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June 2010

HP's direct attention can evade Unix buyers

Stocked c7000 Buying a Unix server from HP is a direct transaction that's gone indirect. We recently got a message from HP 3000 software vendor STR Software, who also sells solutions for HP's Unix line. One of Ben Bruno's customers is struggling to get to the correct part of HP and upgrade an HP 9000 system.

"We are looking to replace our HP 9000 with a new HP system," the customer told Bruno. "Unfortunately, we can’t seem to get anyone at HP to talk with us on this upgrade. I’m looking for a sales team to evaluate our current solution and make a recommendation for the replacement/upgrade. I’m really hoping to stay with HP, but I just can’t seem to get to the 'right' person."

From the looks of this request, Bruno's customer isn't a large enough enterprise to merit HP's direct attention. This is one area where moving away from the HP 3000, and into HP's Unix systems, lands a customer in the realm of resellers. The resellers were moving most of the 3000 systems by the time HP stopped selling them in 2003. Direct vendor sales teams stick to large accounts.

The evaluation and recommendation is the dicey part of a Unix customer's needs, if they want the analysis from HP. The trick is for a customer to be of a size that HP wants direct contact with today. We've heard the current figure is a $4 million purchase to get direct HP attention -- otherwise, you're purchasing through the reseller channel reps. There are several HP hardware resellers, dealing in both old and new systems, 3000 and HP Unix, who can evaluate and quote. They provide the direct attention you would expect from a sales team of the old HP.

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Archived 3000 site donates $18K printer

L5520-1 Mike Cheng wants to give away a printer that was once as busy as General Chemical's HP 3000. Both components are in semi-retirement today, but the Printronix L5520 has been waiting for a new home for four years. At its height of duty, this $25,000 device output reports for a range of in-house applications that managed the manufacturing at General Chemical. This can be a tough item to find; one online resource listed it available at $18,000; it's no longer made by Printronix.

Cheng, who can be contacted at 973-599-5536, will donate the printer for the cost of shipping a unit that weighs 300 pounds by his estimate. "Or if they're in New Jersey, they could just come by and pick it up" at his East Hanover IT shop, he added.

General Chemical's unit, where Cheng manages IT, manufactures soda ash and nothing else, a substance that's key to creating glass and detergents, among many other things. The HP 3000 at his shop is in archival mode now, generating reports for ERP operations up through 2005. The system will be in service for several more years at the instruction of the General Chemical legal department. This is another HP 3000 that will continue to run longer than HP's support for the 3000. It just doesn't need a printer, or the boxes of 12 x 8.5-inch, left-right feed 3-hole paper needed for the Printronix unit. The paper's part of the donation.

Cheng called us at the behest of VEsoft's Vladimir Volokh, who visited the General Chemical site this week. The indefatigable founder of the software company that sells MPEX continues to travel the country to visit customers, offering a day's support consulting -- and staying in touch with the community that includes such archive outposts.

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HP keynote splash goes on Web from Forum

SmokeTF Complete with comedian Jake Johannsen as host, HP's splashy keynote show from last week's Technology Forum is online for lunchtime viewing at its website. The show's comedy starts at the 10:00 mark, while HP's czar of servers, storage and networks, Dave Donatelli, outlines the Converged Infrastructure product lineup starting at 20:00.

For a taste of the technical drill-down into the details behind the BladeSystem Matrix technology included in HP's new server products, HP engineer Nigel Cook -- inventor of the magic that configures extra processing power in a flash -- demonstrated the interface staring around the 1 hour, 3-minute mark. Cook is among a new cast of HP technical experts that Hewlett-Packard is pressing into customer videos and presentations. He shows how ProLiant and Integrity blades can be assembled through virtual machines to meet unexpected needs.

"It looks very simple here," Cook says, "but if you're doing this without Matrix, it can take months."

Cook-Donatelli Converged Infrastructure sounds, from Donatelli's overview, like more than a way to "reduce IT sprawl." Reconfiguring blade servers on the fly is a way to cover your needs "in SuperBowl time, when a marketing department ran an ad." Given that such an ad runs more than a half-million dollars, you can get an idea at where HP wants to sell the Infrastructure with its own salespeople.

