The HP e3000: HP Adds a “little e” to Its HP 3000

E's not all that's new with the 3000. Check out the debut of Bill Pike's bimonthly column of industry news, regarding the HP e3000 series.

By way of introduction, I am Bill Pike. I have been writing on IT for well over 15 years and enjoy covering stories that share how technology provides solutions for business challenges. I look forward this year to joining the HP Professional technical editorial team and delivering a bimonthly column of industry news regarding the HP 3000 series.

I believe that one of the best ways we can learn about technology is from articles that are built around someone’s actual experience. If you and your company are doing innovative things with your HP 3000, or you recently confronted and resolved a set of troubling business issues using the HP 3000, I’d like to share your experience with HP Pro readers. Please e-mail me so we can get acquainted – and put your story in print! With regard to this column, I welcome your comments and article ideas. If you see something you really like (or not) in my column, please drop me a line at pikecom@earthlink.net.

It was a call out of the blue that stirred my curiosity one late January morning. Just prior to the official announcement, I was invited to sit in on a press conference where I listened to HP contacts Christine Martino, Worldwide Marketing Manager, Commercial Systems Division; Winston Prather, General Manager of HP’s Commercial Systems Division; and Alvina Nishimoto, R&D Program Manager; share an early version of the newly refreshed HP 3000. I soon found out that the information was "e-news" worthy. Speaking of "e," do you know of anyone who is in business and not aware of how the Internet is affecting nearly every form of commerce?

The ubiquitous Internet and the business opportunities it promises have a compelling effect on nearly every modern computing platform in dozens of different ways, and the HP 3000 machines are no exception. To start with, I learned from my HP contacts that the venerable product line has gone through a rather rigorous technical overhaul. It comes at a great time with e-business applications and dotcom enterprises becoming increasingly dominant in the marketplace and on Wall Street.

The HP 3000 is currently the workhorse in a variety of business environments, including manufacturing, banking and healthcare, as well as the highly competitive e-retail segment. "Today’s announcement," Martino began, "marks an important transition of the HP 3000 into a true Internet platform. The transition allows the platform to meet the rapid trend and resulting demand for conducting e-business. The new HP e3000 delivers mission-critical computing for the Internet-enabled enterprise."

Martino handed me a sheet of paper which contained the headline, "What’s New Today?" Under the title, the paper listed five key points that summed up the HP e3000 news. The points read:

• Up to 44 percent better price/performance

• Enhanced MPE/iX operating system with bundled Web-enabling technologies

• New partners

• New data center management and storage products

• New printers

Web-enabling technologies caught my eye right away and so I asked for some additional specifics. Alvina Nishimoto responded, "HP has assembled a large number of application development, middleware and enterprise management tools. For example, Speedware Autobahn (a software product) allows customers to Web enable their applications. In middleware, Level 8 Systems recently extended its Geneva message Queuing Services," Nishimoto said.

According to Nishimoto, Level 8 Systems’ Geneva Message Queuing middleware software allows application developers to easily convert HP e3000 business applications to Web-based applications to support an e-services model. HP and Level 8 have jointly announced a plan to co-market Geneva Message Queuing to HP e3000 customers.

"We see the Level 8 product as a strong offering for HP e3000 customers looking to deliver e-services," said Winston Prather. "Geneva Message Queuing provides a simple, reliable way to connect existing HP e3000 applications to the Web."

Level 8 is one of a growing number of HP business partners that is included on a detailed list of HP e3000 application/solution providers. The list can be found on the HP Web site at www.hp.com/go/3000partners.

Consultants can provide a number of services to help customers prepare the HP e3000 to be Web-enabled. The consulting firms were partnered because of their extensive HP 3000 knowledge as well as their ability to rapidly develop and grow a number of vital, bulletproof Web capabilities.

The MPE/iX operating system has been a very stable and reliable performer. The announcement mentions Release 6.5. This release supports technologies essential for e-commerce and e-business. Security naturally becomes a very important part of the equation. I learned that the Secure Edition of the MPE/iX Web Server, based on Apache Web Server software, is not included in the 6.5 release. It is available for purchase. However, I confirmed that the standard edition of Apache Web server is included in this release.

Java 2 (Release 1.2.2) is also included in the 6.5 release and features the Java Database Connectivity Driver. The latest Java release includes:

• A number of security enhancements, including new APIs and tools, provide a more fine-grained access control with greater flexibility in implementing security through policies and permissions

• The Collections Framework provides capabilities of modeling many different data representations, such as Sets, Lists, Hashes and Maps

• The Extensions Framework supports dynamic extension of Java capabilities by installing Jar files

• Enhancements to the JavaBeans component architecture

• Enhancements to Remote Method Invocation and Serialization

• Better interoperability with CORBA through Java IDL and RMI over IIOP

Editor’s Note: For more on the HP e3000 announcement check out Editor at Large, Jean Nattkemper’s Special Report at www.hppro.com.