab and HP Support engineers have been working together to accelerate the movement of MPE/iX BT patches to GR status while not compromising patch quality.  As a result of this effort, nearly half of the candidate BT patches have been moved into GR status. Patches for release 7.5 saw the most activity with nearly two-thirds of the 7.5 BT patches finding their way to GR status and they have been incorporated into the forthcoming 7.5 PowerPatch release.

While we are very pleased with these results, there are still patches in BT status. HP is continuing to work on its plans for these remaining BT patches and we are planning to announce details on the disposition of these patches before MPE enters the MPS w/o SE phase of support on January 1, 2009.

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Some surprises in keynote show

And yes, I do mean show. A top-notch cover band played as several thousand attendees streamed into the biggest ballroom of the South Convention hall this morning, all to hear HP Executive VP Ann Livermore deliver a pledge to support HP-UX as long as customers need the environment.

Livermore handled the segment of the keynote troika originally scheduled for HP CEO Mark Hurd, who had more important appointments than delivering a complete keynote address. (As a joke, one of many moments of humor in the morning, HP then played a short video of Hurd pounding away on a video poker machine as one of his more important appointments.)

Whatever the reason for the limited CEO appearance — he weighed in ever-so-lightly on the EDS acquisition and the HP's commitment to Intel's Itanium/Integrity model line — Livermore elaborated on HP CIO Randy Mott's tour of the consolidation of HP's internal IT operations. One brief photo showed a forest of circa-1995 servers from a wide range of vendors at an HP datacenter. Only one HP 3000 could be seen. Then every server got labeled in PowerPoint magic with the replacement system which HP moved in.

As for the future of HP-UX, popular enterprise platform for 3000 app providers who migrate the community's users, Livermore used language just as deliberate as then-CEO Carly Fiorina's promise to 3000 customers in the summer of 2001.

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HP and its users heat up Vegas again

There used to be a saying that an HP user group's hottest moment was the HP Management Roundtable, where HP executives took the heat from users. In the modern world of HP as the world's No. 1 computer company, the heat is all around this now-fixed meeting in Las Vegas, the Nevada desert's theme park for all manner of games.

The fourth HP Technology Forum started today with pre-conference training sessions on topics like the ITIL information technology practices, a kickoff expo floor reception and the meeting of media writers and the HP executives on hand. We writers and HP VPs come together in modest rooms deep in the innards of one of the strip's biggest hotel-casino-convention centers. Outside my window here in the wide halls between session rooms, a pool with a sand beach beckons under 107-degree sun.

That won't impress me too much this week, on a journey from a Texas where the Austin heat has soared above 100 every day since this month began. But we don't have the heat of meetings or the warm gathering of collegues and comrades that you find in a user group conference. Despite the overwhelming number of Hewlett-Packard attendees, this is still a conference of users. They are the reason HP turns out in a show of force unparalleled in the rest of its fiscal year.

The Big Three — CEO Mark Hurd, Executive VP Ann Livermore and Chief Technology Office Randy Mott — all speak tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, a volunteer who's not an employee of HP, Nina Buik, oversees the effort and engagements as the president of Connect, the alliance of user groups which will unveil its logo and some plans this evening on that expo floor.

HP 3000 partners, sponsors and suppliers take a place on that expo floor as well as in some of the session rooms. MB Foster, Speedware, Bay Pointe Technology, The Support Group, Transoft and DB-Net all have booths on the floor of varying sizes. Also on the floor are the suppliers Logicalis, Canvas Systems and Canvas Systems. Cognos is on the expo floor as well, maybe the only direct competitor to HP to show its wares. Cognos, after all, has been a part of IBM since this spring.

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Tell HP about your satisfaction

If your company is among those which still consider HP to be an important partner, you might be on the road next week. HP launches its annual HP Technology Forum in Las Vegas on Monday. The content for the conference is a shared endeavor between HP and the four user groups uniting as Connect. The user groups are conducting the usual annual survey of satisfaction with HP.

There is not much direct HP 3000 content at next week's conference, but HP is bringing its executives to listen to the customers who do attend. The user groups' Worldwide Customer Survey is a means to bring your measure of HP's success to the notice of the vendor's representatives.

It will serve little but a yen for nostalgia to recall the days of an HP Roundtable at such meetings, the ones operated by Interex. Customers stood at microphones and related stories of HP's shortcomings, the kind of upbraiding which IBM still takes in stride at the annual COMMON conference for its enterprise iSeries (AS/400) community. Things changed for the better, or not — but people who spoke up felt heard and acknowledged.

A Web survey takes the place of those broadsides, public speech which HP dismissed in its support of the Technology Forum as an alternative to those HP World and Interex meetings. "No more hockey fights" was HP VP David Parsons' vow, meaning you now must communicate with HP as a partner or a customer, not a combatant. However, the survey of today is a means of advocacy. You can take it at Be sure to complete it by June 26.

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Emulate what, exactly?

Customers on the HP 3000 newsgroup have started to ask how the emulator project is proceeding. There's a little confusion about what emulation means when they ask, as well as what non-HP companies might provide.