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Connect confirms IT recession is receding

Connect, the HP enterprise computer user group, released results of a survey at the HP Technology Forum that show a majority of members and HP users believe the IT economy is already rebounding.

The survey of 103 community members, conducted through the Connect myCommunity website, reports that 60 percent of the respondents said they are "moving from recession to recovery, increasing IT spending." Slightly fewer members surveyed, 56 percent, reported they have plans to invest in new servers or have already begun to upgrade server farms.

The Connect membership is centered in the small- to midsize company, those with annual revenues of under $500 million, according to immediate past president Nina Buik. She said the survey was completed on June 15, in preparation for this week's Technology Forum. But another set of questions on the survey were designed to test the waters for HP's Converged Infrastructure offers of this week. Product releases are built around this concept of reducing IT sprawl through creating efficiencies.

The user group prides itself as being the voice of an important part of the enterprise community. Buik said this focused survey provided HP the input on how accepted the Converged Infrastructure might be.

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New ProLiant blade servers get IO flexibility

HP announced the new G7 generation of ProLiant rack servers and BladeServers at the HP Technology Forum, Linux/Windows systems that give IT managers immediate configuration flexibility.

The hardware, expected to ship early in the third quarter, adds new Virtual Connect FlexFabric IO adapters. The feature lets a manager change the type of host bus adapter on the fly, from Ethernet to iSCSI to Fibre Channel.

HP Blade Architect Gary Thome said the BladeSystem advancements were the most significant in the four years since the blades' C3000 chassis was introducted. HP recently sold its 2 millionth blade server, he added. The uplift on this option for 3000 sites migrating to Windows comes from features to reduce IT sprawl with last-minute configuration.

"It allows customers to decide at the last minute what the server configuration will be," Thome said. HP called the rack-mounted systems "scale-up" servers, nouveau terminology that might be better known as "distributed" in the language of the HP 3000 system manager.

The DL980 is an 8-scoket server that supports up to 2TB of RAM, while the BL680C is a BladeSystem supporting up to 1TB. The new systems have 20-80 Gbits of FlexFabric IO on the motherboard. They also use a new architecture that lets a system administrator keep virtual machines online even while one goes down with a non-correctible error.

Virtual Connect FlexFabric is HP's module to connect servers to any Fibre Channel, Ethernet or iSCSI network. The last-second capability requires a pair of Virtual Connect modules. Administrators can modify the number of adapters from between 2 to 8, plus allocate different, unequal bandwidths for each adapter. Thome called Virtual Connect "wire-once" technology, where the blade systems arrive physically wired and can be reconfigured "in minutes instead of month." The modules will start at $18,500 and ship in the third quarter.

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HP works its storage options wider

Riding the thoroughbred of its own innovation, HP has announced new enterprise-grade products from its StorageWorks unit, unveiling the news at the HP Technology Forum in Las Vegas. New software, StoreOnce, is being rolled out to roll back the need for more petabytes of storage capacity. VP of Marketing, Strategy and Operations Tom Joyce said HP's "engine of innovation" with StoreOnce is HP Labs, where the software was developed.

Joyce, who joined HP from EMC over the past year, invoked the name of HP's stoutest storage rival several times while describing storage solutions that apply integrated de-duplication practices to arrays and blade-based storage devices. Joyce said that the competition's point products for dedupe "aren't designed to together," selling the new integration of network, server and storage mantra of HP. Moving stored data to another datacenter introduces extra steps to "unduplicate, move, and then deduplicate it again," Joyce said. "It's complex and not easy to manage."

StoreOnce operates with HP-UX as well as Windows and Linux -- but thinking of the software as environment-based misses the point. It's built for storage appliances to use, processing data that streams over a network. (HP's Unix needed to be checked by a press rep before Joyce could affirm the environment is supported. Linux and Windows needed no such checking.) StoreOnce is a migrator's benefit, if the site can justify backup service to hundreds of desktops. But its benefit soars if a site is moving from traditional tape and offsite archival practices, like so many 3000 shops have used over the years.

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Emulator boots with sponsor partner push

Zelus Stromasys has announced a new timeline for the only emulator project in the 3000 community, but it's more than a beta-to-release schedule. The vendor that sells "cross-platform virtualization" is starting the Zelus product's outside life with an outreach to 3000 vendors and first-wave customers. Stromasys needs partner input on how to manage the third parties' checking for valid licenses using a software-only emulator.

