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October 2010

MB Foster keys on 3000 application support

It's not a new practice, but MB Foster is shining its spotlight on supporting customer applications for HP 3000s. The company says it is seeing 3000 sites renewing commitments to using the server for another 3-5 years, so its experience in serving customers through applications can help companies extend the life of their systems.

"We have been providing application support services to clients for a few years now,” said Birket Foster, CEO of MB Foster Associates. “Over the last year, we have seen more clients commit to the HP 3000 platform for the next three to five years. We want to insure that these customers can continue to enhance their HP 3000 applications to meet their changing business needs."

Legacy app modernization has become another way to describe migrations when services providers talk about HP 3000 engagements. But these MB Foster services do not aim to move apps off a 3000. This is a homesteader's product, one that can be used to offset the brain drain which this community of four decades is experiencing. The goal is to provide 3000 expertise that a customer has lost through retirements of IT pros.

"It's very rare for someone to train up on the HP 3000 these days," said David Greer, MB Foster's VP of Marketing and Sales. In contacts with customers like the airline Westjet, for example, he's learned that the 3000 expert there has moved on to other technology projects in the company, using newer tools and architectures to expand career skills. From such HR moves come the need for application support. "The knowledge gap is widening," Greer added.

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New eFORMz adds XML, HTML for e-forms

Minisoft has released version 7.5 of its eFORMz software, a forms automator that including new capabilities to create HTML forms dynamically and accept XML data sources as input. It also integrates with Microsoft's RTF formats and can encrypt PDFs with a double password (user, plus creator) security.

PDF forms and files are also handled for HP 3000 customers by Hillary Software, whose byRequest software is in use to email and web-publish reports and files, too. Minisoft's eFORMz is Java-based, so Minisoft recommends that 3000 sites host the software on a non-3000 platform to avoid Java/iX performance issues. But it works with applications common to the HP 3000 community such as MANMAN or Ecometry/Escalate.

eFORMz 7.5 can add components such as paragraphs, boxes and tables to enhance data presentation. The vendor says its Dynamic Forms Technology can be integrated with an existing project without outside source technology. The new feature also enables a user to read-in multi-page PDFs or TIFF image files.

Minisoft's also added an emailing agent to its software, so a user could manage emails produced by eFORMz Direct. A three-page press release at the Minisoft website [PDF file] delivers more details.

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More notes on 3000 SFTP, and HP's advice

We got expert response from the community for our Monday story about Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), something that UK-based Adrian Hudson wants to manage from his HP 3000. Hudson checked in with us after hearing from consultant Mark Ranft of Pro 3k as well as the NewsWire. It turns out Hudson is a contractor working at Europ Assistance, a company using an HP 3000 to "provide insurance and assistance (e.g. motor breakdown, travel) cover across the world."

They have a need for SFTP to transfer new policy details from the Internet. I have a feeling that if Europ Assistance can’t do SFTP from the 3000, or if there is a cost involved, they will simply use one of their non-3000 servers as a piggyback to do the SFTP on the 3000's behalf. But with me being a nostalgic old soul, I would like to see it done from the 3000.

So, last week I started to look around for a zero-cost solution and found a Beechglen web page about it. This web page all seems perfectly okay, so I started to see if I could source the components mentioned on the web page, namely Openssl, Openssh, perl and a GNU C compiler.

On the openssl list server, I also started to independently look for versions of ssl and ssh which had been ported to the 3000 and I also sent an email to Tracy Johnson of OpenMPE to try and get a logon to the invent3k2 server to see what I might find on there.

Continue reading "More notes on 3000 SFTP, and HP's advice" »

Speedware kicks off HP 3000 migration for Top 10 insurance supplier

Nearly nine years after HP announced the end of its HP 3000 business, one of the world's top 10 insurance suppliers will be kicking off its migration away from the server. Speedware, which has already turned off about 730 of the systems in migrations, will work in a $2.5 million engagement for services and product licenses. Speedware calls the work it will supply "legacy modernization services" for one of "many organizations, including this insurance company, [which] rely on mission-critical enterprise applications and databases that run on the HP e3000."

Speedware needs to be circumspect about naming the company, which is based in North America. Such are the restraints of 2010, when technology choices and contracts are considered trade secrets by enterprise IT customers, executives who don't want their names in the press. But Speedware's marketing director Chris Koppe did confirm that the insurance firm has many other enterprise environments in operation already, and the company has been an HP 3000 user since at least the 1980s.

