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July 2004

PowerPatch packages MPE’s latest updates

7.5 version collects patches, enhancements for support

If it’s true that HP 3000 shops don’t adopt a release until it’s been PowerPatched, then the last version of MPE is getting its second set of papers to free it from the lab’s pound. MPE/iX 7.5 has a PowerPatch 2 shipping from the HP labs this month, a show of engineering advances from a vendor no longer selling new HP 3000s.

PowerPatches are made up of operating system patches HP has released separately. The 7.5 release of MPE/iX isn’t in widespread use among the customer base, but the software represents the state of HP’s art for the HP 3000 environment.

Sites have to be on HP Software Support, at least at BasicLine level, to receive a PowerPatch. The individual patches are available to any customer, regardless of who supports their HP 3000s. By extension, then, the Power-Patch 2 for MPE/iX is a specific benefit to prompt continued HP support contracts.

Some 3000 application vendors already migrating their products are advising customers to maintain BasicLine level service, so they can receive PowerPatches. HP itself couched the PowerPatch in terms of preparing for migration, even though the enhancements are likely to help many sites that are homesteading.

“We understand that it is very important for our customers to have additional time to develop and implement their migration strategy,” HP’s marketing letter for the PowerPatch stated. “HP recommends that customers chose the very latest in hardware and software in order to maximize the value of their current HP e3000 environment during this transition period. Thus, HP has improved the existing functionality and integrity of MPE/iX Release 7.5 with a proactive patch-set found in MPE/iX 7.5 PowerPatch 2.”

HP improved the 3000’s host-based control of DTCs with the PowerPatch, along with new versions of Samba for file sharing and WebWise for secure Web services from the HP 3000. Other improvements include support for the Virtual Array models 7110 and 7410, the latest versions of these HP storage units; software that enhances High Availability Fail Over (HAFO); and limited support for Ultrium LTO tape drives.

HP mentioned two third party products specifically which it will support in connection with Ultrium drives: ORBiT Software’s Backup-Plus and Mount 10’s HiBack. HP’s own TurboStore isn’t support on Ultrium tape units, along with traditional MPE/iX tape functions including, but not limited to booting the 3000, SYSGEN, HP Store/Restore, general file system access, user logging and FCOPY.

The 7.5 MPE/iX release was rolled out to support the last generation of HP 3000s, systems not very widely installed. But used system brokers are beginning to report availability of A-Class and N-Class servers, and companies planning for a long homesteading period are seeking the systems.

HP noted that “while MPE/iX 7.5 is supported on currently supported 9xx series servers, many of the new storage capabilities in 7.5 are supported only on HP e3000 A-Class and N-Class servers.”

The HAFO support is being included at no charge in PowerPatch 2, after HP sold the functionality in years past. HAFO will detect hung IO, a failed disk controller, IO host device adapter or connection component, and then failover to send all subsequent IO to an alternate data path. HAFO’s scope of support has been expanded to HP’s Fiber Channel disk arrays. A-Class and N-Class systems using the 2-Gbit FiberChannel Host Bus Adapter. Customers using Series 9xx systems with the Fiber Channel router can also use HAFO.

DTCs that are managed by the HP 3000 — the only option since HP discontinued support of DTCs via PC in 2002 — get enhanced features through the PowerPatch. X.25 System to Systems Switching, PAD Switching and Security lists, PAD Incoming Security, configuring non-nailed TIO devices, Routable AFCP and Auto Restart can now be supported through the HP 3000 host.

Customers can get their PowerPatches through the HP IT Response Center. HP’s Communicator support documentation is available online at www.docs.hp.com/mpeix/pdf/30216-90352.pdf.


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