In an interview a few days before this week's announcement in Las Vegas, Stromasys CEO John Pritchard and CTO Robert Boers said that HP has released a pair of system ID strings (HPCPUNAMEs) that the software can use to mimic a 3000 model. One name is a larger system than the other, which gives Stromasys two levels of virtualization performance to sell.

The most crucial hurdle to achieving this first call for sponsor partners has been cleared. HP gave the company the secret code that permits PA-RISC hardware to continue to boot up MPE/iX. This processor dependent code was a year delayed coming out of HP, 12 months that Boers wishes he had back in the product's lifecycle. But that loss of time won't eliminate the extension of life that the product called Zelus will provide. Once the Stromasys team demonstrated its software would boot Linux, HP figured out the paperwork it needed Boers to sign.

Support for the software will come from centers in both the US and in Europe, he added. Stromasys, which was founded 12 years ago when managers of the European Digital Migration Center bought out their HP owners, has operated an office in North Carolina for years. Pricing for the product has not been set; the Stromasys executive team is taking imput on how much the 3000 customers would be willing to pay. At the moment the Digital product CHARON sells for between $5,000 and $200,000. Even the latter price represents a big savings over a code move or migration.

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Vast 3000 rollout echoed in coming week

NClassRollout More than nine years ago the HP 3000 world experienced the sort of system news that's is due to emerge from this week's HP Technology Forum and Expo. When announcements of new HP Converged Infrastructure elements, covering blades and storage and more spill out in press conferences scheduled for the end of today, 3000 owners might do well to recall how sweeping HP made its upgrades to the line back in the spring of 2001.

"At no time in recent memory has the lineup for 3000 ownership been reset so," I wrote. "It is now composed entirely of systems just announced with a new architecture, or computers whose end of support date is already known. The HP 3000 division expressed enough confidence in the new offerings to sweep everything else in the 3000 product line aside by the year 2006."

The architecture transformation came in the IO and network subsystems, not in the main CPU. And there may have been a coded message HP sent to the installed base by making 2006 its end of support date for the Series 9x7 through 9x9 3000s. Within nine months this entire HP 3000 line, including the carpet of brand-new systems, was to experience that same end of life date. Customers were only starting to assemble budget to buy the new systems when HP pulled the plug on the 3000's future.

But for a sweet period of late spring through late fall, the outlook for a hardware renaissance was bright, and the 3000 had attained parity with its Unix brethren. Viewing the feeds and speeds of that last decade's hardware, it all seems built of another era of technology. However, it would be hasty to assume the '01 revamp was the last of the 3000's architecture. There's another path to evolution, building in the wings.

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MB Foster hosts Eloquence training

The creator of the Eloquence database and language is coming to North America for a thorough session on deploying and using the product that understands IMAGE structures better than anybody's. MB Foster will host Michael Marxmeier's class on Eloquence 8.0 and 8.1 July 29-30 at the MB Foster HQ in Chesterville, Ontario, just a half-hour outside of Ottawa.

The training comes at a significant time for the migrating 3000 community. The 8.1 release of Eloquence has been rolled into the market for more than six months by now, so questions on the database's new features will be on the minds of its users. Of course, the countdown to the post-HP era of 3000 ownership will be under six months when the training takes place. Companies motivated to learn new technology to get off the 3000 are polishing their migrations this summer.

The training is $500 for the two days, but MB Foster is offering a discount for early registrations. Even at the full price, the class is likely to be one of the least expensive elements of the training trip. But it's a rare thing to learn a product at the hands of its creator.

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PostgreSQL vs. MySQL: Research today

When you're migrating in-house apps away from an HP 3000, replacing a database is a crucial choice. Much of the 3000 community is moving such apps to Eloquence for good reasons: the database is affordable, it understands IMAGE structures and programming, and the solution is loaded with lots of extras. Eloquence is full-featured enough to be considered a language.

However, your migration choices might be dictated by your IT personnel. If your company is losing its 3000 expertise and you're exploring the world of open source databases, eventually you'll look over SQL options. They don't all have to be spelled Oracle or SQL Server. You can get a comparison of two open source tools in an online seminar mid-day US time.

