Wiring the HP 3000 into the Internet
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Rosemarie Chiovari
Wiring the HP 3000 into the Internet

NewsWire Q&A

It was just as improbable as it was true. A look around the show floor at last month's Internet World conference might have revealed only one computer system doing Web service which was first deployed in the early 1970s -- the HP 3000. It's possible the tide of commerce that is the Internet is rising so swiftly that the 3000 is being lifted with all other ships. But it's more likely the system has supporters within HP who believe even '90s technology like the Internet connectivity is a good fit onto the MPE/iX environment.

Rosemarie Chiovari is one of those people. While her title of Product Manager inside CSY is modest, she's been given one of the most important watches for HP 3000 growth: the Internet and networking technology. She's got more than 15 years experience on the HP 3000 at HP, nearly all of it with MPE networking products. Her background includes technical duty as a support engineer for 6 years on IBM communication products, DS/3000 and NS/3000. After managing network consulting projects for major accounts, she moved into product management for third party networking products and HP MPE network products in the old Information Systems Division (now the Network Computing Division).

HP isn't given to over-promising the potential of its most reliable business server, but Chiovari's outlook on what the 'net can do for the 3000 is bright. She's managed the arrival of the Open Market Web server package for MPE/iX and the deployment of long-awaited ARPA services for the 3000. Now she's managed to get the HP 3000 its first attention at a major cross-industry trade show in several years. Where customers have been pressing the 3000 into the corporate network, the products in Chiovari's stable have been key to its coming-out party in open networks. We asked her to separate the hype from the fact about the 3000's potential in electronic commerce and the 'net, especially corporate intranets.

What's the best project to deliver a good return on investment for HP 3000 systems that want to use Internet technology? Which part of the solution shows the most promise for delivering productivity improvements?

Intranet projects. There's an IDC report out just now that indicates businesses are getting the highest return on investment from that technology of any that IDC has measured. It's one universal client, a browser, to serve all the various applications.

Customers express some concerns over attaching their production 3000s to the Internet. Should they be worried, and why?

It depends on their business application. Even in an intranet there are security issues. But I've had several customers who have said that their best security on their Web server is the fact that it's hosted on an HP 3000. They don't have Telnet turned on, so that's always good. Hackers would be looking for roots, Unix and NT holes.

Most people never attach their HP 3000 production servers to the Internet. They use the Web server separately. Security risks are there, but you have to look at what's your level of risk versus the benefit you're going to get. For a small shop, the chances anyone would want to bother you are minuscule. They go after people with something of value.

After the showing at Internet World, it looks like the Internet could be an avenue for getting HP 3000s placed in new environments.

I haven't really thought about it that way. There's a lot of potential out there with existing 3000 customers. That's where I see the opportunity. Additional business tends to come through the channel. A lot of those people are web-enabling their applications, such as Smith-Gardner & Associates and SRN.

Some people are trying to call the Internet a client-server implementation that works.

A lot of people are able to accomplish the very same thing with it. It's a type of client-server technology. Customers have done some real easy, clever things with it.

What's the outlook for a Java Developer's Toolkit for MPE/iX, like the one being offered for HP-UX?

We are doing the Java Developer's Kit, and it will be basically the same as on HP-UX. We intend to offer it in the same way.

What needs to be completed to deliver a Domain Name Server for the HP 3000?

All of the underlying dependencies are there. It's a matter of getting the Domain Name Software ported. One of the things I have on my to-do list is to see is there's a good public domain version of DNS that we could port. We have a lot of high priority items to do. We're hoping somebody could pick it up and work with it.

A lot like the C++ project, because you'll get better resources devoted to it sooner this way?

DNS server is on the list, but there are other things on the list that are higher priority. A lot of customers already have a workstation of some kind acting as a DNS server.

Why can't you use the software that's on the 9000?

I'll look into that. But it's much easier with public domain source code. There are fewer copyright issues.

Will HP be offering trial versions of the OpenMarket Web Server, and where?

It's coming. I want to have it available in the first week of January. The code is up and running. We're trying to figure out how to make it available.

What's the status of the Open Market non-secure product? Is it still being sold by Open Market?

I believe it's been dropped by Open Market.

Should customers think of the OpenMarket Web server for MPE/iX as an HP product? Can customers order the products from Open Market, and is there any reason to do so?

We're the only source for the product. When Open Market gets requests for the HP 3000 product, they forward them to us. Most customers want to buy their Web server products from HP. OpenMarket doesn't even have the object code, so they can't ship it.

What's your opinion about the status of the Internet's bandwidth relative to the desire to use this tool? Is it caught up today, or still lagging behind?

It's still behind. Everyone wants to do more. There are other network technologies being investigated by the Internet gods. They're also looking at scenarios such as paying for bandwidth. I think the broadband cable technology is pretty promising. It's working really well in Canada, but it's a little pricier.

What kind of system upgrades or improvements in HP 3000 sites do customers need to examine when they choose to bring their 3000s onto the Internet?

It depends a lot on what they plan to do. All the underlying networking is there as of the 5.0 release of MPE/iX. They need to determine if they have the expertise. We have a reference list of them certified for the HP 3000. Have a separate system, have enough capacity. Then you have to look at the whole issue of security.

Does choosing to deploy an intranet instead of full Internet access make better sense for 3000 sites concerned about security?

Even in an intranet environment you need to think about security. If you're going to do things like payroll applications, you may want to encrypt that. Then you need to look at firewalls.

Is there a solution for encyption or firewalls that's 3000-native?

The Secure Web Server solution has 3000-native encryption.

Is there any way to deploy a firewall for an HP 3000 installation without deploying a PC or Unix system? What's the prospects for an MPE/iX-native firewall solution?

The first thing about a firewall is that it should be a separate box. There are many good commodity hardware products out in the marketplace that will run a firewall on PCs. I just don't see a market for taking something like a 918 and turning it into a firewall.

Well, customers who used OpenView DTC manager complained about putting their entire network in the hands of a PC for network services. Don't PC-based firewalls have the same kind of impact on the reliability of an HP 3000-based Web server solution?

That's a good question. One of our Web consultants thinks the world of the Border product. I don't know that anybody's done a study of how often firewalls fail. It seems if it happened a lot, you'd hear a lot about it, and I haven't.

Well, we know that all environments are a little less stable than MPE/iX. What makes the HP 3000 a good choice for Internet projects?

You have to look at what makes the 3000 a good choice for any project: high availability, an easy to administer system, better reliability. After all, if your Web server is down, your competitor's is only a click away.

Copyright 1997, The 3000 NewsWire. All rights reserved.