6 August 2002 Users of Hewlett-Packard’s legacy server platforms have been told not to panic by analysts, as HP moves forward with plans to shift away from its proprietary chip architectures and consolidate users on three main operating systems.
“There’s no need to jump ship now, because HP will continue to support the platforms for some time to come,” Gartner vice president Andy Butler told Infoconomy.
However, some users will need to start contingency planning earlier than others — primarily users of HP 3000 mid-range servers, which run the MPE operating system. HP plans to stop selling the machines from November 2003, with support ceasing at the end of 2006.
During the next year, users will need to consider migrating to the HP 9000 Unix server, based on the PA-RISC microprocessor and running HP-UX, or risk being left with obsolete unsupported systems.
Although HP has offered to help users in the migration process by providing loan machines, some resellers of IBM’s rival mid-range AS/400 server have reported increased interest from HP 3000 users looking to migrate to similar machines instead of HP-UX.
Indeed, if HP 3000 users do migrate to the HP 9000, they will be faced with a second migration within about two years from PA-RISC-based machines to Itanium-based machines. However, that shift should be less fraught.
Users of servers running OpenVMS on the Alpha microprocessor should also be wary, but ought to be protected for more than a decade because of the use of OpenVMS in the American military. Under Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment (DIICOE) regulations, HP is obligated to support OpenVMS for at least 15 years.
But users should also consider some of the “generous” incentives that HP is offering to persuade them to shift, believes Giga Group analyst Richard Fichera. “The outlook is for feature enhancements for at least three years and, at a minimum, a 10-plus year usable life for OpenVMS,” says Fichera.
This month’s Information Age features an analysis on the migration issues facing HP users. For a free subscription to Information Age, please click here.