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January 2021

For your older 3000: JBOD, RAID enclosures

From our archives of 2003, a report on devices to house and attach storage to a 3000. These arrays are still in the wild, available from resellers. And they're quite a bit less expensive than nearly $55,000.

HP brings new RAID array, JBOD enclosure online

HP 3000 to get access to systems using Ultra320 disks

HP 3000 customers looking for RAID disk storage and newer enclosures for Just a Bunch of Disk (JBOD) configurations have two new products to consider. HP is introducing an upgraded VA7110 virtual array for the HP 3000, a 45-disk configuration, up from the 15-disk 7100 arrays. Like its 7100 predecessor, the 7110 supports RAID 1+0 and RAID 5DP (double parity).

HP’s 3000 hardware manager Kriss Rant said the device leverages performance improvements from HP’s VA7410 virtual array into a lower-cost unit, at a price point “which is the sweet spot of the older 7100 arrays, the low-end of the midrange,” according to Rant.

Pricing before discounts shows the VA7110 coming in at slightly higher prices than the 7100, $54,984 for a 7110 with four 36Gb disks and a 512Mb cache, versus $48,354 for the same configuration in a 7100. Prices drop slightly per Mb of storage when comparing the 7100 fully loaded versus a 15-disk 7110.

The 7110 operates with both MPE/iX 7.0 and 7.5, using an SCSI to Fiber Channel router on 7.0 and native Fiber Channel in 7.5 implementations. The new array supports the 146Gb 10,000 RPM drives from HP, and the vendor says in some cases this array can double the performance of the 7100. The total capacity of the 7110 can run as high as 6 terabytes, and the unit accepts 15,000 RPM drives of 36Gb and 73Gb, and 10,000 RPM drives of 36Gb and 73Gb, in addition to those 146Gb drives.

HP 3000 JBOD choices will be expanding to the DS2110. It’s a fully compatible replacement for the DS2100, the current JBOD enclosure supported under MPE/iX. The older 2100 is coming off the HP price list on July 15. While the 2110 supports the newer Ultra320 SCSI disk mechanisms, those drives are also limited to the 80Mb/second support constraints of MPE/iX. But the device will let HP 3000 customers use a wide range of disk devices from HP, including HP’s Ultra160 SCSI disks.

The 2110 supports mixed disk capacities, and HP 3000 sites can load it up with as much as 584 Gb of capacity in a 1U enclosure. It can be used with a PCI disk array controller as a low-cost RAID solution.

HP’s introducing the DS2110 to ensure a steady stream of disk mechanisms for the enclosures, since it’s discontinuing its Ultra160 disks. The newer Ultra320 disks can negotiate down to Ultra160 IO cards.

While HP 3000 customers can’t use more than 80Mb/second of this bandwidth today, Rant said the project to upgrade MPE/iX drivers to accept all of the Ultra320’s 320Mb/second of bandwidth “hasn’t dropped off the engineering prioritization list yet.”


The HP 3000 was never a PC

Time warp tunnel
The HP 3000 has been misunderstood and unconsidered for much of its lifetime. The confusion has been deliberate sometimes, and just awkward at others. The latest miscue is a replay of bad information from a reputable news source, USA Today. It might come as a surprise that a vaunted national newspaper would care about a computer first sold in the 1970s. As it turns out, that start of sales was at the heart of the 3000's mention.

This computer was never a PC, as stated in the article Common Myths About Industrial Automation, Debunked. In 1972, hardly anything was for sale as a personal computer. The 3000, of course, is a minicomputer and didn't emerge for sale until 1974.

Common Myths About Industrial Automation, Debunked  

It might not be as dramatic to call a $571,000 system a minicomputer or a business server. Just about any useful business computer of the 1970s was a five-figure investment in those early days. Not so for PCs.

The fantasy from USA Today was compounded in IOT for All, a tech advisory website about the Internet of Things. "When technologies first hit the market, people pay a premium. Think of the personal computer. The first small(ish) business PC from Hewlett-Packard, the HP 3000, cost an inflation-adjusted price of $571,791 in 1972."

IOT went on to say, "Luckily, automation has moved on from the super-new, ultra-expensive technology bracket and into the mainstream. It’s much more affordable to install automation equipment in a factory today. Companies will see ROI much faster than in years past through a combination of better, more refined technology and very reasonable price tags. The benefits are cyclical—automation lowers the price of goods while it increases labor productivity.

And from USA Today, here's the source of the mistaken identity of the 3000.

What was the price of a computer sold the year you were born?

1972

• Notable computer: HP 3000

• Price tag: $95,000

• Inflation adjusted price: $571,791

USA Today went on to say, "Hewlett-Packard's 3000 was the company's first foray into smaller business computers. The original 3000 was generally considered a failure, but the company would go on to make 20 different versions of the 3000 through 1993."

And there's where the truth settles in: The 3000 was a failure in its first release, so much so that the vendor offered 2116 servers (the ancestor of the 3000) as a replacement for the few that were shipped into the wild. Of course, HP offered business computers smaller than IBM, but the 3000 was the biggest business computer the company had ever created.