EnterpriseDB, advocates of using Postgres, is sponsoring a GoToMeeting webinar starting at 1PM EDT today. The invitation says in part:

For years, the common industry perception has been that MySQL is faster and easier to use than PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is perceived as more powerful, more focused on data integrity, and stricter at complying with SQL specifications, but correspondingly slower and more complicated to use. Like many perceptions formed in the past, these things aren't as true with the current generation of releases as they used to be.

If you register, the company will email you a link to download a recording of the seminar, even if you can't attend.

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Go for the Gold Book

An HP 3000 staple went on sale at eBay this week. The tool contains no toxic elements, is mobile and can be easily customized. HP 3000 experts say that keeping it maintained leads to stable system environments. The tool dates from the 1980s, but it's never going to go out of date.

GoldBook The staple is the HP 3000 Gold Book, known as the Hewlett-Packard System Support Log. HP 3000s were shipped with a Gold Book, where the diligent and professional IT manager kept log-on information, system configurations, serial numbers, support handles and more. Paul Edwards, a treasure of the 3000 community who devoted a career to teaching and developing HP 3000 skills and software, has preached the lesson of keeping a good Gold Book.

The Support Log on eBay is just a tool to organize key information about HP 3000 documentation, but it's unusual to see such an operational resource for sale. Only $9.95, but worth every penny if your homesteading shop doesn't already have one that's up to date. Edwards wrote a white paper on homesteading practices, free for the downloading from his website, that features Gold Book use for documentation. Docs, of course, are the story of the 3000 you leave as your legacy of your work at a company. The Gold Book even has a useful function when your homesteading site goes into migration mode.

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Red-blooded sites shape new scheduler

    The new Windows-based MBF Scheduler grew up in MB Foster’s labs, nourished by the experience of engagements with several sites migrating from the 3000. The migrating sites across several business sectors all needed the scheduling and jobstream power built into the HP 3000. They didn’t need, or want, any Unix in the scheduling loop.

   The software is another step toward new business for MB Foster. Over the past several years the company has transformed itself into a services provider which employs software. MBF Scheduler was built, tested and deployed by the company’s engineers, a team that’s been intact since 2001, all based in North America and employing 3000 experience.

    That’s the same lab that served HP when the vendor made a basic-level ODBC product available as part of the OS. MB Foster licensed its ODBCLink in an SE version to HP, then supported it for 3000 sites using the bundled SE.

    Although it came out of a seasoned lab, the new software’s pedigree grew out of requirements of customers in sales, manufacturing and the Canadian government, according to Chief Technical Officer George Marcinek.

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Delete empties, checks on batch, and more

I have a group that contains flat files that get FTPed to our network by a job on the HP 3000. Before FTPing the files, I would like the job to delete files that are empty, but the problem is that the file name is never the same. How can I use MPE/iX or MPEX to determine which files in the group are empty and delete them?

Robert Schlosser replies:

In MPEX you can say PURGE @(EOF=0) and purge all files with no records

Dave Powell adds, for those who have only standard MPE/iX at hand:

If you don’t have MPEX (gasp), you can still :listfile into a msg file, and read it back, call finfo to check the eof, and you are in business.  Knowing how to do this can be handy if you want to do something to a fileset that isn’t a one-line MPEX command.

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Updates on Extensions to the 3000

There are a few stories budding in the community this week about extending the 3000's future, but they're not quite ripe enough to pluck for all the details. You ought to know anyway what's in the works to make a 3000 work harder.

The stories cover software for the 3000, something a lot easier to change than the hardware in the eighth year since HP built a 3000. The long-awaited and much-debated 3000 emulator is making progress, according to the Chief Technical Officer at Stromasys. By the week of the coming HP Technology Forum, the company will update the community about how long it will take to move the "cross-platform virtualization" software from testing to supported product for sale.

CTO Robert Boers extended a few details in advance of the announcement. HP's technology to permit a boot-up of MPE/iX is being shared with Stomasys. Boers calls it a "technology transfer," adding that he's signed several HP non-disclosure agreements to gain access to the knowledge.

