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December 2011

A Peek into the Next Year for You

The NewsWire will take January 2 off to celebrate the New Year, the start of our 18th calendar year of publishing and spreading 3000 news. We'll be back to our reports on January 3.

CalendarPageThere's not much that you can count upon in the shifting world of enterprise IT. Costs are declining for many expenditures, of course. Even original HP 3000 hardware has dipped in price and continues to do so. What to spend your budget on during 2012 is going to be a shifting target. We'll talk here about three ideas that seem pretty clear for a forecast.

Emulation and virtualization: The coming year will feature new hardware-software combinations all designed to eliminate old concepts of servers. We expect to report a sale of the Stromasys Charon HPA/3000 emulator by the end of February, if not before. It will be a custom project with plenty of consulting, but this will open the door to references and polishing for the broad-scope market of software-only emulators. If you're already looking at a new style of iron to move 3000 apps onto, unless you want to stick to simple and certain operations on used 3000s, there's little reason to cast an eye beyond an Intel processor. HP's been using the x86 Zeon family for a long while in ProLiants for Windows and Linux. The i7 Core PCs drive the HPA/3000 and MPE/iX. HP cannot emulate processors that drive HP-UX; you'll need Itanium for that. But at least there's virtualization still soaring for the HP Unix customer via Integrity blades.

Analysts say that if you don't plan to virtualize the majority of your servers by the end of 2012, you'll be in the minority. Some companies are being even more aggressive. In one study, 25 percent of IT managers say they'll virtualize 75 to 90 percent of servers during 2012. Consolidation, high availability, better disaster recovery, plus improved flexibility and agility are making people serious about virtualizing during the next year. What's more, there's no better way to give specialized hardware (like PA-RISC) the freedom that it deserves from vendor exits. Once HP drops new Itanium designs, it won't have the impact that ending support for MPE/iX did in 2001.

Decommissioning: Some HP 3000 hardware will get turned off during 2012, so the full-bore decommission is going to be commonplace -- but not numerous in its reach. By now, HP's gotten just about all the switchover business it can expect. Homesteaders of today will look in greater measures for a way to decommission data -- the tasks that drive a migration of an app or data off a 3000, even while the server remains an available asset in IT. That data decommission will drive you to find great Extract, Change, Transform and Load software with superior reporting. Or you'll look for the turnkey database transfer solution, like the one that Abtect, Quest Software and Taurus put together. Nobody was promising a lot of hardware shutdowns in that solution. Finding a reseller to accept a 3000 server that's 10-15 years old will involve pitching it as a spare parts resource.

Rising to the cloud: When a 3000's data is decommissioned, or the hardware becomes something that can be virtualized, offsite servers connected through secure networks will do the service far more often in 2012. That means that a homesteader can use cloud services to put an HPA/3000 server in place of in-house hardware. Or in some cases, a classic MRP or ERP system can be moved to something like the Kenandy Social MRP service from Cloud is another way to virtualize a server, regardless of the OS that must be supported. But in 2012, for the first time, there's a legitimate way to make that cloud server run MPE/iX, or the apps that have had their data moved off of old-school iron.

2011's Leading 3000 Stories: Even More

Yesterday we followed news tradition by pointing to the top stories for the 3000 community over the last year. Today we're adding to that list with a enough more topics to give you a baker's dozen, stories you will want to track and add to your research if you're concerned with anything related to the greatest business server: homesteading, migration away, or just the archival and inventory of enterprise computing assets.

Community needs upgrades to open source essentials: Open source software broke open the door of opportunity for the HP 3000 in the 1990s. The server gained file sharing (Samba) Web services (Apache) Internet abilities (DNS) and more, all though ports of open source solutions to MPE/iX. Some of that flurry of work hasn't been altered or updated much since then. A new public resource for free open source software packages went online this fall at It's a signal that the 3000 community's tech resources are still available, through the right portals. The needs for security software can be met with these kinds of solutions, too.

DSC_0804Reunion gives 3000 vets a loving linkup: Hosted in the apt setting of the Computer History Museum, the first HP3000 Reunion collected customers and veterans and friends of the 3000 from three continents during a weekend that included training, new product introduction and a community of old friends toasting their past and future. The three-day event was well-supported by a vendor and user group community that seems intent on repeating the Reunion.

Database alternatives advance beyond Oracle: With the world's largest database vendor declaring the HP enterprise hardware dead on its feet, Hewlett-Packard started telling its customers about Oracle alternatives like Mimer and EnterpriseDB. Meanwhile, the Eloquence database kept expanding its feature set while it continued to support both Itanium and x86 servers, ramping up to Linux popularity.

