New clouds conjure up established IT needs
'84 computing recalls conventions of 3000s

3000s can track time, even update with Unix

Even while network testing 3000s in HP's Cupertino lab were being powered down last month, customers are working to employ network services on their own servers. NTP, the network time protocol, was ported and patched for MPE/iX years ago. A developer wanted the latest patched NTP version recently, software that consultant Craig Lalley sent him across the net in a 4 MB attachment.

Tony Summers of Smith Williamson, which migrated last year, said implementing NTP on the company's 3000 was disappointing, but suspected the install wasn't done properly. NTP itself is popular among all environment managers. "Our systems team are wanting to implement NTP on our Unix systems," he reported, "but I’m asking them (for technical reasons related to our own internal applications) that they only invoke NTP synchronization on a system reboot, rather than having it run constantly."

There are some reports that NTP can help manage 3000 operations, but not hosted on a 3000. Mark Ranft of Pro 3K says a corporate NTP server is assisting HP 3000s he manages, triggering an MPE/iX client.

"The NTP client executable that I have is called NTPDATE," he said. "I use it in a command file to compare the system date and time to the server. If it is more than 30 seconds off, I automatically use the same program with a different parameter to adjust the time. If it is more than 45 seconds off, I send a message/page, as something is up (like a time test or a reboot and someone forgot to set the hardware clock.) I have my proactive HP 3000 monitor doing this on all my systems every 10-20 minutes.

"Before a patch," he added, "I had seen heavily loaded systems experience time drift. This routine was a life-saver."

These NTP executables are scheduled to be part of HP shareware offerings on the Speedware Web site, as well as on the OpenMPE server. There's also a way to synchonize a 3000's clock with routines written into MPE/iX, as opposed to the open source add-on of NTP. Jeff Kell, whose expertise in networking included a stint as a Networks Special Interest Group chairman, offered this advice:

NTP may have issues as a server/daemon. If you just want to keep your 3000's clock periodically synchronized, try something like this:

> !job timesync,mgr.xntp;pri=cs
> !ntpdate "a.b.c.d w.x.y.z"
> !stream;in=0,12,0

Substitute your favorite time servers addresses for a.b.c.d and w.x.y.z. This is an "on-demand" synchronization every 12 hours (adjust to taste).