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Forum summons Woz, plus Who's founder

WozIO From the groupies of '60s rock to the tech geeks of the '70s, this month's HP Technology Forum is summoning celebrity to attract IT attendees. Steve Wozniak, Apple computer founder, and Roger Daltrey, former front-man for The Who, will be on hand at the conference that shows off HP's latest for those customers sticking with their vendor after migration. It's a historic event, judging by the age of the headliners.

Wozniak is the guest star at a rollout party for Fusion IO's solid-state storage-accelerator product, dubbed the HP IO Accelerators. Fusion IO got serious about storage solutions last year with its ioDrives, deployed at MySpace's datacenter. Fusion likes to point out that an ioDrive is not a Solid State Drive. The Fusion hardware, which integrates with a server, is supposed to run rings around SSDs in performance. But that 2009 device is sold in capacities that will remind you of a drive (80, 160 and 320GB). In addition to performing with Linux, Fusion's product runs with Intel-based servers using Windows, the most popular alternative for the migrating HP 3000 shop.

You can shake the hand of the man who plucked technology's first Apple at a beach party at the Forum. A beach party in the desert of Las Vegas -- nothing unusual for Vegas, where an Interex show once included custom beach-towels passed out by Robelle at a Wet 'N Wild splash party -- is scheduled for June 22 at 8:30 PM. We've been invited to the Woz-fest, and were also told to pass along registration details to our customers (that's you):

Go to and use a password of wozinvegas.

As for Roger, he's having his first Las Vegas appearance since the Who's Reunion Tour of 2006. The Connect user group, organizing much of the content and entertainment for the week, has promised its most loyal members a chance at access to the rock star who was nominated for 1978 Golden Globe playing Tommy.

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New Channels and Tactics for 3000 Growth

David.greer MB Foster gained the insights and experience of a veteran this year when David Greer joined the company as Director of Marketing and Sales. Greer posted more than 20 years of accomplishment while developing and managing business at Robelle. He then took about eight years away from the HP 3000 marketplace, working elsewhere in the IT industry, so he's returned with a fresh outlook. We asked him in a Q&A interview what non-3000 experience brings to his return to the community.

Third of three parts: Read Part 1 and Part 2 of our Q&A

What experiences during your 3000 hiatus can contribute to your work now, on your return to the community?

I spent three years doing early stage work with companies. For many cases for me it was helping out in marketing and sales, working out the messaging. In working with startups, you have really young, really bright people. The speed they operate at, their total lack of fear in trying new things like social media, or recording a video of the CEO and putting it up on their Web site, that's all quite outside what we're used to in the HP 3000 world. It's refreshing and gives you a new view. Some of those ideas we're working with actively at MB Foster.

What are the prospects for sending messages to the older generation of IT managers about experimenting with new technologies or social networks, based on your start-up experiences?
Enterprise computing is going to be conservative because they have to keep their businesses running. They have to make big investments on technologies that have lasting power. Most of these can't afford to be flash in the pan around their core application. If you want to do e-mail marketing, or take something off to the side to see if it works, most organizations can take a risk on that. Eventually, if it works, you have to integrate it - and that's when it really gets interesting.

    Social networking is an issue that's independent of IT. I think we have a generational difference. While you and I both have blogs, a Twitter account, and are up on Facebook, we're the exceptions. People of the baby boomer generation are more likely to want to print things out and read it on paper.

    At MB Foster we're thinking about what our audience wants. If they want to read from a blog, I'm happy to publish one. I'm still looking at what we'll want to publish in that medium for them.

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First 5 Years Delivers News Built to Last

BrightLight It began with an ending. Five years ago on this date the 3000 NewsWire's blog came to life, celebrating a notable death. Bruce Toback, a man of deep technical prowess and great humor, had passed away in that week of 2005, claimed by a heart attack that cut his life short too soon. He once noted a study which reported 10 percent of all tech gifts would be damaged after the year-end holidays by enraged low-tech users, then added, "Go team!" You might say the same about the cutting short of HP's 3000, except that only its HP life was cut short by 2005. We like to think we've lead the cheer over these years from the community of "Go team!" even as many have gone away.

Five summers ago we started our first week of workday articles writing about Quest Software's tools and a claim they'd already migrated 100 HP 3000 sites; about HP hiring this Todd Bradley fellow from Palm to run its PC group (Bradley bought up his old company for HP this spring); and a popular 3000 community topic of the day, open source code. Our story of June 15 was about Sun's new sharing of source for its Solaris flavor of Unix.