Most emulators used by people in the IT community put an operating environment on top of new hardware. For example, on my Intel-based Macs, products like VMWare or Parallels let us run Windows on our systems. In the same way, people want to run MPE/iX on hardware which HP does not designate as an HP 3000. This is a means of getting MPE/iX loose of HP's predictions for the 3000's ecosystem, as well as the vendor's plans, promises and processes.

Another significant value in an emulator is to give the 3000's operating environment more power and flexibility than it it will ever have on HP-built PA-RISC systems. The other power is an independence from Hewlett-Packard, a company which will end all of its 3000-MPE/iX business in about two and a half years — if it sticks to its schedule.

So there's talk out there now, as well as a message from a European company which reports that Software Research International (SRI) will have a pilot emulator solution ready to deploy in tests this fall. The hardware which this SRI emulator will use is not the most crucial component in an emulator's future. The biggest thing to test and deploy is the HP software license that acts as the fulcrum to leverage MPE/iX and IMAGE onto non-HP systems.

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What emulation might mean to tomorrow

    We hear of emulation as a potential lift for homesteading. A 3000 hardware emulator is a product that won’t have a market for another three years, judging by the ready availability of resellers’ systems and peripherals.

    The only thing that can solve 3000 problems, at least those unsolved by third party workarounds, is HP’s licensing of MPE/iX source code to a lab with a commitment to serving for the long term. With each passing month, I hold less hope that the HP Services group will ever let that licensing happen. But those third party support teams in the community grow ever more clever, now being stocked with ex-HP expertise.

    Documentation is important to homesteading. Recently a 3000 customer was striking out in a search for a manual for their HP SureStore Autoloader tape library. A remarketed replacement arrived with no manual while a configuration problem loomed.

   It took from Friday until Monday to find the needed manual, but HP could not supply it online this homesteader. A Phoenix Police Department IT pro located the manual at an Irish university, still online in PDF format. Now that's community at work.

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A future bleak for homesteading?

    After many months of communicating with the 3000 community, I am sure there are many homesteading customers who no longer have IT staff, so there are no belts or suspenders holding up their HP 3000 support. (3000 types were called "belt and suspender" pros because they took no chances at all, and learned to build redundent systems.) MB Foster's Birket Foster calls this “flight attendants flying the plane,” and it’s risky as all get-out. Get help, get trained, get advice. Don’t fly solo.

    “Migrating right now keeps things under control” is somewhat optimistic, from what I hear. It’s not unusual to embrace a packaged app as a replacement, then to find a year or so later it cannot preserve a set of business rules. Or worse, like out in Socorro County, New Mexico, where the vendor is more than a year overdue on the municipal application replacement. Worst of all, some come to the realization that a promised replacement app is vaporware.

   Then there’s the PSSI 911 software application, running a pretty crucial MPE/iX program in some cities. If the 3000 is still running well, and since PSSI has not turned off customer support, it’s risky to switch over to something else — and maybe have a 911 dispatch call get dropped. Use your own imagination about what kind of trouble sparks a 911 call, and be sure to leave out the cat-in-a-tree jokes.

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To-morrow may not be moving day

NewsWire Editorial

First of two parts

   Now that it's crept into the second week of June, all of the US Presidential primary campaigns are decided. No matter who Americans will support in the fall, it’s clear the top issue for our voters is the economy in the US. (It’s no better overseas.) When I pull my minivan away from the pump, having spent my 65 bucks on a fill-up, I cannot drive more than 400 miles before I spend again.

    There’s a recession roiling out there, driven in part by those oil prices. I see signs and reports the recession is having an impact on the outlook for homesteading versus migration. If revenues are down for a company, it’s got to cut back on spending. A delay in a migration strategy is something like not driving so much. You combine trips, ride-share with friends. Your life changes and so do your plans for the future, your next car. You shop for a winner in fuel economy. If you drive an efficient car, you hang onto it longer if you cannot afford a new car payment.

    My partner Abby Lentz and I invested in a new car payment in November, but we moved across to a better-outfitted model, more efficient and at about the same price as our last one. We love the new car (it fits three bikes nicely, plus camping gear) and manage the payments okay. Our last van had become a monthly service bill we couldn’t predict.

   Our new car might represent a new computer environment for the 3000 user. An assured expense, rather than uncertain needs that cost lord knows what. These new car analogies break down quick, since trading to a new car is dead simple compared to most migrations. (Among the dead-simple migrations we hear about are the Eloquence database and Speedware swaps, or tools that move across like Suprtool and MB Foster’s suite. They all make a point of acting like an HP 3000.)

Continue reading "To-morrow may not be moving day" »

Applied Technologies talk spotlights open source

Second of two parts

At this spring's GHRUG International Technology Conference, HP 3000 advice flowed freely. One community services provider, Brian Edminster of Applied Technologies, gave attendees a tour of how open source helped his firm beat an impossible HP 3000 project deadline.