Accepted wisdom about who's migrated out of the 3000 community has pegged these largest firms as the earliest to transition. News of a Fortune 100 company just launching its journey away from MPE/iX runs counter to the concept that big IT shops could make their moves soonest.

“Even with the end of vendor support scheduled in December, this contract demonstrates that many large organizations are still finalizing plans regarding their HP e3000,” said Andy Kulakowski, President of Speedware. He added, "We know this market so well we would have been very disappointed had we not been awarded the contract. Our migration team is looking forward to helping this company achieve success as well." Speedware's migration pitch includes a message that every one of its projects has been a success.

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Getting OpenSSL, SFTP Working on 3000s

HP 3000s can use OpenSSL, cryptographic protocols that provide security for communications over networks such as the Internet. SSL can encrypt segments of network connections at the Application Layer to ensure secure end-to-end transit at the Transport Layer. It's an open source standard tool, but deploying it on an HP 3000 can be less than transparent.

Consider the following question from Adrian Hudson in the UK.

Does anyone know anything about putting OpenSSL on a HP 3000? I've seen various websites referring to people who have succesfully ported the software, but with the HP 3000s being used less and less, I'm finding lots of broken links and missing pages. My ultimate intention is to try and get Secure FTP (SFTP) running from Posix on the HP 3000.

Several up-to-date support providers can help Hudson and others who want this security tool running on a 3000. Mark Ranft of Pro3K (612.804.2774) said, "I would be happy to assist. I recently did this for another client. I have all the pieces and instructions to do this." Beechglen's founder Mike Hornsby also has software and experience at hand. "Beechglen has OpenSSH_3.8.1p1, OpenSSL 0.9.7d 17, SFTP and SSHD versions for MPE/iX," he said.

HP placed the OpenSSL pieces in its WebWise MPE/iX software, according to former HP Internet & Connectivity engineer Mark Bixby (now developing at K-12 app company QSS). "When I left [HP's 3000 division], a fully functional OpenSSL was part of the Apache bundle. The last Apache/WebWise patch that I built contained all of the necessary source code and build scripts, and more."

However, Secure FTP is not provided in the WebWise bundle. A longtime friend of the 3000 community, still working in support, provided a white paper on how to set up SFTP for the HP 3000. The paper was written just two years ago.

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Meet with users on Nov. 11 CAMUS webinar

The CAMUS user group, still working after more than three decades of devotion to enteprise resource planning for HP 3000s, is hosting a two-hour webinar Nov. 11 to spread the word about emulators, OpenMPE and even the specialized commands of MANMAN administration.

The event starts at 11 AM Central time (by then we'll all be back on Standard Time), with webinar setup scheduled for 10:45-11:00. Send your contact information or questions to Terri Glendon Lanza ([email protected], 630.212.4314) to get your registration started. Details of webinar phone-in and log-in will be emailed to registrants prior to the meeting.

The NewsWire will be participating, listening as well as offering any advice and news which can answer questions. What topics are part of the 11:20 to 1PM Talk Soup? CAMUS says

What’s going on with OpenMPE? Emulators for HP’s VMS or MPE platforms? What does that Comin Variable/System Flag really do? Bring your questions and comments to share with your fellow CAMUS and industry members.

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Watch HP's New CertificationOne advice

Update: You can watch the full TV event in rerun at the Stream57 Archive web page.

Connect, the HP user group, has organized a streaming TV event to update its IT certification programs. It's being presented through Stream57, which had great bandwidth and video quality during an event that Connect's Chief Marketing Officer Nina Buik participated in earlier this year.

HP is offering its first Converged Infrastructure Architect certification, early next year, and a new Networking Certification Portfolio starts Nov. 1. The Converged Infrastructure Architect certification is at the Master ASE level, and cuts across the server, storage, networking and IT management specifics in the HP product line.

You'll need to have patience to parse some strategic HP marketing language like this, offered up inside the first 60 seconds:

We're here today to talk about the evolution in the datacenter called convergence that is becoming more and more prevalent in convergence-enabled companies -- to break down what have been traditionally been silos in the datacenter, networking and storage and servers management into a common set of flexible converged resources that enable IT to better respond to business. Yesterday's approach to IT professional certification and training focused only on one piece of the equation: solely on the network, or storage, or servers, and often within a closed, single-vendor environment. The shift toward the datacenter of the future requires a much broader skill set for IT professionals.

