Making A "MIS-Match"

You can't talk about computer hardware without mentioning operating systems. The two ­ like an oil and vinegar emulsion ­ are inextricably linked. In the case of HP 9000 servers, that's HP-UX. First released in 1986, HP-UX is now in its 64-bit and eleventh version. And HP-UX is the heir apparent to MVS in the data center ­ if you believe in HP's long-term vision.

Because HP-UX 11.0 does away with the 4GB memory addressing constraint of 32-bitoperating systems, the OS supports additional as well as larger applications and datasets; thereby reducing disk (cache) swapping. "You're only limited by the amount ofphysical RAM in your system," says John Verrochi, HP-UX product manager. For example,a 32-way V2500 (using PA-8500 CPUs) with HP-UX 11.0 recorded the industry's bestsingle-system performance -- 92,832 tpmC -- and price/performance results -- $87/tpmC.

Other advantages of the larger addressing space for users of HP-UX 11.0 include anative 64-bit version of SAP R/3. Recently announced at SAPPHIRE '99 (Nice, France), theSAP user group conference, SAP's 64-bit R/3, combined with HP-UX 11.0, will support alarger number of SAP users. Consequently, enterprises are no longer required to spreadtheir R/3 system across a large number of servers in order to meet performancerequirements. For example, Braun AG (Kronberg, Germany), a Gillette Company subsidiary,reported that after implementing a pilot of the 64-bit R/3-HP-UX 11.0 solution, users arenow able to simultaneously process four batches of data (an improvement of 100%) in 32-bitmode. Overall, SAP transactions increased by 30%.


Similarly, SAS Institute (Cary, N.C.) also recently announced -- available only onHP-UX 11.0 -- the first 64-bit SAS Scalable Performance Data (SPD) Server (itshigh-performance data store). IT managers responsible for ERP installations should takenote that there are also 64-bit HP-UX- compatible versions of Informix, Oracle and Sybasedatabases. According to Verrochi, HP-UX is also the choice of seven of the nine topcommercial ISVs. For example, i2 Technologies, he notes, was the first non-database ISV todevelop a 64-bit application of its supply chain software.

Verrochi says that HP-UX 11.0 arrived about six months and a year before 64-bitversions of IBM's AIX and Sun's Solaris 7 respectively. Consequently, he claims that"has allowed HP-UX to attract a large portfolio of applications of ISVs who haverevved their application software to take advantage of HP-UX 11.0." Extension Packs,pushed out to HP customers with support contracts, have added new functionality to 11.0about every two to four months, he says.

While HP-UX 11.0 (which actually began shipping in November 1997) comes in 32- and64-bit versions, at this writing, HP's installed base is predominantly running HP-UX 10.2.First introduced in August 1996, HP-UX 10.2, is the previous (32-bit only) release ofHP-UX. "Up until 11.0, we've been gradually providing 64-bit functionality in ourHP-UX 10.x releases," says Verrochi. For instance, HP-UX 10.2 was the first versionof HP-UX to support the 64-bit PA-8000 CPU.

However, the META Group observes that HP's newly introduced N-class systems (like theV-class) require the 64-bit version of HP-UX 11, "which many users have not yetadopted and may not in the latter part of 1999 due to Y2K lockdowns." Verrochi admitsthat new system orders (primarily the V-class) have been driving the adoption of HP-UX11.0, but he now sees a wider adoption "spanning D- and K-class servers" as wellas the A- and R-class servers (designed for ISPs). Customers with support contracts canreceive HP-UX 11.0 at no extra charge. And Verrochi says that recently, between 25,000 and30,000 HP-UX 11.0 licenses have been requested.


Because of different file systems between HP-UX 9.x to 10.x, Verrochi acknowledges a"slight bump" in that upgrade. Customers, he says, "told us that thetransition could have been a little smoother." But he quickly adds, from 10.x. to11.0, "we absolutely maintained binary compatibility [for applications]."

