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Speedware illuminates endings for 3000s

Matching UX Servers with 3000s

As some 3000 customers migrate, their planning turns to accurate replacement of HP 3000 servers. An application leads to HP-UX, and the next step can be sizing the replacement server to meet or exceed the 3000's performance. This exercise may lead to some surprising values.

HP created its PA-RISC servers for both MPE/iX and HP-UX in families, named with letters such as D, E, F, G, I, K, L, N and A. While the last two letters are familiar to 3000 customers, the rest of the alphabet can be tricky to translate. If you've been getting along on a Series 937 3000, how high a letter of HP-UX server is required to keep processing power on the upswing?

"A customer isn’t really interested in hardware equivalency," said IT manager Mark Landin, "they are interested in performance equivalency. As I [learned in performance class many moons ago,] the answer to every performance problem is, “It depends.” For instance, the disk IO available on “modern” 9000 equipment far exceeds the FW-SCSI limitations of the 3000 systems. How much that impacts your perceived performance depends on if your workload is IO-intensive or not."

So what's the letter equivalent of a Series 937? Support provider Gilles Schipper of GSA says a G-Class HP-UX machine would be a equal match, but finding such a relic would be pointless. Why bother, when an rx2600 server, far faster than the 937 or its UX equivalent, can be bought on eBay loaded with 12GB of memory for $200?

For those looking into the history of comparable HP-UX and MPE/iX servers of the past 10 years, Schipper explains it all.

Like the 9x7 family, the corresponding HP-UX servers are in the F-class, G-class, H-class and I-class models (HP offered more choices than the equivalent HP 3000 family).

Within each lettered sub-class, there are numbers to designate the various models within, such as: F10, F20, and F30; G30 through G70; H20 thru H70, I30 thru I60 The difference in the letters and number designations are associated with differences in CPU speeds and chassis sizes, respectively.

The 3000 family chassis size was designated with a model number suffix, as in 937LX, 957RX, 957SX. (The LX was small body, RX was medium size body, SX was wide-body). The E-class of HP-UX machines would be equivalent, roughly, to the 9x8 HP 3000 family. The K-class is equivalent to the 9x9 HP 3000 family.

Schipper went on to note that RX means something very different in the current HP server nomenclature. The x stands for Itanium-based architecture, while something like an rp7420 denotes a PA-RISC-based server. Even though HP stopped selling PA-RISC Unix systems at the end of 2008, former 3000 customers who have migrated are running these systems as 3000 replacements. At the American Airlines Credit Union, business continuity coordinator Jesse Davis reports that Summit Information Systems migrated the credit union into an rp7410.

Choosing a modern rx server for HP-UX, driven by the Itanium chips, nets plenty of advantages over those rp units. Schipper notes that "Unlike PA-RISC, Itanium offers multi-core capability, among many other more advanced features. In general, they are smaller in size, significantly faster than the PA-RISC CPUs and consume less power."

Moving to a rx2600 can seem faster than the 15-year-old 937 technology, depending on database performance. An rx 2660, 3600 or 6600 are considered the entry level of HP's UX server line. As Integrity servers, they have the full confidence of HP, at least for a future of more than five years. 

Hardware replacing and investment is no longer the long-term relationship that it was while the Series 937 was in its heyday. Landin suggested a try before you buy plan. "I recommend taking a good guess, lease or rent it for a while, put a production load on it and see what happens," he said. "If it’s not stout enough, rent something bigger. Repeat until you are happy."