In plainer language, HP has finalized its purchase and assimilation of 3Com, and it's got to learn to teach IT pros about a whole new product line of networking solutions.

HP's trying to attract the majority of IT pros who aren't certified for network technologies. More than three fourths of the IT group HP aims at now use a mixed vendor environment. The event's speakers from HP are Susan Underhill, VP Global Certification and Learning; Lyle Speirs, Director, Sales & Marketing, Global Certification & Learning; and Mike Banic VP of Marketing for HP's Networking group. Connect's Buik will participate, showing how the certification dovetails with networking among the user group's members.

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Tape data to disc files and setting Posix time

I have some information on a tape. I’d like to create a store to disc file with it — how do I do that?

Jack Connor replies:

There are several solutions. The first and easiest is to simply restore the info to a system (RESTORE *T;/;SHOW;CREATE;ACCOUNT=WORKSTOR) where WORKSTOR is an account you create to pull the data in.  Then a simple FILE D=REGSFILE;DEV=DISC and STORE /WORKSTOR/;*D;whatever else should create the disc store.

The second is to use FCOPY. You'll have to research the STORE format, but I believe it's FILE TAPEIN;DEV=TAPE;REC=8192,,U,BINARY.

The third (also easy, but you need the software) is to use Allegro's tool TAPECOPY, which moves from tape store to disc store and back.

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MB Foster reports on emerging EIM program

While HP 3000 customers migrate from their trusty legacy servers to a new environment, the change permits them to embrace new concepts and architecture for their IT. It's a matter of "here's some forced change; after we do a lift-and-shift, we follow new practices."

I'll never forget the IT manager at a Houston-area manufacturer who was glad that HP cut off its 3000 futures. While listening to a Webinar organized by the CAMUS user group, he said the forced change would let him clean house of aging MPE/iX applications. Users' efficiency would have to take a hit, the fellow said, for a payoff of a better-designed operation.

Migration can offer the potential for more current management techniques, the carrot that follows the stick of that temporary disruption of retraining. One HP 3000 services and software vendor is offering a summary of such new thinking. MB Foster has posted a review of the practices preached at the 2010 Enterprise Information Summit. EIM, to quote the Foster report is not a technology. It's a program, as explained by summit speaker David Marco, which started with a formula.

Information = Data (content) + Meta Data (context)

For example, the number 2,765 taken by itself has no context. If we tell you that 2,765 represents sales in 000's for the last quarter, we have a context to take the content, 2,765, and turn it into information -- sales.

But EIM relies on technologies to support it. EIM starts with a way of thinking and goes from there to encompass an entire enterprise. EIM first requires discipline, which must be supported by technologies that manage information assets throughout the organization. There are many reasons for introducing EIM to an organization, Foster's report said; the sheer size and scale of data duplication alone can often justify an entire EIM program.

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HP's support data for 3000 cut to manuals

UselessHandle As promised, the HP support knowledge base, as well as the ability to download patches for the HP 3000 server, has been restricted behind a paywall this month. HP warned the community of a change by Sept. 18, but didn't have the barriers to support data in place until early October. As of this morning, all the gates are up. The key to enter is an HP support contract.

Still open, for the moment, is HP's documentation and manuals for the servers. The old website requires a special suffix to find the documentation for HP 3000 servers and HP's software. You'll need to move to to find the last of HP's online information about the server.

Another good 3000 resource remains alive at HP for a moment, but you'll need to bookmark the link that HP has well-buried. The IT Resource Center Forums are still alive and getting a little traffic and some answers. takes you to the MPE/iX section of the Forum. There's a lot less help here than on the HP 3000 newsgroup (available in its easiest searching and reading format via Google's Groups MPE section.) But at least HP's ITRC Forum is still being operated by HP for free, even if the advice is supplied by the users rather than HP engineers in most cases.

NoAccessHP continues to send notices of its recommended and critical patch updates for the HP-UX servers via email. But even with an access handle which used to work on the HP support site, there's no information at the end of the web links in the emails -- just the "additional authorization" message shown above. The exception: HP's Security Bulletins, whose email links still deliver data if you've got an existing HP ITRC handle. To establish a support contract relationship, HP recommends a generic "Contact HP" link. Be ready to explain that you're not looking for support on the other HP 3000 products, an inkjet printer or a digital camera.