Robelle moves Suprtool into Window, Linux environments: When a bedrock IT management solution like Suprtool makes the jump from HP's Itanium and PA-RISC chips to the x86 support of Linux and Windows, it's a clear sign that enterprise solutions have started to embrace The Penguin for business needs.

Continue reading "2011's Leading 3000 Stories: Even More" »

What You Might've Missed: 2011's Biggest

News tradition calls for a yearly roundup this week, and we're the kind of resource that loves community tradition. Here's a few stories that made 2011 an important year for 3000 managers, migrators and more.

NewsIconEmulator taxis at Reunion for January take-off: We talked about it ever since the spring: the first and probably only software package that lets MPE/iX boot off Intel's hardware. HP couldn't even do that work while it was developing 3000s. The vendor skipped the migration of the 3000 to the Itanium Intel chips, and the x86 line wasn't even considered. It changes the lifespan of the 3000 from 2012 onward.

HP's Unix systems to get x86 transition path: Hewlett-Packard doesn't like to call the future of HP-UX a migration. But November's announcement that the best enterprise features of the OS will be migrated forward to Linux assured 3000 migrators they'd have a path to better performance, no matter what the future of the their Itanium-Integrity systems in 2016 and beyond. Not that anything like an end of life has been announced for HP-UX by HP, mind you. We're just saying, watch that space for what you might need to replace.

Customers taking support needs to independents: 2011 started the clock on indie-only support for about 98 percent of the 3000 market. There were still HP efforts to sign up some sites to contracts, but what we used to call third-party support became second-party service, now that HP won't establish new business for 3000 sites. What's available is cheaper and in many ways better than the caliber of 3000 support from HP. One consultant and support supplier said there are fewer than 12 people in HP who can still address a support question. Even if he's off by 100 percent, it's a number that's sparking uptake in non-HP service.

Continue reading "What You Might've Missed: 2011's Biggest" »

Decommissioning 3000 Application Data

MBFAWebLogoWhen companies decide their HP 3000 will not serve the same role as it has for many years, there's a decommissioning along that path. MB Foster's latest webinar took note of the two types of pulling a 3000's contribution offline. The most obvious one, and perhaps the hardest, is hardware decommissioning. Everything must be moved away by the time the plug gets pulled and a reseller or recycler is located.

But a preliminary decommissioning is a much more common occurance. It's also a step that doesn't signal the total shutdown of a 3000, although it can contribute to that. MB Foster calls this application data decommissioning. The company's UDA Central product can help. But that's information MB Foster only shared after a half-hour of discussing the issues everybody needs to be aware of, regardless of tools used.

Data decommissioning typically occurs when

• An application is being replaced – by a new application or an upgrade.
• Hardware or an application no longer has support
• When a OS vendor obsoletes a platform or chipset
• When an operating system has reached its usable lifecycle
• When a company has a change in status – being merged into or acquired, or an insolvency — and the application will no longer be used.

Continue reading "Decommissioning 3000 Application Data" »

Holiday Gifts and Promises for All

On Wednesday we took note of some of the first response we received concerning the Stromasys HPA/3000 emulator. One former OpenMPE volunteer said that a $25,000 emulator wouldn't serve his needs. Martin Gorfinkel said he doesn't have his Series 9x9 3000 turned on much anymore, and he'd like to have an archival replacement.

Cloud-computing-for-dummiesJ.P. Bergmans of Stromasys added his reply. "He is absolutely right," Bergmans said. "But I would say that almost whatever the price of the emulator and the equipment would be, a better answer to a need like this is a cloud-based HP 3000/MPE compatible service, billed on usage. This would be a far better solution, and we are indeed looking at that service model."

So we think of that as a present for the new year to come: a brand-new usage-based 3000 solution for our community. Maybe not so brand new, if you want to think of time-sharing of the 70s as the same idea, but certainly refined and turbo-charged for 40 years later.

Here at the NewsWire my co-founder Abby and I are taking the next three days off to celebrate Christmas; even the banks aren't open Monday. We count as our gifts for this year, and the ones to come, our faithful sponsors who make these reports possible: at present, Adager, MB Foster, Speedware, The Support Group, Pivital Solutions, Robelle, ScreenJet, Marxmeier Software, Hillary Software, Genisys, Applied Technologies and its web resource, and Taurus Software.  We'll see you all on Tuesday.

