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February 2003

Technical Presentation

Here is a brief description of each course, with my comments thrown in where appropriate.

U3103aae: This is a 2-hour narrated slide show where you “learn about the history of Unix, the basic commands for Unix and pointers to documentation, both online and through the Internet. This course covers basic file commands, directories, simple security principles, printing, and a short course on using vi.” While a few of the commands discussed are unique to HP-UX and do not have an analog on Linux, in general, this is suitable for anyone considering generic Unix or Linux. It is good to have either a HP-UX or Linux machine available so you can pause the course to test commands and concepts. An account on Invent9k will work fine (I tested both Reflection and QCTerm) if you do not have access to an HP-UX or Linux machine. You can sign up for an Invent9k account logon at jazz.external.hp.com.

U3104aae: This is a 2-hour narrated slide show “intended to provide a linkage between the MPE and HP-UX computing environments as approached from an MPE perspective.” The course uses a lot of MPE terminology to explain HP-UX system administration and configuration, a helpful aid to those with mostly MPE/iX system administration experience.

To get the most out of this course, you need an actual HP-UX machine with console access available, not just an account on Invent9k. This is because most modules use SAM (System Administration Manager) to demonstrate concepts and techniques and this is not available, for obvious reasons, to users of the semi-public Invent9k accounts. This course also includes modules on bootup and shutdown, kernel changes, and software and patch installation that get down and dirty, so having a test HP-UX system available is a real plus. One note, the course suggests that you should probably have a trained, full time system administrator for HP-UX and that “Unix is not unfriendly, it’s just indifferent.”

U3105aae: This is a 1-hour narrated slide show “intended to provide a linkage between the MPE and HP-UX networking computing environments as approached from an MPE perspective.” This class is also somewhat HP-UX specific, though many of the networking items either work the same or have equivalents on Linux. This class deals with IP addresses, dhcp, dns, bootp, tftp, telnet and ftp and their configuration. This course also gets down and dirty, discussing configuration and use of the ‘r’-commands, rlogin, rcp and remsh.

Courses u3104aae and u3105aae are credited on the title page to HP-UX guru and until recently, HP employee, Bill Hassell. I’ve heard Bill speak (at the HP World HP-UX Boot Camp) and am pretty sure it is not his voice narrating the slides, but rather a voice-for-hire. Courses u3103aae – u3106aae all appear to have been created in July and August of 2002 (the slides all have dates of 7/2002 or 8/2002), so it is fair to say they were created specifically for HP e3000 Transition Training.

U3106aae: This is a 2-plus hour narrated slide show course that “will give the user a full understanding of the Eloquence product” from its history all the way through to migrating “the database environment from the HP e3000 to the target platform”. This course was prepared by, and is narrated by, Michael Marxmeier, the originator of Eloquence (formerly HP-Eloquence) and principal of Marxmeier Software AG (www.hp-eloquence.com), which recently re-acquired from HP all rights to its Eloquence database product. This looks to be the complete version of the talk that Marxmeier gave at last year’s Solutions Symposium and HP World conferences. It is really quite good and I urge anyone even considering Eloquence to take this course. Unlike the other courses in HP e3000 Transition Training curriculum, a hands-on HP-UX or Linux system is not necessary.

U1646aae: This course is an interactive slide show complete with graded quizzes. It takes a minimum of two hours to complete. Again, you may want to pause frequently to test commands or concepts. It is roughly split in half between generic Unix (or Linux) modules and specific HP-UX modules and covers much the same ground as courses u3103aae – u3105aee. However, it is worth taking if for no other reason than for the quizzes, since they give you feedback on how much you’ve actually absorbed. This course probably predates November 14, 2001 since no mention is made of MPE/iX. I suspect HP used this in the past as its general self-paced, Web-based introductory course to Unix and HP-UX.

On technical presentation, I give the courses an A.


Frankly, I was skeptical about the content HP was offering. But with over 10 hours worth of material, the five self-paced, Web-based training courses give you a good introduction to Unix in general, including Linux; a good introduction to the specifics of HP-UX and administering an HP-UX environment; and a good introduction to Eloquence.

As with most training, you get out of it what you are willing to put in. You can fly through all the material in the minimum 10 hours, but if you do just this, you will not get full value from the material. If, on the other hand, you have a crash-and-burn HP-UX machine available and devote upwards of 40 hours total to taking the courses — and working with and investigating the concepts and commands as they are presented — then you will have a solid foundation in using and administering an HP-UX system.

You could certainly skip the first course in the subsequent recommended classroom curriculum (Figure 1, page 10) with its $2,200 cost not including travel, hotel and food expenses. With time to practice, you could probably even skip the second classroom course, and its similar cost, and go right to “System and Network Admin II.”

The bottom line is HP did right by its customers and partners in preparing and offering these courses. Don’t be mislead by the notion that anything free can’t be worth much. There is tremendous value being offered in these courses. I urge anyone who is not already an HP-UX System Administrator to take advantage of this opportunity.

John Burke is the founder of Burke Consulting and Technology Solutions (www.burke-consulting.com), which specializes in system management, consulting and outsourcing. John has over 25 years experience in systems, operations and development, is co-chair of SIGMPE, and has been writing regularly about HP e3000 issues for over 10 years. You can reach him at john@burke-consulting.com.


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