New university, online options help provide MPE skills
computer platform less well-known than others is getting more options
to introduce IT professionals to its details, as third-party firms
bolster HPs 3000 education offerings that are playing catchup
to customer demand.
Getting MPE/iX training isnt as easy as it was in
the systems salad days, when courses crowded HPs
classroom schedules and more MPE-savvy pros could pass along
expertise. HPs offerings in education havent declined in
the past few years, however scarce they became over the past summer.
Now HP online Web-based courses join the classroom mix. Whats
more, classrooms are opening outside of HP to teach the 3000.
Customers point to training for 3000 systems as crucial to
maintaining the platforms strength. With fewer 3000
professionals available to the workforce, some managers are taking
the tack of training their less experienced hires in MPE, or adding
3000 skills to staff already managing other systems.
There are many companies who are considering
movement away from the 3000 because they cant get qualified
people for the platform and they cant afford to train new
people coming on board, said Glenn Koster Sr., a former
consultant and trainer for Managed Business Solutions now working
with Quintessential School Systems. What we need is to get the
3000 back in the classroom where the concepts are taught within our
universities. We need to get the mundane training to the
Until recently, few options have existed outside of
HPs own offerings. MPE education was available from hardware
broker Abtech during 1998, while the company was selling HP 3000s.
But HPs demand that the firm close down its 3000 business to
settle a lawsuit about Abtechs alleged illegally-licensed 3000
sales shuttered the training option as well one priced
significantly below HPs.
Some customers believe training options have been limited
of late. Since HP has cut back on training offerings at their
local and regional offices, it has become cost-prohibitive to use
their training services, said Kathleen Fitzgerald of Custom
Research Inc. Now that theres a whole new training
paradigm available via the Web, Id like to see HP offer HP 3000
training classes through that medium, and at much lower prices than
in-person classroom settings.
Some of the features of the platform related to its
rebranding as the e3000 in February still have little if any HP
training available. Skills to teach configuring and setup of the
Apache/iX Web server, programming in Java, creating scripts for use
on 3000 Web sites and sharing files through Samba/iX are only now
being considered by HPs education operations.
I think HP could do a better job, said Kim
Borgman, a manager at National Wine and Spirits. For example,
is there a class on using and setting up the Apache Web server on an
Another customer said, It seems that if I want to
use the HP e3000 with the internet, then I must find someone else to
train me, as HP doesnt really plan on doing it. Others
are looking for materials to do their own self-paced training outside
a classroom setting.
We would love to know about CD-based training and
books, said Chris Coglianese, Director of Information Services
at the IU Medical Groups Primary Care unit. We have been
using an HP 3000 for three years, but have not been able to find any
books other than HP manuals, and they leave a lot to be
desired or courseware on the system. Weve had minimal
training from our software vendor [HBOC] and would like to learn
more. Our people are bright and could easily learn more about this
platform if we could only find the materials.
Other customers in a NewsWire survey cited an absence of
classroom courses for more experienced MPE programmers, as well as a
decline in the quality of HPs courses. One classroom report
noted more than 350 errors in the MPE/iX System Manager coursebook
used early this summer.
HP needs the material completely revised, brought up
to date, labs tested and revised, put in a logical order, new
graphics installed, and placed on PC projectable media like
PowerPoint, one instructor said. We need to provide the
best quality materials for the customers.
Even customers using the 3000 in advanced applications
cant locate HPs training. In Europe, there is no
training for the new functionality of the HP e3000, Peter
Herpich reported in a posting from Lindauer-Dornier, a company
thats deployed Enhydra over the Web with its e3000s. I
dont understand this strategy. No trained users, no new
Some new HP offerings
Lori MacInnes, an education manager for HP Americas and
MPE Program manager in Education, said HP has just revised its System
Manager courses and several others for the 6.5 release of the
operating system. She maintained that HP is meeting the demand for
classroom training with its current offerings, which include some
Were covering it, MacInnes said.
Many of our students are coming in new to the HP 3000. The 3000
division and HP Education are working together to determine solutions
we can come up with for the e3000.
Training in Java, Samba or Apache is covered at a
configuration skill level for a few hours in the MPE/iX Network
Administration classroom course. Customers can learn of HP education
offerings from a printed catalog, or go to the HP Education Web site
to order a catalog or see a complete list of e3000 classes being
offered. (Browse to www.hp.com/education/sections/mpe.html; updated
courses are at www.hp.com/education/newmpeix.html).
MacInnes said HP e-mailed notice of last months
course updates for 6.5 to our installed base, because many
customers are at the stage now of defining going to 6.5. An
online course was delivered for the first time over the Web on Aug.
16 and Sept. 7 covering New Features and Functions of MPE/iX
6.5. Additional dates for this online course were scheduled for
Oct. 24 and 25, November 20 and 21, and December 11 and 12. Some
courses were scheduled to start in mid-afternoon GMT for European
customers. Seating is limited to 60 students for each course, and
customers can sign up at the HP Web sites.