There's an extra level of older HP 3000 documentation still online at HP's website. Older, non-supported products can be found at (But then, all the HP 3000 elements will be non-supported by HP in two-plus months, right?) Some of these older HP online manuals will be useful for self-maintainers of 3000s, such as the HP PA-RISC Computer Systems Integrated Cabinet Installation Guide or the 9x9 Computer Systems System Upgrade Guide.

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Earning a Seat for Government Migrations

Speedware announced it has earned Canada's Task Based Informatics Professional Services (TBIPS) Supply Arrangement and Standing Offer, an award that will enable it to provide specialized IT professional services to the Federal Government of Canada.
Speedware's legacy modernization and migration team learned of HP 3000s still at work in the government, and the vendor has spent two years earning the status of approved supplier of services to organizations which need to move off legacy platforms. Marketing director Chris Koppe said that a recent Gartner research note shows the three leading migration sectors are government entitites, insurance suppliers and financial services firms.

"We hear rumblings of a few organizations that still have HP 3000s," Koppe said. He added that Speedware has been engaging in modernization projects around IBM AS/400 installations, also working in Canadian, provincial and municipal government entities.

TBIPS was established by Public Works and Government Services Canada to facilitate delivery of task-based Information Management and Information Technology professional services for the government. TBIPS is the newest form of procurement vehicle being used by the government and is the preferred contract procurement vehicle for many Federal departments and agencies.
Koppe said a recent Canadian auditor-general’s report states that the government’s aging computer systems pose a significant risk to Federal operations. Risks revolve around "the skill set retirement issue," among others, according to Koppe. "In some cases, these systems were written in the '70s and '80s. The people who are maintaining them today are coming up on retirement. They don't teach HP COBOL in schools anymore, or SPL or PowerHouse. They're very difficult skill sets to replace."

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HP networked storage on view via Connect

The Connect HP enterprise user group is wrapping up its early-bird rate for the new Storage & Networking Symposium tomorrow, Oct. 15. The user group that took over for the now-defunct Interex promised to mount more conferences in 2011, and this event is being held in Europe to fit in the geographic slot where broader-scope Germany-based meetings have been in past years.

The meeting is three days, Nov. 16-18 in the Ramada Micador, located in Niedernhausen close to the city of Wiesbaden and convenient to the Frankfurt airport. The early bird price for Connect members is 100 Euros less through tomorrow (510 €) plus 19 percent tax for a 2-day conference. An extra day of deep hands-on education brings the total to (810 €) at the early bird rate. (Connect says the hotel is 4-star with rooms starting at 99 € nightly; airfares to Europe are at record lows right now.)

Why go? HP's storage solutions, especially the newest ones aimed at small to midsize companies, will have use for migration-bound 3000 customers as well as those who will operate homestead 3000s alongside other environments. HP's been buying plenty of third party solutions -- the multi-billion 3Par acquisition gets HP into advanced cloud-based storage. There's the new deduplication technology developed in HP's own labs, probably a better fit for the non-3000 elements of an enterprise. But the LeftHand acquisition gives HP an entry that can fit in a midsize enterprise environment.

Scott Hirsh, a former 3000 systems manager who's now an IT Infrastructure Architect at reseller Forsythe Solutions, said HP's acquisitions are being pitched as an alternative to EMC's and IBM's array solutions. Some of the new HP headroom and flexibility began with adding LeftHand, which Hirsh said was basically storage software. The storage solutions under 20 TB look like a good fit for a 3000 data profile.

"3000 shops typically don't have a lot of capacity," Hirsh said, "because the data is so ASCII-based. So it doesn't add up the way rich content does. It works for 1-10 terabytes, because those are really important terabytes."

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Low expectations forecast for HP's board

Many aspects of HP have become history, says a former HP engineer and current HP 3000 systems manager. It's true whether you're a migrating customer with a long HP history, like Boeing, or a homesteading company who's disappointed with the apparent changes at the very top of this storied system vendor.

John Wolff is in the latter category. His company LAACO Ltd. is a Los Angeles firm that manages fitness clubs as well as storage facilities and it's used HP 3000 as mission-critical servers since the 1980s. Wolff retired from the OpenMPE board this year, and while he was checking in on OpenMPE business mentioned how the HP board is driving business strategy wildly deviant from the HP Wolff served.

HP's new CEO Leo Apotheker will spend his first week testifying in court -- another first for the company -- as Oracle pursues damages for misappropriated intellectual property: engineering taken by SAP while Apotheker was CEO there. A check by the board on such background is another example of a major vendor falling short of its legacy.