Open source software can keep HP 3000s online and productive, even in the face of industry requirement changes and new government regulations. Edminster told of a 3000 installation processing Point of Sale transactions, a customer which faced new PCI compliance demands. He was tasked with finding a solution to the new credit card compliance rules late in 2005 — with a January 2006 deadline.

“What we were struggling with was not that uncommon,” he explained. “The solution of choice was a version of the package OpenSSH, an open source implementation of a secure shell.” OpenSSH offers publicly exchanged authentication, encrypted communication for secure file transfers, a secure shell command line, port forwarding. “It’s amazing how much you get, and it’s available for many operating systems.”

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Open source opens homestead options

First of two parts

And yes, Virginia, even some migration tasks are made easier by the bounty of open source software for the HP 3000.

HP and its engineers, and especially the 3000 community's volunteers, worked hard to bring open source solutions to MPE/iX. Brian Edminster showed off the glories and tricks of using open source software during a speech at this spring’s GHRUG International Technology Conference. And if ever there was a technology with international scope, it’s open source. These programs and subsystems have already helped 3000 owners expand networking, establish Web servers and share files. Edminster, who heads up Applied Technologies, noted other advantages of open source — like a broader set of experts who understand it.

“If you want to install and integrate an open source application on your 3000, it’s a whole lot easier to find someone who has open source experience, instead of 3000 experience,” he said.

When HP carried the 3000’s OS from MPE/XL to MPE/iX in the middle 1990s, the vendor added a Unix interface to 3000 intrinsics, as well as key Unix tools. The 3000’s Posix environment is “Unix-like enough that a standard Unix guy will have no problems getting around,” Edminster said.

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Learn a little about ITIL online

Encompass is setting up a Webcast for 1 PM EDT tomorrow which promises a "sneak peek" at training in ITIL offered by ITPreneurs at the upcoming HP Technology Forum. ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a tool which HP has helped build in its latest version.

You can sign up for the Webcast at a Go To Meeting page that links you to the Encompass site.

ITIL version 3 has become an important standard for companies of a certain size (larger than midrange, for the most part) and companies who are using HP as their main systems and software supplier. As we explained last summer after the Technology Forum, these are practices and solutions for the customer headed for HP-UX and Windows. The practices can be followed with MPE/iX systems, with some tweaks. But HP's solutions are strictly for the non-3000 environments.

Hewlett-Packard delivers the services and software solutions to attain compliance in ITIL. Auditors and shareholders and C-Level executives see ITIL as one solution to make IT a vital part of a company's growth plans.

The Encompass sneak peek is offered by ITPreneurs, a Rotterdam-based company with a US office. The firm specializes in training for such operational practices as ITIL.

Continue reading "Learn a little about ITIL online" »

HP's migration choices vs. the vendor's end

Jeffkublercolorsm_2 Last of three parts

In our final installment of the NewsWire's print issue Q&A with consultant and community expert Jeff Kubler, we asked him to share what he sees about customer care and feeding of the 3000s still in service.

How much "flight attendants flying the plane" do you find in HP 3000 administration these days?

    I see people who could use some more knowledge They're flying the plane according to the radio instructions from the tower. They're still up there, but if they need to land sometime, they might get in trouble.

   While working with Summit customers, oftentimes there were not people there who were very experienced. These people have good knowledge but don't have training because people aren't investing in that. Now the dis-investment process has gone far enough that they can have trouble: maybe disk drives that are not mirrored and starting to fail.

HP says the predominant choice for migration is HP-UX. What do you see?

   If they have HP-UX in the environment already, and knowledgeable people, they do that. But a lot of things are now being driven by "Well, we looked at that five years ago and four years ago and it was too expensive. And today, another company purchased us. And they run AS/400s, doing the same thing our 20 HP 3000s are doing. So let's just go over there."

Continue reading "HP's migration choices vs. the vendor's end" »

Migration connections, as well as about-faces

Second of three parts

In our 3000 Newswire print issue Q&A interview with 3000 community performance and management consultant Jeff Kubler, I asked him where the advantages seemed to rest in the customer base he's encountered during the Transition Era.

What makes migration a better choice for some customers?

   I think re-creation with Eloquence [as a database], and using one of the portable COBOL compilers can make a migration happen very readily. I've heard stories of people getting a huge, expensive picture painted for them, the cost to migrate to .NET, C Sharp and a SQL or Oracle application. Then they make the decision to go to Eloquence and use some of these tools, see how little investment they must make, compared to what the full-blown thing would have cost, and how easy it was.

    If a person has a very functional application in the main, solving the problems of your entity, and you want to get to a place where if you have a problem you want to get an HP-UX box that could be 2-3 years old, instead of 5-8 on the HP 3000 — and the UX box can be supported by HP or some other competent provider, a person can get to a migrated state using compilers like AcuCOBOL. You can get 500 programs compiled in a couple of days solve a few other issues and be up and running.

Do companies report they're migrating, but do little once they say so?

   "We are migrating off next year," is the most common thing I've heard, year after year. It puts everything in a dangerous place, and many companies have only been saved by the rock-solid nature of the HP 3000. Companies have stopped investing in software, support and training.

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