This three-hour New Features course, led by HP consultant
Sally Blackwell for $299, includes information about changes in
Apache/iX, LDAP software and languages, and changes in memory,
peripheral support, diagnostics, the new large file support, disks,
networking and HP databases. HP is also offering a relatively new
(September 1999) online MPE/iX for System Operators course, covering
nine hours and priced at $749.
Calling registration at 800.472.5277 in the US
(800.563.5089 in Canada) will yield more information about course
contents, according to MacInnes. European customers can look at a
schedule of training from their local HP Education Web site. A list
of Web links and phone numbers for HP education offerings is at education.hp.com/contact-phone.htm
But specifics offered for some HP platforms still
arent available for the e3000 customer. HP has a course for
customizing Apache under HP-UX and no corresponding course for its
e3000 customers. Those HP-UX materials could be a good start at an
equitable e3000 offering.
Jennie Hou, solution team leader for training at the 3000
division, said that whenever theres leverage, we do want
to take advantage of that. Were looking to that right now,
because customers do want more in-depth training. Everythings
still in the works right now, and we hope to have more information in
the near future.
Hou also said HP has lots of [Web-specific]
materials available on the division Web page, and its a matter
of how do we package everything together and make it into a training
offers a Speakers Series Web seminar once a quarter for e3000
customers, and this one-hour presentation is free, but space is
limited. In the series a CSY engineer talks about hot
technology like Java or Internet security, Hou said. For
every session there are a couple hundred seats, and customers can
dial in on a first-come, first-serve basis. Information on the
MPE/iX Speakers Series is available in the education section of
HPs IT Resource Center Web site, education.itresourcecenter.hp.com.
HPs decision on offering e3000-specific classes
about the new Web technology will be a joint one between HP Education
and the 3000 division. Lars Appel of HPs German Response Center
said he has taught a seminar on Java, Apache/iX and other Web tools
for the 3000 several times in Germany, a course he said could be two
days of hands-on training.
The e3000 division considers training a core value.
Its not optional for our customers, Hou said. We
have to make sure they have the adequate training they need,
especially as we bring new customers in as solution buyers.
Other than the new System Operators online course, the
e3000 education offering hasnt been expanded beyond the set of
courses offered in 1998 when HP Education last revamped HP 3000
courses. HP did add 3000 training in the Chicago area over the
period. Five classes have been enhanced for MPE/iX 6.5, but only the
online course breaks new instruction ground.
Early reports on the 6.5 enhancements to classic courses
like Performance and Tuning have been positive. I thought the
class was pretty good, said Fred Cook of Medical Pathways
Central Coast, an Amisys site. The 6.5 stuff was a work in
progress, and I thought it should have been five days instead of
four, but otherwise I was quite happy with it. Errors in the
existing courses are being fixed with the 6.5 updates to the courses,
according to MacInnes.
Customers are grateful for the addition of Web-based
training, but they want more. I have nothing but praise for HP
making the operators course available as a self-paced
course, said SIGSYSMAN chair Donna Garverick. But she added
that on the whole she doesnt have enough 3000 training options,
citing a lack of higher-level HP classroom courses.
Third-party options expand
Garverick was among customers who cited HPs costs
for classroom courses as too high for their budgets. We at
Humana/ChoiceCare have been looking for better HP 3000 training for a
long time, said datacenter operations manager Rich Rolland.
The HP courses are way too expensive for what we get, and no
one else seems to have interest in providing HP training.
third-party is emerging as a training alternative, offering education
in a classroom for both MPE fundamentals and MPE vendors
software utilities. TechGroup University (www.abctechgroup.com,
301.714.1854) is planning on opening its doors this fall in
Hagerstown, Md. Jon Backus is deploying resources of TechGroup to
teach in the classroom facilities of an area community college.
While Hewlett-Packard enjoys record sales of this
platform, the pool of trained users is very small, Backus said.
We would like to see that change.
The first objective of TechGroups university is to
provide training for users of products from Adager, DISC, Lund
Performance Solutions and VEsoft. By conducting third-party training
classes at the facility, TechGroup is giving these 3000 software
companies, based in the Western US and Canada, an Eastern US training
presence. But TechGroup also plans to offer a System Management
course and a Development Fundamentals course for the HP 3000.
We can send a programmer to a fundamentals class and
get them the 3000 training they need, so long as they already know
their language, Backus said. It increases the additional
flow of talent into the 3000 talent pool.
Backus said that the University will offer MPE
fundamentals courses on an as-needed basis. It will be a matter
of how well our classes are perceived and attendance. If were
getting suggestions that people want a Fundamentals class, Im
not adverse to offering that. Its not exclusive 3000, but there
is going to be a significant focus in that area.
Craig Solomon, Consulting Director at Lund, said his
company is readying an Advanced System Managers Skills course
in addition to the performance-related courses the company will offer
at TechGroup. Solomon said teaching MPE skills to new managers who
have had the 3000 thrust upon them is essential to the
We want TechGroup to be a good place for people to
go and get something out of their experience, Solomon said.
When IT pros are given the 3000 to manage, Their first
inclination is to get off this platform and onto something they know.
Were trying to show them this isnt a bad system, and
theres great opportunity. With MPE, 99 percent of the time what
it does has something to do with the revenue stream of a