"If Bill and Dave failed at anything, it was at installing the culture in board members that could be passed onward," Wolff said. "When I joined the company [in the '60s] there was an orientation process introducing new employees to the HP Way. "They should have a program like that for members of the board as well." Wolff submitted a letter to the Wall Street Journal, a customer's complaint about the mess at HP's top which has gone unpublished.

The disconnect isn't limited to business press profiles of HP. Not even a company using the 3000 and enjoying a dedicated HP rep enjoys a clear understanding of how HP's 2011 CPU support will play out. "It's not easy to find these things out," said Boeing's 3000 systems manager Ray Legault, while he researched CPU ID reset services.

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Invent3K public server gains GNU tools

The public access HP 3000 called Invent3K2 gained new set of tools this morning, another improvement set up by OpenMPE secretary and system manager Tracy Johnson. After being offline for close to two years, the development server is now expanding beyond the original Invent3k capabilities.

Johnson reported that "Mark Klein's GNU tools have now been installed," open source programs such as gzip/bzip, autoconf and more. Klein was the founder of the 3000's open source feast back in the 1990s, when he ported the GNU C Compiler to MPE/iX -- opening the door for ports and development of every other utility and program such as Apache Web services, Samba print services, and those GNU package announced today.

Invent3K2 is free to use through the rest of 2010. The HP 3000 is online at, and a terminal window will get you an INVENT3K2: prompt. You'll need an account, which Johnson can provide once you're a member of OpenMPE. That's free, too.

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Discover the New World of 2011: HP Maybe

Christopher-columbus-6 In the US, a lot of business is on holiday as the country celebrates Columbus Day. Everybody knows that "Christopher Columbus discovered America" (not exactly a true historical account) and others know that Columbus discovered The New World. That latter belief has some bearing on your 3000 management, no matter whether your plan is to migrate or homestead your HP 3000.

The New World is the year 2011, the first year in 40 years when you can't order a stock HP 3000 service or part from Hewlett-Packard. HP's selling Time & Materials support on an official basis next year; it's one way to rescue a failed CPU board or reset HP's 3000 ID codes. You also might be lucky enough to qualify for HP's 3000 support -- if your management insists -- for next year. HP decides on a customer-by-customer basis. But this world of "maybe HP" or one-off support is a place as unknown as the Americas in the late 15th Century.

However uncharted, many 3000 users are going to have to explore this world of Maybe HP. And soon, too. HP's official 3000 operations end in about 10 weeks. Procurement and support managers are also looking over the horizon to see how to keep 3000s under support next year -- whether their firms are running 3000s while migrations start up or wrap up, or the systems continue to do mission-critical work.

Discovering the new land of HP 2011 support is a challenge while locating a support contract rep at HP. A good place to start is the HP IT Response Center, although those engineers don't handle contracts -- just support handles and fixes and patches. Less costly, more responsive alternatives to the "HP Maybe" new world lie in independent support firms. You can chart stops in your exploration at former HP authorized reseller Pivital Solutions, the ERP-grade mission-cricial experts at the Support Group inc., or our Homesteading Editor's Gilles Schipper Associates, among a few others. You'll want to know where you can sail to a safe harbor in the New World of 2011.

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Independent support plumbs 3000 internals

HP will remain in the 3000 support business during 2011, but only in a limited role. Aside from the under-the-radar contracts that independent support vendors are reporting, there's a Time & Materials option for critical services like setting CPU name and HPSUSAN numbers on replacement or upgraded 3000 boards.

But is Time & Materials response -- which has no guarantee of any deadline or an established price list -- the only avenue for this work? We're getting reports from indie support providers that HP has engineered back doors into configuring 3000 PA-RISC hardware. There's been ample research around the world to document PA-RISC system use with Linux. Stromasys, working on the Zelus 3000 emulator for release next year, piloted the product by booting a PA-RISC emulator with Linux.

The indie reports indicate a better understanding of the 3000 server hardware's internals than you might expect. As one example, a dual-port SCSI card is part of the IO board on HP's A-Class servers. HP's own documentation details that, so a third party might leverage the information to introduce older SCSI to the later models of the 3000. HP, for the record, doesn't support this SCSI card in the newer models. But as 3000 vets like to say, SCSI is SCSI. The blend of newer server and older IO is one element in upgrading to later model servers.