Making Resource Management Social

The Support Group is preparing its first app to fit into the new Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud. The company's founder Terry Floyd is convinced this cloud software solution, which can eliminate a lot of onsite IT, is capable of replacing traditional MRP/ERP applications written for HP 3000s over the last 30 years.

Kenandy CloudFloyd calls it Social MRP, built upon the application which is a cloud computing version of Kenandy is the company that is using to create a manufacturing cloud. Manufacturing has been noted as one of the toughest apps to put into the cloud. Social networking gives companies a reason to make the leap up there.

Kenandy's foundation includes a feature called Chatter. "Between forms and reports, I can use Chatter to follow a product on a big order," he said. From engineering, through purchasing and including the interaction with vendors, Chatter gives insights and control that email notifications cannot deliver.

Chatter looks like Facebook, only better, Floyd added. Chatter in Social MRP would connect 25,000-seat installation at companies as large as Dell and Google, but it also scales down for useful implementation in much smaller, 3000-sized enterprises.

Continue reading "Making Resource Management Social" »

Early Comments on Emulator's Pricing Plans

In the first few days after Stromasys rolled out its emulator strategy for 2012, the commentary has been sparse. You'd think it was a holiday week, and many people have stopped paying attention to anything but the threading traffic to the shops in time for this week's celebrations.

From our view, going for the kind of higher-dollar home run sale will net a lot more strikeouts in the first half. The technology is evolving, of course. In the longer term Stromasys looks to be taking a cue from Taurus-Quest-Abtech. They put together a software-hardware bundle for $25,000 that's a turnkey data migration solution. All based upon proven and existing technology Even at the lower end, however, $25,000 (or less) is a hefty number for the customer who remains on MPE.

HPA/3000 could be a successful product in our market space, given the right entry. Based upon what we've heard from CEO J.P. Bergmans, the company would rather not be supporting dozens of customers using a new product right away, rather than just a handful.

Martin Gorfinkel, whose 3000 experience includes service to OpenMPE, said the pricing of the product won't be of personal benefit to him. OpenMPE pushed for a emulator as its first mission. He took the software-only less-than-$25,000 figure very literally. "I have little or no need for extra power and capability, he wrote us. "I have no HP 3000 running most of the time. About once a month it would be handy to have access to programs and files in order to help with a support issue. $25,000 is far out of the range that would make sense."

The challenge presented to the 2012 emulator market lies in the available replacement hardware that still has an HP 3000 badge. One consultant said that a customer could get a multiple-processor A-Class system with Fiber Channel attached storage in a 7410 array for under $15,000. What's more, those HP-branded boxes are now finding ways to escape their processor shackles after an indie vendor installs them.

Continue reading "Early Comments on Emulator's Pricing Plans" »

Emulator Promise, 3000's Security, Invent3K

Print-ExclusiveConsultant, developer, and advocate for the HP 3000 and open source software Brian Edminster has combined those last two items into a new resource. is collecting public, free-use software that can improve 3000 health and longevity, a single porting contributor’s portfolio at a time. We interviewed Edminster for our latest printed issue of the NewsWire and talked about the promise of a 3000 emulator, OpenMPE’s Invent3k server, and the state of PCI security for the 3000.

What is your understanding of how the Stromasys emulator will help a 3000 site? What’s your hope?

It provides new iron that MPE/iX can run on, potentially long past the point when original peripherals are available. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the technology that the Stromasys emulator is built on will have ways of virtualizing disks too – so we won’t always be limited to processor hardware systems that support standard SCSI-2. Some of the newer SATA and iSCSI drives have remarkable performance.

Do you see the emulator as a solution for the migration-bound site, too?

It depends on how long their migration horizon is. If it’s long enough out, or if they’re having reliability issues with their current hardware configuration –- yes, most definitely. Something that few people consider is: What about data archives? Depending on regulatory requirements – it might be necessary to keep the application and it’s data available for review by auditing authorities for many years beyond migration.

For migrations that are really replacements rather than just re-hosting, it could well be much cheaper to keep a emulated instance of the application at time of conversion, rather than try to mothball a server — and hope it’ll come up okay later.

Continue reading "Emulator Promise, 3000's Security, Invent3K" »

Stromasys unveils emulator's price points


Colorizing the Future: In the chart above (click for details), the versions of the Charon HPA/3000 emulator are priced by color. The initial release of the virtualized server solution that puts MPE/iX on Intel chips will be sold as projects until mid-2012, with prices running between $25,000 and $100,000. A software-only version, sold without an Intel i7 Core PC, hits the market in July, priced below $25,000. N-Class sized emulators will be sold for more than $100,000.

