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September 29, 2008

Choose Windows, or Unix, or both

Migrating 3000 sites search for serious reasons to adopt a particular new platform. The solutions often revolve around an application, rather than choosing an operating environment. We examine this question often in our community, in part because the operating environment is what always set the HP 3000 apart, distinguished a company's initial enterprise choice.

But for a company that's moving its application, instead of trying to replace it, the environment itself becomes the major deciding point. Customers examine available expertise and existing environments in allied operations. Some of them recall a vendor's end-game when beginning another path toward enterprise excellence.

Windows is the leading choice of migrating sites, while others are picking up on Linux as a foundation for a migrated application. Paul Edwards, who worked for years until just recently on a customer's 3000 migration in the Atlanta area, said costs and history led the customer away from HP's Unix.

"[My customer] and others I know about choose Windows or Linux over HP-UX because of the lower cost of software and hardware, plus the friendly user interface," he said. "There is still a lot of animosity against HP for the way they badly bungled the end of the HP 3000 sales and support. Plus, there are a lot more applications on these platforms to choose from for the SMB HP 3000 user community."

HP won't make you choose between these environments if you have an appetite for a full buffet of operating systems. Putting Windows, Linux and HP-UX to work all at once, in a single server, is no big deal anymore. It's been offered ever since HP rolled out Superdome servers which could host multiple OS instances. By now an Integrity server from HP, a far less costly investment, can host all of these environments at once.

This month HP released version 4.0 of HP Integrity Virtual Machines, software which enables this multiple hosting on HP hardware as affordable as bladed servers. The latest version runs on HP-UX 11i v3, supports eight virtual CPUs, capped CPU allocation (in addition to CPU entitlement as in previous releases), additional support for accelerated virtual IO (AVIO), and a new VM performance analysis tool.

The Red Hat and SUSE flavors of Linux are supported by the latest Virtual Machine, as well as Windows Server 2003. OpenVMS customers are in line for support next year.

IBM also has a solution, in its Series i and Series p servers, which hosts multiple operating environments. Christian Schneider of PIR Group says that the company's new sports social networking application, www.playerreputation.com, "has a Linux partition on our iSeries [using the AS/400 environment], and the Windows server is running on a separate card plugged into the backbone. We didn’t need [IBM's Unix] AIX, but you can have it running in a partition if you want."

Oracle partnered with HP last week to release a "Database Machine" that didn't need any HP Unix to boost speeds up to 10 times faster, according to the unbiased Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The situation says much about HP and its enterprise solutions. HP strategy does not poke one solution above others for its customers. This is one reason why so many HP 3000 customers are choosing Windows, rather than HP-UX, to replace their in-house applications. HP has always said that apps determine platform choice.

And that is true. But if you make no new choice of app on migration, then it must be the platform itself — and HP's track record of support — which has an effect on choosing Windows over Unix. This also has an effect on the growth of the HP Unix community in the years to come. When your vendor follows the marketplace's desires, it can lead away from vendor-centric solutions like HP-UX.

08:29 PM in Migration, User Reports | Permalink

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