Newest MPE/iX release speeds
Version 7.5 adds Fibre Channel support, Secure Web Server
Fulfilling one of HPs older promises, Version
7.5 of MPE/iX shipped this month enabling Fibre Channel connections
for HP 3000 peripherals, as well as freeing a secure Web server and
expanding storage and database limits. The software is billed as the
last mainline release HP will create for the computer.
Fibre Channel just made it under the wire. Promised
for delivery in 1999, the HP 3000s support of Fibre Channel was
first deferred in favor of MPE/iX Y2K repairs and then the addition
of PCI bus engineering. With the 7.5 release, the technology is
finally available for Series 9x9 and 99x owners. The Fibre Channel
card will list price at $2,240.
The features in 7.5 make good on promises, according
to SIG-MPE chairman John Burke. All these items were requested
by the customer base, so it is good to see there are still some
technical people working on MPE/iX, he said.
The native support of Fibre Channel increases IO
transfer rates to 2 gigabits per second. But the most tangible
enhancement from Fibre Channel could well be the support for a
broader range of peripherals, especially Storage Area Network disks
and arrays like HPs VA7100 and the SureStore XP line. The two
newest XP array models, the 128 and 1024, will be offered only as
Fibre Channel devices on the 3000.
HPs MPE product release manager Mike Schneck
said the native support delivers an asset that HP 3000 users have
learned to count on: simplicity. An SCSI-to-Fibre router was required
with all prior MPE/iX releases. 7.5 eliminates the need for the extra
It simplifies your network, Schneck said.
You had an additional complication point with the routers, and
you were ultimately at the SCSI bandwidth limitations.
HP is also bundling the WebWise Secure Apache/iX
Server into the 7.5 release, a software product HP was selling for
between $1,200 and $1,900 until this year. The Web server enables
secure connections directly from HP 3000 systems over the Internet,
using SSL encryption for applications such as e-commerce and database
lookups of sensitive information.
Another industry standard for Internet connectivity
is fully supported in 7.5, the sendmail e-mail transport facility.
Version 7.5 also unshackles millions of megabytes of
storage space in the 3000 user community by eliminating the 4Gb limit
on the HP 3000s LDEV 1 boot drives. Now MPE can use all the
disk space available on a boot device whose capacity is larger than
4Gb. HP was not able to make this expanded LDEV 1 capability
available to customers running on MPE/iX 7.0 through a patch.
IMAGE/SQL enjoys increased dataset capacities of 128
Gb in the version shipped with the 7.5 release. HP said it is also
continuing the support of ODBCLink/SE in the release. An HP-written
JDBC driver is also part of the release for connection through Java
HP has also increased the number of users enabled for
logging from 1,140 to 2,851, adding more stability for customers with
a high number of users. 7.5 increases the open files table limit from
1,024 to 4,096, welcome news for sites running large databases, using
the HP 3000 as a Web server, or running multiple applications which
open many files.
Moving to 7.5 also enables new UPS Monitor/iX
capabilities that users have requested to pull them through powerfail
situations. HP enhanced the UPSUTIL utility program for UPS subsystem
management on Monitor/iX. System managers can specify a
custom-tailored MPE/iX Command File to control the HP 3000s
behavior during a UPS-detected power failure that lasts longer than a
user-specified amount of time.
The primary benefit of this powerfail command
file enhancement is that it can be used in conjunction with another
Release 7.5 enhancement, said Schneck, the new CI-based
SHUTDOWN command. This will cause an orderly system shutdown when the
system is notified of a UPS-detected power failure. The 7.5
version includes a new CI-level command SHUTDOWN with a RESTART
The HP manager said 7.5 also delivers improved HP
Predictive Support software, a proactive hardware support utility
that helps increase system uptime by monitoring system memory, disk
and tape drives. Some potential problems can be identified with the
software, which then
sends a message to the HP Response Center for attention and
HP leveraged the Predictive code from the
softwares HP-UX version to let the Predictive Support Monitor
utilize both the Posix and MPE/iX environments. HP also said
its improved the accuracy of the Predictive SCSI disk scanner
to detect more failures. An SCSISCAN scanner on the STM version of
Predictive is able to look at the logs residing on both HP and
The newest MPE/iX release will be available to
customers on the Software Update Manager electronic access service,
as well as the rest of the owners of Series 9x8, 9x9, 99x and N-Class
and A-Class systems. SUM customers will receive an e-mail notice of
the 7.5 upgrade and can reply through a Web link and order it online.
Other customers will get mailed notice of the upgrade with order
instructions to be returned by standard mail.
HP wont push the release unordered to any
customer, but it comes pre-loaded on the newest A-Class and N-Class
systems. As for the first upgrade to 7.5 typically the time
when production-grade systems get a release, to ensure early bugs are
fixed Schneck said 7.5 PowerPatch 1 might be awhile. It
hasnt quite been planned yet, he said. Its
probably six months to one year away.
Schneck said that 7.5 is the last major
software release from the company for the HP 3000. Future
enhancements will be incremental, and based on customer needs.
Any additional functionality, as the result of customer balloting,
really needs review at HP.