Stromasys has unveiled a product pricing and rollout plan for its HPA/3000 emulator, a strategy that is designed to give the vendor a six-month period to polish the product by working closely with early adopters. These companies will be spending between $25,000 to $50,000 to create A-Class caliber servers with performance from two to 10 times that of a rock-bottom A400-100-110 server.

Hardware as well as installation services are included in these 3410, 3510 and 3520 models. By April, according to the released plan, one- and two-processor A500-class servers can be emulated using 8GB of RAM. The larger of these configurations will provide 10 times the performance of the two-CPU A500s on the market today. CEO Jean-Paul Bergmans of Stromasys said that the emulator is running with FiberChannel connectivity in the labs today, a key element in replacing the N-Class 3000s where FC is almost universally used.

Continue reading "Stromasys unveils emulator's price points" »

Opening Resources for a Long 3000 Future

EdminsterMug4BlogBrian Edminster makes an open secret of his sharing practices. The consultant, developer and advocate for the HP 3000 and open source software has combined those last two items into a new resource this fall. is amassing a collection of public, free-use software that can improve 3000 health and longevity, one porting contributor’s portfolio at a time. His first contact with a 3000 was in high school on a Series II, hacking over dialup using an HP2640A terminal. He started programming on a 3000 in 1978 for an HP Value Added Reseller, going on to work with a 3000 graphics software vendor, with MM II Customiser software, computer administering for the UPI news service, developing and managing an Amisys healthcare system, as well as jobs managing the HMS retail apps used in airports — plus diving outside the 3000 to rewrite and rehost to AIX, Informix, Windows Server, SQL Server, and Oracle.

It’s not common to find a 3000 pro of 33 years who still has the gusto that Edminster displays. He’s been a fulltime independent contractor and consultant for the last 10 years, operating Applied Technologies. Some of the work involves using open source tools to extend 3000 ability. He’s a proponent of the idea that HP 3000s can still pass PCI security audits. And he’s also sponsored OpenMPE with contributions, a very rare profile in the community. We emailed our questions to him after his website just got publishing permission from Lars Appel — an open source porting legend who moved Samba to MPE/iX, among other projects.

What prompted you to start a repository of open source software?

Well, at the risk of being flippant – because no one else was doing it. With the demise and only partial reviving of Jazz, much of the free content was dwindling. Yes, Chris Bartram’s site has some open source apps, and so do some others – but many of them cheated and only linked to the software on Jazz. So when Jazz went offline, so did availability of that software.

Also, focuses on just that: Open source software. I’m working to host software when I can get permission, and link to it (with backup copy kept) in other cases. I’ll host scripts and freeware (code that’s free but not open source), but that’s not the site’s primary focus.

I am still actively looking for contributions. If you haven’t talked to me yet, and you’d like to host software on my site — even if you have no intention of supporting it — drop me an email.

What would you say are the three most useful open source tools for a 3000 site doing its own administration?

One of my short-list projects for MPE-OpenSource is getting MPE/iX clients published for management systems like XYMon. I’m also playing with some Perl scripts that are designed to make managing disk space easier. “Which 3 tools” is not as important as just making sure that MPE/iX can play nice with whatever an enterprise is using to monitor/manage their other systems.

Continue reading "Opening Resources for a Long 3000 Future" »

Renovating Links for the 3000 Community

Hp3000linksLong before HP decided the 3000's future would be limited at that vendor, the computer had plenty of Web attention. Interex, HP, Client Systems' website -- all were delivering 3000 web resources right alongside the 3000 NewsWire web efforts.  All of these have gone dark by today. now belongs to an insurance firm in Germany, bounces to a vague "Computer Training" page that looks like a placeholder. Former magazine now lands in Japan without a trace of English on the page. HP's links to Jazz specialties have survived in part on the Client Systems and Speedware web enterprises. There are still holes remaining to fill in those resources, however.

Then there's, the one-stop webpage created, cultured and nurtured by John Dunlop. Filled with pop-up boxes and dozens of links, the site was a destination for the 3000 user in the 1990s, and then became one for those who wanted to bypass the slanted results of Google searches. New links appeared and a raft of 3000 vendors and suppliers had their own pull-down addresses. They still do, because hp3000links is still operational. It's just in need of renovation. Dunlop's done a tremendous job of hosting this and keeping it up for many years.