That expense of going to the A-Class or N-Class servers from 9x9 systems can be justified. Aside from power savings, the ultimate generation of 3000s is younger than 9x9 or 9x8 predecessors, and some support companies say it's easier to find replacement parts for the newer models. HP has made parts that work in both HP 9000 (the rp line of servers) and HP 3000 systems. Other than a CPU name change introduced at boot-up, the systems are identical. Many parts on the market for the tens of thousands of HP 9000s will do the job inside the newest HP 3000s.

What's more, there's value in the range of performance available on the N- and A-Class servers. You need a expert support source, comfortable with experimenting on PA-RISC, to get to greater speeds or eight-processor HP 3000s. But it can be done. And the task apparently doesn't conflict with HP attempts to block 3000 internals configuration.

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Indie resets of 3000 system IDs still available

AClassIRS Independent support providers can still provide a reset of HP 3000 CPUNAME and HPSUSAN ID numbers, according to an online message posted for the 3000 community. The parameters are crucial to continued use of HP 3000s after upgrades or CPU and board failures. HP is not the only avenue to pursue for these specialized services.

Immediate Recovery Solutions offers this Processor Dependent Code (PDC) change for PA-RISC servers, reiterated in a message from a technical expert who's called himself Captain Greb for more than four years by now. GREBs are the IRS products known as Generic REplacement Boxes, PA-RISC hardware built by HP which can be assigned a 3000's CPU ID as well as the HPSUSAN string. Software vendors check the HPSUSAN to verify legal licenses for applications and utilities.

The "Captain" told the NewsWire that the company will not sell its SSEDIT software, the program which it uses to set identities for the PA-RISC systems. "SSEDIT is our proprietary service tool and is not for sale," he said. "Why would we sell a program that could be easily copied or hacked by unscrupulous types?"

But now IRS has announced hardware for sale for the first time, PA-RISC systems like the one pictured above, which looks much like an A-Class server from the 3000 line. The two-processor box has been listed for sale, although there's no mention of MPE/iX being installed in a message to 3000 users.

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HP hugs Oracle with Unix v3 Update 7

HP-UX gains its seventh generation of improvements this month with the 11i v3 Update 7 release, which adds a range of enhancements to save time administering and integrating the OS with Oracle, among other technologies. HP's enterprise-grade alternative environment to MPE/iX has been already been updated for more than three years, and HP will carry the v3 banner well into 2014 according to its roadmaps.

HP and Oracle kissed and made up at last month's Oracle World conference in San Francisco -- held after Larry Ellison had scorched HP about firing Mark Hurd, then hired the ex-CEO to run the Oracle sales and marketing force as a co-president. HP filed a lawsuit and then settled, but there's another one between Oracle and SAP over copyright infringement -- which Oracle says took place during former SAP exec Leo Apotheker's watch. Ellison recently chided HP about hiring Apotheker, wondering "what ever happened to the HP Way?"

The improvements to HP-UX which hug the OS tighter to Ellison's Oracle were in development long before the current dust ups, of course.

The combination of HP-UX and Oracle's E-Business Suite is now promised to cost 93 percent less in dollars and time when the Oracle solution is clustered with 11i v3. Oracle's EBS stack of over 200 applications can be online in two days instead of the previous 30, HP says, and the cluster administrator can eliminate up to 12 hours of planned downtime a month.

Then there's better database manageability with "zero custom coding for Oracle Data Guard," a feature to enhance availability or disaster recovery for Data Guard. HP's competitor in Unix systems sales is its strongest partner in selling Oracle databases, and Data Guard maintains secondary standby databases as supplementary repositories to production databases.

Availability is such a crucial element in choosing Oracle and HP-UX that HP now boasts it's "90 percent faster to start up key applications after a failover."

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CEO Leo's prescription for healing HP's way

After six weeks of search, the HP board of directors chose a computer executive from outside the company to fill its CEO post. Leo Apotheker will start working in the fresh HP fiscal year starting November 1. A few articles have referred to the 57-year-old SAP lifer as wearing a name that translates in German to "pharmacist." But their prescriptions for him to heal the HP Way have ill-administered at best, as reported in the business press.

Apotheker Analysts have puzzled about why Apotheker was picked over HP's own "deep executive bench," to use the phrase HP offered while it was firing Mark Hurd. A sentimental favorite of some in the 3000 community, Ann Livermore, was passed over for the third time in about a decade. Livermore leads the HP operations which control the fate of HP's servers and software for enterprise customers. But Carly Fiorina seemed a better choice to the HP board, and about five years later Mark Hurd was fitted for HP's vacated crown. Livermore likely has little interest in leading all of HP, a company which has mutated mightily from the business where she cut her teeth selling HP's support products such as LaserROM -- an innovation of the industry's first collection of business system documentation on a CD.