IT managers who don't already know, should be aware that HP-UX 9.x cannot be made Y2Kcompliant. Hence, most HP customers have jumped on the 10.x bandwagon, for which there areavailable Y2K patches (downloadable from And if onlyfor the reason of Y2K readiness, movement to HP-UX 11.0 (which also requires patches forY2K compliance) is now underway, although as of April 1999, "there are more 10.x appsthan 11.0 apps," says Verrochi. According to HP figures, there are 15,000applications written for HP-UX.

As "the mainframe alternative of choice," HP-UX development has necessarilyfocused on reducing downtime; or in IT vernacular, making HP 9000 systems highlyavailable. In that regard, HP has been touting its HP-UX-based MC/ServiceGuard clusteringtechnology solution as well as the 5nines:5minutes (99.999% of uptime equals only fiveminutes of yearly downtime) program (with partners EMC, Cisco Systems and Oracle). ITmanagers should note that the goal of 5nines:5minutes is to extend availability up throughthe hardware and OS to the applications.

Other examples of HA capabilities within HP-UX that maximize system uptime includeDynamically Loadable Kernel Modules (DLKMs) that allows the HP-UX kernel to be modified onthe fly without requiring a reboot. And Dynamic Memory Resilience (DMR), which, explainsVerrochi, continuously checks the physical RAM for parity errors and, "if itencounters any [errors], it de-allocates those memory pages away from further execution byapplications. The key benefit is process execution protection and avoidance of datacorruption."


Verrochi notes that DLKM technology will be extended into something called OnlineAddition And Replacement and applied later this year to the N-class for the onlineaddition and replacement of I/O ­ or input output drivers ­ to disk. In the first halfof Year 2000, HP-UX will extend that to the online addition and replacement of the RAM andCPU. "We will have hot-swapping hardware, consisting of CPU and RAM (or 'cell'),which will be replaceable without having to take the system down." Also on tap forHP-UX says Verrochi, is dynamic processor de-allocation. Similar to DMR, HP-UX will senseand inactivate failing CPUs (within an SMP system) and route activity to other up andrunning CPUs.

Other important features of HP-UX include System Administration Manager (SAM), SoftwareDistributor and Ignite/UX, which provides for a "golden" single image ofmultiple servers. Ignite/UX is now being bundled with HP's N-class servers (see featurestory on page 30); as is WebQoS, HP's software for prioritizing, optimizing andstabilizing Web Server resources.

Although HP has been criticized for missing Internet opportunities, HP-UX 11.0 isbundled with the following: Netscape FastTrack Server, Oracle Web Application Server andJava Virtual Machine, Just-in-time compiler for Java and Java Software Development Kit.And HP-UX will figure prominently in HP's E-services vision.

"Because E-services requires sophisticated and complex system managementcapabilities, we will continue to incorporate greater functionality on the systemsmanageability front," says Verrochi.


10.0 July 1995

  • SMP performance
  • MP networking
  • Single Series 700-800 kernel source tree with converged features
  • MP-safe Series 700 features
  • I/O system infrastructure rewritten into generic and frameworkspecific portions
  • Disk sorting and request merging reworked for better performance and safety
  • SMP tuning, up to 12-way
  • JFS, Online JFS
  • C2 Security
  • Software Distributor
  • SAM
  • Memory page de-allocation

10.10 February 1996

  • UNIX 95-branded
  • CDE compliance
  • Large file system: up to 128GB
  • Large memory: 3.75GB
  • 60,000 file descriptors
  • NFS diskless

10.20 August 1996

  • Large local files to 128GB
  • Distributed Print Service
  • PA-8000 performance tuning
  • Enhanced internet capabilities

10.30 August 1997

  • Kernal threads

11.00 November 1997

  • Support for 32-bit and 64-bit applications and platforms
  • 4TB very large memory support

11.0 Extensions (to date)