Along with IT consultant Olav Kappert, we've chosen to help spruce up and weed out The concept is still pretty sound: One Internet domain where a bookmark could help you locate that HP 3000 Relative Performance chart created by AICS, or the Perl Programming on MPE/iX slide set [thanks to Client Systems] from developer Mark Bixby. The former link is right where hp3000links says it should be. But those Perl slides have now slid to a newer HP address -- a PDF file of a master directory which tracks such 3000 resources [which you can download right now from our files, if you need it].

A Google search might do the trick to circumvent these shifty links, but why let Google know even more about your desires than it already does? Doesn't the 3000 still deserve its own landing page?

Continue reading "Renovating Links for the 3000 Community" »

Stealing or Scrapping Older HP 3000s

Owners of older HP 3000s have an end-of-life issue in front of them, sooner or later. Sometimes, as is the case at Cygnus Publishing, a 3000 is going offline to be replaced by a Windows server. What to do with the remaining hardware, usually so old that using it as a production box is not an option?

Subscriptions won't be processed any longer using the Datatrax app on the 3000 at Cygnus, said Eric Sedmak. He's been put in charge of moving the system out the door. The company is based in Wisconsin, and Sedmak wasn't sure which model was being turned off at the end of this month. We suggested contacting support providers in his area. Someone like Preferred Systems in Minnesota might pick up a box in neighboring Wisconsin for spare parts.

(MB Foster has developed a program and practices for decommissioning HP 3000s. The company held a webinar this afternoon on its practices. We'll have an article here soon on the advice that was given.)

Series70On the other hand, if you're collecting old HP 3000s, a Series 70 HP 3000 Classic is on eBay until next week. Refresh Computer in Orlando is trying to get takers for this "vintage and loaded" system. As 3000 vets know, this is a beast of a piece of iron, one that might be placed in a garage to aid in heating during the winter months. To be certain, HP engineered the 70 to survive such harsh conditions. Hey, it's got four 4MB RAM modules (probably LP-sized boards) for 16MB of main memory, plus it includes an HP 150 Touchscreen PC for a monitor. (That's Touchscreen, not TouchPad. The Touchscreen had a lifespan of at least three years of sales, instead of the TouchPad's three months.) the Touchscreen alone is a steal, since there's just as much vendor software coming for the 1980s PC as that TouchPad.)

We're not sure if you can call a Series 70 a holiday gag gift, since some support companies might want one of these to test against customers' systems. But as the first Series 70 we've seen on eBay, you might think of it as a steal.

Continue reading "Stealing or Scrapping Older HP 3000s" »

Emulator makers add tweaks in final tests

Stromasys has mailed a final thank-you to the band of field testers who've been probing the features of the HPA/3000 model of the Charon emulator. The software project that will ship with certified Intel PCs and HPSUSAN numbers on a USB stick is on target for a first release by January 15, according to Chief Technology Officer Robert Boers.

Although some earlier reports of floating point performance were not inspirational, the company now told its testers that the PCU acceleration is stable. Floating point deficiencies may not matter much to a 3000 community not used to relying on FP.

PA-RISC CPU acceleration is now stable enough to be included. In this first version it provides already more than twice the CPU performance of the original field test release. The acceleration method is similar to that of one of our Alpha emulator products (CHARON-AXP/SMA). It is a proven design, and we know that we now can further improve the performance for the individual PA-RISC instruction groups, if there is a need for that.

The developer says it will provide a final update to field testers "with some bug fixes and CPU accelerator improvements" before Jan. 15, Boers said. "As I announced last September, product shipment of the first CHARON-HPA/3xxx version will start shortly after. We plan to introduce two additional models within a few months." There's been no announcement of pricing for the product.

Continue reading "Emulator makers add tweaks in final tests" »

How a Database Keeps Apps from Stalling

Print-ExclusiveThis fall Michael Marxmeier put his continued 3000 support behind the first HP3000 Reunion, one of three gatherings he’s co-sponsored along with ScreenJet since the first in 2005, when Interex canceled HP World. The creator of the Eloquence database, he migrated the internals of IMAGE with a TurboIMAGE Compatibility Extension, while including expensive tools such as replication and high-powered indexing to Eloquence, a product priced for the budget-wary 3000 market. We wanted to check back eight years after we first introduced him in a Q&A to a market which didn’t know Eloquence well, but could already see value in migration to a solution which understood the HP 3000’s database.

Our first part of this year's Q&A addressed the changes in the Itanium market for databases, especially in light of the Oracle conflicts. We spoke to him via Skype on 11-11-11, the Friday before the 10th anniversary of HP’s pullout from the 3000 marketplace.