So in an interview with Livermore I saw a view of one of two HP areas where Apotheker will try to reform the HP Way: support services. It's not the area analysts expect him to impact, software, but if he achieves that it will increase support business by extension. Customers can expect his continued pressure on the support business, where HP just raised its prices to increase the cost of owing an HP enterprise server. This is what you do when your innovation sags: boost the price to remain a customer of a complex product.

HP already opened the door for this impact with a paid-only patch policy for its business users starting Sept. 17. Apotheker has been profiled as an exec who worked to raise such costs at his last job leading SAP. Customers revolted and price hikes were pushed back. That kind of cohesive defense against higher costs will be tougher to mount against a company the size of HP, however, where thousands of products across many operating units will be probed for profit increases. Support revenues are the most lucrative HP operations other than lawsuit-driven licensing challenges. These revenues are also the final product that an enterprise customer like the 3000 user is likely to purchase before dropping HP.

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Boosting 3000 Effectiveness with Experience

MB Foster is hosting an Oct. 13 webinar that promises to steer strategies for the present, as well as the future of 3000 ownership. While the community is full of homesteaders, many are evaluating the time and method to step into their transition path. MB Foster is serving both kinds of users.

Birket Foster leads a 45 minute webinar next Wednesday at 2PM EDT, one where he will share experiences in successfully working with HP 3000 sites in planning future strategies. "We have worked with hundreds of HP 3000 sites," he said. "Over and over we see the same challenges in rolling out application changes, managing source code, and integrating HP 3000 data with other platforms."

"There are several strategies that you can deploy today for your HP 3000 and business operations that will improve your business, reduce mistakes, and lower costs."

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Building Beyond Our 15-Year Foundation

It's our 15th birthday today, the first day of the first month ever printed under the flag of The 3000 NewsWire. We're celebrating far from our offices but close to the birthplace of our newsletter: The coast of California, where we first told Hewlett-Packard about a fanatic's plan to launch a newsletter around one of the oldest business computers in the HP stables. My 20th wedding anniversary with Abby Lentz, the NewsWire's co-founder, has led us to a fortnight in the Sierras and along seacoasts to celebrate.

After a decade and a half, we can still feel the surge of that beachhead. The NewsWire's debut happened over August (Interex '95), September (our first FlashPaper) and October's initial first issue. But it really took its first bow in Aptos, a coastal town where HP was holding a press event at a resort called Seascape. HP was a company as different from today's mega-corp as an eagle and an otter might appear beside each other. I came to Seascape to report on HP's Opening the Enterprise conference, where HP execs from the Computer Systems Organization talked up how the 3000 would integrate with Unix.

But we had news to deliver as well as gather on that weekend. We broached the idea with our press relations contact Michele Pritchard before we arrived, then pulled aside the 3000's general manager Olivier Helleboid to ask what he'd think of a 3000-specific publication. At that time, few paragraphs appeared in print about the 3000 any longer. There was no online press.

Olivier saw the potential to collaborate with a little startup that must have seemed to flash more moxie than show business sense. We even got an approving nod from the head of the business server unit, Wim Roelandts, who'd worked in the 3000 business at HP himself years earlier.

But armed with those nods and smiles, along with content from HP's Pritchard and the chatter of the 3000-L, we still had to produce a complete newsletter filled with articles and advertising. A simple pilot edition traveled to Interex '95 -- well received by some sponsors and our contacts of more than a decade in the community. HP was making a case for including the 3000 in IT strategies, a mission we were delighted to aid because we knew so many companies relying on the server.

But I remember Chris Sieger, a board member of Interex, wondering what in the world we could find to publish in the next issue -- beyond a 4-page pilot that talked up HP's new Bangalore, India labs and the Gnu C++ toolset just ported to the 3000. I smiled at his question on the Interex bus back to the conference hotel. We'd heard plenty to publish at the conference. There was just the writing, editing, design, printing, database and mailing to accomplish. Not much for two people. Oh, and the thousands of 3000 suppliers and customers who'd fill our pages. We had to believe we'd receive that much, if we were to keep smiling in the face of skeptics.

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