As Hewlett-Packard prepares its customers for the end of nearly 30
years of e3000 computing, the company affirmed last week that it
remains on previously announced schedules to stop production of the
venerable systems by the end of this year and eventually end support
of the product in the coming years while hoping to ease customers into
other HP platforms during the transition.
Three years from drawing the final curtain on its venerable e3000 platform, Hewlett Packard says it’s on track to phase the system out, and has announced storage upgrades, software patches, and HP-UX purchase incentives meant to keep its customers happy, and in the HP fold.
HP’s e3000 Software Product Manager Michael Schneck briefed
reporters last week on the phaseout plan for the e3000, a high-end,
PA-RISC-based server running HP’s proprietary MPE/iX operating system,
saying the company doesn’t want the product to “go out with a thud.”
HP announced the phaseout in November of 2001.
The company’s plans for the phaseout include a halt to sales of new
hardware this year, patch releases of MPE/iX, and a software discount
promotion to assist e3000 customers in the transition to HP-UX, the
company’s UNIX operating environment. The company is also making a
final series of storage releases meant to ease the hardware platform
into retirement. The announcements come in the face of obvious efforts by rivals like Sun to draw customers preparing for the e3000’s end-of-life away from HP altogether.
Server and Chassis Upgrade Sales End This Year
to Schneck, the company will stop selling server and chassis upgrades
to the platform October 31 of this year. Upgrades to processors,
add-ons (such as embedded disks, I/O and network cards, and memory)
for the PCI-based A/N-Class systems will continue to be available
through October of next year. For the Series 9xx e3000s, user license
ugprades, add-on software and application conversion kits to assist in
the transition to HPUX will be available through December of 2006.
New Storage Products Available
HP’s e3000 Hardware and Storage Product Manager, Kriss Rant
discussed new storage options for the platform, including new 73GB 15k
rpm and 146GB 10k rpm embedded disk drives for the A-class e3000 and
new 36GB and 73GB 15k rpm drives for the N-class systems. The new
drives became available March 1 of this year.
Rant also discussed the company’s new VA 7110, a virtual array
enclosure meant to replace the VA 7100. According to Rant, the new
enclosures offer support for up to 45 disks (as opposed to the VA
7100’s 15) and also support the new 146GB disks the company has
released. According to Rant, the new enclosure is “priced right at
the sweet spot of the 7100” for an enclosure with 13 disks.
Finally, Rant discussed the DS2110 SCSI JBOD enclosure, which
replaces the company’s DS2100. Rant said the new enclosure, scheduled
for release April 15 of this year, supports both new Ultra320
and existing Ultra160 SCSI mechanisms.
Software Discounts Aimed To Keep Customers in the HP Fold
In addition to the roadmap for a hardware phaseout and improvements to
storage options in the platform’s twilight, HP also has a mix of
software updates and incentives on the agenda for the next year.
Recent releases of MPE/iX included a July, 2002 release of version
7.5, and the release of PowerPatch 2 for MPE/iX Release 7.0. Still
expected this year is MPE/iX Release 7.5 PowerPatch1. According to
Schneck, the anticipated release “is more of a bugfix-type patch
release. [It] symbolizes stabilization and working the bugs out.”
Schneck said the release is due ahead of HP’s November 2001
The company is also targeting e3000 customers considering their next
platform move by offering discounts on its UNIX variant, HP-UX.
According to Schneck, HP has offered e3000 customers a 50% discount against
the list price of its Enterprise and Mission Critical OE’s for
PA-RISC since March 1. Additional products including compilers and
performance tools are also part of the discount program.
HP representatives have claimed that 95% of the company’s e3000 partners have committed to transitioning to HP-UX.
Beyond the End of Support
Schneck said the company is aware that customers will likely
continue to use the platform past its December 31, 2006 end-of-support
date. To that end, he said HP will “allow access to existing patches,
key docuementation and some . . . technical content.” At this point,
he said, the company hasn’t finalized plans for distribution of that
material. He also said the company intends to remove barriers to the
creation of platform emulators by third party developers, though he
couldn’t comment on the nature of HP’s “fairly immature” plans in that
area except to say the company will make the process “as simple as we
Schneck also pointed out that the company is maintaing a Web site at
includes Webcasts, information about regional transition/migration
planning teams, and access to the company’s customer newsletter.