You’ve talked about an application stalling look like to an organization?

At some customer sites, they get through the migration. But after they’ve had all this effort to move, they don’t do anything more. The application is basically frozen at the point where the migration happened, rather than evolving. However, applications don’t exist in thin air; they’re there to fulfill a business need.  As the business requirements and technology are evolving, if the application is unchanged, its value is reduced over time. If you just let it stall, in a few years it’s not longer viable to run the business, you can’t change things easily anymore, people have retired — all the typical things you see as problems in a legacy environment. Although you’ve migrated, you’re forced to replace the application with something off the shelf. That’s got its own pain to endure as well.

Evolving and continuing to provide value to your company’s applications is important. Most businesses are not stalled, and the technology environment certainly hasn’t. For example, tablets are becoming extremely popular. So the questions come, “Can’t we just give tablets to some of our employees, or make it accessible from the outside?” It’s a difficult question, one that is the responsibility of the IT team to respond to — mobile needs like that. PCI is another change you need to react to, and there are more coming down the line.

You have to have somebody to think a bit ahead, and be aware of what’s the industry is moving to, and find a way of incrementally moving your platform – instead of replacing it, or waiting until there’s nothing else to be done.

Continue reading "How a Database Keeps Apps from Stalling" »

Database supports Itanium, Intel, Linux

Marxmeier MugMichael Marxmeier wants to make migrations more than an exit from using HP 3000s. His company has sold the closest replacement for the IMAGE/SQL database for more than 12 years, as Eloquence moved into software vendors like Summit Technologies when their apps shifted to HP-UX or Windows. HP was touting his product as the cleanest and most adept choice for migrations nearly 10 years, when the vendor first started to advise customers about tools to make your massive IT shift possible.

Marxmeier has been studying IMAGE a long time. When the product was called HP Eloquence – it’s now an independent solution – it was employed by HP 250 business users who were being ushered off their super-PC business systems, where IMAGE was their database and the hardware cards were the same as those on the 1980s 3000s. Eloquence was born of an HP transition similar to the one the 3000 community has begun. That small business machine had a customer community much like the 3000’s and Marxmeier wrote a work-alike system to help his company move its applications onto HP’s Unix systems.

You’ve been one the earliest advocates and developers on Itanium. Does its future in the market, especially in light of the Oracle conflict, or its ability to compete on a tech basis, worry you?

We are not worried at all. HP uses Itanium as a viable option for businesses, and it works just fine. We certainly will continue to support it for the future. Unlike Oracle, it’s easy for us to make a commitment to it. We didn’t find it hard to develop for Itanium or to support it. We even support some exotic implementations like Linux on Itanium.

Itanium certainly has its users, and it’s hard to tell if it will make it or not. However, this shouldn’t be a concern to the customer. But if they’d like to move to something else, the proven technology of Linux is readily available. About half of our customers are using Linux these days.

Continue reading "Database supports Itanium, Intel, Linux" »

Alas, Oracle, you've blown off HP's Unix

HP-UX sites which run Oracle have no idea if Oracle's 12G database, scheduled for next year, will run on their Integrity hardware. HP has said on its last two quarterly conference calls that the uncertainty about Oracle has driven down sales of the Business Critical Systems group.

This one risk that a vendor takes when it decides to partner closely with a third party, instead of the old-school model of including a vendor-built database like IMAGE. This isn't meant to slam any third party database maker, because there are some good ones out there. Even Oracle has lots of fans.

SpinnakerBut Oracle has used its database as way to sell its own Unix, Solaris. And now it appears there's saucy language about the man leading the sales charge for Solaris servers, Mark Hurd, inside Oracle's dramatic lawsuit language. We know, "dramatic lawsuit language" are not three words usually found together. But Oracle led by Ellison has always filled its sales with lots of breezy boasts. To the point, one stretch of the lawsuit against HP claims there are lies, and the truth, about Integrity servers.

The contrast between what HP was discussing internally — the truth — and what it was telling the market and its actual and prospective customers — blatant lies — could not be more stark.

It's not often you find marketing prose in a lawsuit, which might start hearings in April -- after HP has closed two more quarters. That will make a full year of Oracle pullout messages for HP's Unix customers.