Some 203,000 page views later, after 1,320 articles, we know for certain that open source isn't a good answer to propel the 3000's future. Even while Sun opened up its OS internals (not that it did much good for Sun) the 3000 didn't have the same vast populace to enhance and maintain its OS. We said five years ago that a better quest for extension was in order.

Although MPE/iX's future development will have to take place in the third-party developer community, open source wouldn't work for the 3000 -- something most customers realize when they get honest about the size of the 3000 development base. You can't count up customers to measure the potential of open source resources; you have to look for people capable of doing their own builds of software such as perl, sendmail and the like. HP's Mark Bixby has warned 3000 customers who want to homestead they better get fluent in such development, or get to know a consultant who knows his way around the make command.

The summer of 2005 offered some once-in-a-career moments, like the overnight meltdown of Interex and the 30-year-old user group's conference; the last Systems Improvement Ballot to enhance MPE/iX, a document that didn't get a hearing at a conference because of said meltdown; and an HP conference postponed by a Category 4 hurricane. Interex lost millions, the SIB was reduced to wishes, but that HP conference roars to life once more this month in Vegas -- where the hurricane threats are few.

None of our many reports would be possible, however, without the steady support of our sponsors and avid readership of the community. Expertise, bandwidth, dedication and persistence come at a cost, one that our advertisers have believed is important to bear on behalf of 3000 users worldwide. This blog became the first step around the world, using system boots built to last like the 3000 itself.

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Apple developers aim with 3000 experience

Today's announcement of a new operating environment for Apple mobile products recalls the days of HP's MPE/iX rollouts. Some of the same developers who studied those HP 3000 OS releases are poring over the internals of iOS 4, Apple's new name for its latest mobile environment that was once called iPhone OS.

Michael Casteel retired from the active 3000 community more than a decade ago, but he still remembers his time developing the scheduling app Maestro from Unison to serve enterprises using HP's mission-critical  server.

"I miss the trenches now and then, and the folks, too," he said. "Some of the best times I ever had were tracking down obscure bugs in Maestro after everybody else had given up. I do like good puzzles.

"That’s probably part of why I keep hacking on computers. No more 3000s, though I miss them a bit, too. They were a lot of fun, for a lot of years. From the Series II to the 9xx’s. Now, it’s programming and a little web site maintenance using my MacBook."

Casteel is the author of Klondike, the best Solitaire program ever built for the Mac -- through three generations of OS -- now sold for the iPhone and iPad. Casteel is attending this week's WorldWide Developers' Conference for Apple developers. He's not the only programmer with MPE in his blood camped out in the Bay Area this week.

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One year later, HP resolved one 3000 issue

May09CoverIn May of last year we tracked a list of HP 3000 issues that remained unresolved by the vendor. HP had announced it was closing its 3000 group operations, including its lab. It expressed the belief that it had addressed all outstanding issues concerning 3000 ownership.

One year later, nearly all of the list of unresolved issues remains in limbo. The lone exception is the identity of the parts of the MPE/iX source code HP licensed for outside use. But only the eight licensees have learned what's included in the millions of lines of 3000 OS code. At least someone outside of Hewlett-Packard has discovered something of the 3000's secrets.

What remains secret, or undiscovered this year, are issues around support in 2011, as well as the fate of dozens of 3000 enhancements and fixes finished by the lab in 2008. There's also the matter of HP's assistance to creating an emulator -- in the event that an emulator emerges for cross-hardware virtualization.

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Brand-new Joins the Hearts of Old

    This year I lead the life of a grandfather, nourished by the newest technology. My life grew larger in April with the arrival of my first granddaughter, Paige. Although she is not as close by as our grandson Noah, the digital reach of Facebook albums and iPad slideshows bring her Houston home much closer to ours in Austin.

    Paige will never know a world without Facebook or Twitter, and will probably think of film-based pictures as relics of her parents’ time. She'll wonder why we say "tape" or "film" when we mean the verb "record." We’ve all moved on toward the better of newer. But some old school practices serve very well. On Mother’s Day weekend, Abby and I tended to this tiny baby just four weeks old, while parents Maribeth and Peter got a night off and trusted us to care for Paige. Walking the floor with that little girl nestled over my heartbeat, I felt the rush of love and memory from the first days with my son. In the dark of the night, Abby lay in bed next to the bassinete, rocking it with her foot. Sleep was a blessing we all pursued that evening. Walking and rocking remain fundamentals.

