The HP e3000: Enterprise Server or Back-End Processor?

Those familiar with the HP e3000 envision it in its historical role – as a rock-solid, heavy-duty OLTP workhorse. In many shops, the e3000 still fulfills the role of a back-end server, connecting to other platforms in a heterogeneous environment. There’s more to the story, though.

The Internet was unheard of when the HP e3000 first shipped. Today, the e3000 is an Internet-enabled e-commerce platform.

That doesn’t mean you’ll see the e3000 running some of today’s blockbuster ERP applications. The applications it does run, though, have been highly tuned for the system, and some of them move it right into the e-commerce world. Take, for example, Smith-Gardner’s Ecometry, an e-business application suite that offers front-end customer relationship management applications integrated with back-office e-fulfillment capabilities. Ecometry running on the HP e3000 is moving order catalog businesses to the Internet.

As a matter of fact, the HP e3000 shines in vertical markets. Think of credit union applications from SUMMIT Information Systems or healthcare applications from HBOC that are tuned for the e3000. The e3000 has performed so successfully in these markets that we are targeting additional verticals.

Then there are apps-on-tap. Here the e3000 not only serves vertical markets, but is delivering e-services. CSY virtually pioneered the apps-on-tap model at HP by running the OpenSkies airline passenger reservation systems on e3000s located in HP data centers – at a transaction-based fee that amounts to just cents per use. Telenomics and HP followed up on that by delivering Telenomics’ PWARE telephone management software on an apps-on-tap basis, as well.

The HP e3000 has come a long way. The Web didn’t exist when the first HP e3000 rolled off the line. Now, with the release of MPE/iX 6.5 and the bundling of the Apache software, the e3000 can act as a Web server. The Secure Edition of Apache, the first in our Webwise suite of technologies and products for the e3000, features full RSA encryption and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), giving it Internet-strength security. Users can build intranets and extranets, as well as run e-commerce applications right on the HP e3000.

Whether the e3000 is a back-end OLTP processor or a front-end server running Internet applications the ability to operate across platforms is essential. That’s why we offer message-oriented middleware (MOM) to allow the e3000 to access different computing platforms and networks. MOM solutions for the e3000 include Level 8’s Geneva Message Queueing, which allows Windows to interact with other applications, Willow Technologies’ IBM MQ Series and premier Software’s Active Web.

The e3000 also offers industry-standard database connectivity. The HP Driver for JDBC (Java Data Base Connectivity) facilitates development of Java applications and applets, while the ODBC (Open Data Base Connectivity) API enables connectivity between Windows applications and IMAGE databases.

We’ve also simplified the learning curve for new MPE operators and managers. Today, e3000 users can point-and-click their way around the system using full GUI management tools, such as GUI3000 from OmniSolutions or Starman from Bradmark; database management tools, such as Robelle’s Supertool; and integrated development environments, like Whisper Technologies’ Programmer Studio. Users can also move VPLUS legacy applications forward with full GUI support using new technologies, such as Millware Corporation’s ScreenJet product or VPLUS+ from Advanced Network Systems.

This spring, we renamed the 3000, adding the "e" to emphasize that the e3000 is, as I said at the time, "a true Internet platform." Any way you look at it – back-end OLTP processor or front-end server – the HP e3000 is Internet-ready, in terms of its Internet-enabling technologies and its ability to communicate with different platforms and different databases.

– Winston Prather, General Manager, HP’s Commercial Systems Division (CSY)