HP says Oracle is contributing to the decline of HP's Unix line. HP's started to fall back on EnterpriseDB, which is extending its product line to include a new Postgres Plus Cloud Server. A webcast one week from today will include a demo -- but first, an outside analyst will explain the differences between cloud databases. The analyst is unlikely to compare lawsuit language between these warring vendors, both of whom are aiming to capture HP 3000 migration business. (And there's a more focused webcast for HP 3000 users one day earlier, on Dec.14 when MB Foster explains 3000 Decommissioning plans.)

Continue reading "Alas, Oracle, you've blown off HP's Unix" »

3000 emulator cost queried, speeding certain

HPABootupSept11Yes, that's the total footprint of the emulator, sitting between Craig Lalley and the flatscreen TV monitor showing bootup of the beta-test Charon HPA/3000 emulator. 2012's releases could use VMware to simplify that boot screen to look identical to a 3000's, but in less than a tenth of the time the PA-RISC 3000s take to start up.

By now the expected rollout date for the Stromasys emulator for the HP 3000 is less than four weeks away. But the vendor who's promised to release the 1.0 version of CHARON HPA/3000 in January hasn't released any pricing for the product -- the kind of information that can get in the way of early-adopter sales.

New products need early adopters to bring news to the rest of the market. It worked that way for the 3000 NewsWire when we launched the first newsletter for the community in 1995. Our early adopters for advertising and subscriptions were able to report how effective we could be in campaigns and information access.

While an impatient group of hard-core 3000 experts and customers awaits the pricing, the speeds of the software appear to be following a much more certain path. The magic element in boosting performance of this virtualized server comes in a Dynamic Instruction Translation module. We've heard it's being tuned to match the performance of an A-Class 3000 by first release. This is one of the reasons why the HPA/3000 is being sold as a hardware (PC) and software bundle: an i7 Intel processor is needed to deliver the speed that will make a suitable replacement for a Series 9x9 or earlier 3000. That's the heartland of the marketplace for this product: companies with older servers and not enough budget or desire to move away from the 3000.

What's a reasonable price for the first edition of a product that will only get faster? Every price in the history of this kind of software-hardware solution might be different, kind of a Built To Order (BTO) model. BTO reflects the diverse environments that remain in the MPE world. Everybody deserves a fine-tuned implementation as well as price. Many of the smallest of 3000 sites are in most immediate need of an extension to the MPE application lifespan. Since they clearly don't have budget or plans in place, pricing under $25,000 seems a better early fit than higher entry points. When you go beyond that price, a ProLiant and Linux start looking to be worth the pain of doing a lift-and-shift of existing MPE/iX code.

Continue reading "3000 emulator cost queried, speeding certain" »

HP news mortal, legal, financial this month

Hewlett-Packard may be picking itself up off the mat this quarter, but the immediate news from this supplier of an HP 3000 alternative hasn't been good, just one week into this month.

Dunn06Most immediately, interim HP chairwoman Patty Dunn has died of ovarian cancer, which she first contracted in 2004. The 58-year-old Dunn served as chairman of HP board during 2005, while the company was searching for a successor to Carly Fiorina, who the board had ousted earlier that year. According to the Wall Street Journal, a 4-page memo of "concerns" written by Dunn was instrumental in getting Fiorina sacked by the board. Dunn's time in the chairman's post ended her career at HP. After Congressional hearings where she had to testify in 2006 (above) Dunn was told to resign from the board over her role in the company's "pretexting" actions of '05: News emerged in 2006 about HP's hired and internal investigators trying to locate boardroom leaks to the media, using shams and misidentifying themselves to obtain phone records of directors and reporters. The pretexting sank down to family members of reporters, at its lowest point. (In a smack of irony, Dunn graduated with a journalism degree from U Cal Berkeley.)

HP paid a $14.5 million fine and Dunn faced criminal charges in the case that established a record of HP identity theft. The charges were later dismissed after Dunn refused to accept a plea bargain. With Dunn's resignation, Dick Hackborn was the only director left on HP's board from the pre-Compaq days. An excellent book on the sordid affair is The Big Lie: Spying, Scandal, and Ethical Collapse at Hewlett Packard, by Anthony Bianco, in which the "Dunn and Dusted" chapter is most informative. HP stated that "Pattie Dunn worked tirelessly for the good of HP. We are saddened by the news of her passing, and our thoughts go out to her family on their loss."

Not much further back in this month's timeline, HP felt it had to respond on Dec. 2 to a new counter-suit in its legal battle with Oracle. The maker of the databases which are used in more HP Unix systems than any other is now charging HP with "seven counts, including charges of fraud, defamation, intentional interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, as well as violation of the Lanham Act and two violations of the California Business and Professional Code," according to an article on the website The Register. There's no peaceful settlement in sight between the two tech titans, which is probably why HP has started to recommend DBEnterprise as an Oracle replacement for its HP-UX customers, and Mimer for the OpenVMS sites.