    But we also experienced a comfort in our overnight of tending to Paige, perhaps the same calm you can muster while you face newer technology challenges. You’ve earned your stripes and embraced one new marvel after another by the time you log 15, 20 or 30 years doing your career’s work. Your 3000 is likely to be able to take commands from a 1.5 pound mobile iPad tablet.

    Mobile goes beyond phones when an enterprise company takes on the sector. This week HP's CEO said that the company didn't purchase Palm to create and sell smartphones. Instead, said Mark Hurd, "it's all about the IP," intellectual property and patents around the WebOS operating environment. HP will move the technology into mobile devices it's developing. Old technology like enterprise servers will provide a playground for the brand-new WebOS tech, once HP gets done integrating.

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Fresh Eyes for the 3000 Community

David.greer MB Foster gained the insights and experience of a veteran this year when David Greer joined the company as Director of Marketing and Sales. Greer posted more than 20 years of accomplishment while developing and managing business at Robelle. He then took about eight years away from the HP 3000 marketplace, working elsewhere in the IT industry and sailing the Med with his family, so he's returned with a fresh outlook. We asked him in a Q&A interview what he's seen so far that's changed in your community.

Have you had any conversations yet with customers worried about HP's departure at the end of this year?

I wouldn't say I've heard any angst or concern about that. I've been asking people what they're doing for support, since HP's coming off at the end of this year. My gut says the majority have already moved on [to independent support]. Others are looking, but they're not particularly concerned. It's kind of business as usual. I don't see it as any driving factor, at least so far, that would make people leave the platform.

How are the changes in this market prompting you to change the MB Foster message?

The main things I'm trying to get out is reminding people of all the things MB Foster does. That's a pretty broad swath; a lot of people may not be aware that we can enable data replication for a data mart: or the depth of experience the company has in services with many organizations, working with senior management to produce effective reporting to drive their businesses.

    We're also reminding people that we're here whether you're homesteading or you want to transition. We've got solutions for both. We're trying to help people leverage more out of what they have.

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HP reveals 9,000 enterprise service layoffs

Tucked inside of an SEC 8-K announcement that Hewlett-Packard will invest $1 billion in enterprise services lay a bitter nougat: 9,000 employee positions will be losing their jobs over the next three years. The cuts are coming from the same services business that HP says it's expanding. It's not clear if these jobs are part of the 24,600 layoffs HP announced last spring.

But it's a certainty that HP took on more than 140,000 consultants and engineers in 2008 when it acquired EDS, swelling the Hewlett-Packard headcount to more than 300,000 employees. The new business unit has supplied the biggest share of HP's 2009-10 profits. Enterprise computing expansion has been a series of acquisitions for years at HP, from software purchases like Mercury Interactive to the EDS deal. HP's services business overtook HP Printer and Imaging's sales and profit leadership once EDS's 140,000 employees were folded into the company.

HP reported that over the next three years it will "replace approximately 6,000 of the 9,000 positions" it will cut. The headcount move gives the vendor flexibility to curtail compensation while it swaps out personnel based on performance and relationship factors. In an HP which has boasted of cost-cutting ever since CEO Mark Hurd took over, layoffs have been a steady fact of life. Hurd and other executive officers mentioned no layoffs in the quarterly conference call with analysts two weeks ago. Two kinds of operations have come under the HP scalpel: those with high headcounts and those not pulling in expected profits.

The company operates units more profitable (Software) as well as larger in sales (Personal Systems) than Services, but none with a higher number of employees. HP said the layoffs will net "annualized net savings, after reinvestments in sales resources and other initiatives, of approximately $500 million to $700 million by the end of HP’s 2013 fiscal year."

Some of those reinvestments come in the form of getting HP customers to adopt "modernized infrastructure platforms" for applications. Mention platforms in the 3000 community and the customers will think of servers and operating environments. But these changes are most likely to impact the customer who is considering the use of HP's datacenters for cloud computing. HP has been following an industry trend to promote cloud services as a migration plan.

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