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Two Dev Editors for One Classic Platform

Brian-EdminsterAs we created our November print issue of the 3000 NewsWire, one of the Q&A subjects, Brian Edminster, gave us a photo of himself in front of a pair of monitors. Each had a different development editor: Robelle's Qedit for Windows, which hardly needs any introduction to 3000 users, who've deployed Qedit since the 1980s and continue to support it in its Windows incarnation; and Programmer Studio -- which, alas, saw its creators Whisper Technology go dark several years ago.

Edminster, who's stocking the HP 3000's community's open source repository, told us he likes both tools, enough to have a paid license for each. (Programmer's Studio had a free trial option that created a lot of shadow customers.) Using his HP 3000 terminal emulator from WRQ, Edminster notes

I've got two Reflection windows open to sessions on different systems on the left monitor, and Programmer Studio on the right (yes, it's kinda like MPE/iX -- no longer maintained, but it works just fine), and about a dozen other apps either web-based or other. I can't even imagine working on a traditional 'green-screen' to do programming anymore. There are good features of both -- but Qedit for Windows is more like a stand-alone editor that uses the Windows GUI. Each has its strengths.

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HP Connects users on power and cloud

By Terry Floyd
The Support Group

The HP Connect users group sponsored a luncheon seminar meeting in Austin a few weeks ago, with two diverse speakers and topics. Kristi Browder, Executive Director and COO of Connect, lead the meeting and introduced the speakers.

Print-ExclusiveClyde Poole, of TDi Technologies, talked about “What you Should Know Before Moving to the Cloud.” It was not a sales pitch for his Plano-based company; rather, the presentation was a generic and informative speech. Clyde spoke from years of data center experience as he covered the “gotcha’s” of cloud computing. He discussed three or four definitions of “the cloud” and gave examples of each (SalesForce, Amazon, etc.). It was a speech intended to urge caution when moving data to the cloud, covering legal and security issues and their inherent risk exposures.

Clyde’s best tip was to visit, a site where the CSA describes issues concerning cloud deployment. There you learn where Clyde got some of his ideas about the major Service Models: SaaS (Software), PaaS (Platform), and IaaS (Infrastructure). On that site is also a great piece on Public vs. Private clouds (and Hybrids) and about required characteristics of clouds, such as Resource Pooling, Broad Network Access, Rapid Elasticity, Self-Service provisioning, and what Measured Services means.

David Chetham-Strode, an HP’er of 15 years, spoke on “Power and Cooling”, introducing innovations the invent brand has introduced in the last year or two. He spoke about new power distribution products that have come out of HP’s own data center projects. David spent a lot of time discussing power loss and what Hewlett Packard has done to increase efficiencies from 90 percent to as much as 98 percent, big savings in electricity in big data centers. He revealed secrets of air flow and “cooling from within the row of servers” instead of from above or below.

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HP starts to suggest an Oracle alternative

It's come to this: Unix managers who are wondering, like Rosen Marudov inside HP's support operation, what's going to replace Oracle on HP-UX are getting an answer. And the reply is not, "hold onto your hat for a friendly outcome of that lawsuit against Oracle." Marudov noted on the LinkedIn HP-UX Users forum, "There should be a program for replacing the Oracle products running on HP-UX. I cannot see any efforts in that direction."

ShawpresentationSteve Shaw, HP Canada's Chief Technologist, suggests, "There are many alternatives, yet one that is relatively minimal risk is to use EnterpriseDB. It has the benefits of open-source (uses Postgres) with an Oracle compatibility layer, so it is a straight replacement. It's not for every situation, but where you have custom code and are only using the Oracle database, this is a great way to drive down costs while maintaining your Integrity/HP-UX/application environment. Check it out at" More than six years ago, there's Shaw (above) depicted at a user group presentation talking about "HP's corporate strategy for hardware and operating environments including roadmaps and capabilities."

There are other ways to go to replace Oracle in a strategy. Michael Marxmeier told us last month that customers once bought his Eloquence database as a stepping stone to Oracle. There's not much stepping going on anymore. But if an HP Unix customer is trying to move an Oracle-centric homegrown application, HP believes there are still databases to that can step in. The real work in such a plan shows up when HP-UX sites have home-grown code -- the very kind of programs the sites did a "lift-and-shift" operation upon to get away from their HP 3000s.

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