After several years of work on the front line of
HPs e3000 growth project, Dave Wilde will now get to carry the
ball across the platforms next goal line. In June Wilde was
named the new R&D manager for the 3000 labs, shifting his
responsibility from leading the engineers working on the next
generation of HP 3000s to all technical development for the platform.
The promotion puts Wilde in a position that has produced 3000
division general managers for some time, but the easygoing
Midwesterner is not looking that far ahead. Instead, hes
preparing for an early 2001 debut of the first N-Class HP 3000s that
will be ready for the long-awaited IA-64 processors, chip
architecture in development since 1994. Key to the debut of the new
3000 generation is the 7.0 version of MPE/iX, code-named Bora-Bora,
whose critical element is the support of new IO subsystems ready for
full 64-bit computing. 7.0 also enables the arrival of the N-Class
PA-8500 processing power, needed immediately by the biggest HP 3000
Wilde takes on an MPE lab now fully flung across the
globe. While predecessor Winston Prather oversaw the first hiring and
steps toward putting HPs 3000 engineers in Bangalore, the
Indian operations now take the lead in several key development areas.
Wilde said that having development staff in two time zones more than
12 hours apart can make for some very early morning management
Getting an early start on 3000 work is a habit for Wilde.
He first encountered the system as a high school student in the
1970s, working at Crawfords Department Store in Chicago doing
data entry on the 3000. He took his computer science degree to HP in
1984 and did his first two years in the Electronic Instrument Group,
where his first project was to create a VLSI IC tester. He made the
transition to software as the R&D manager of HPs Allbase
database core and interoperability project. And eight years ago he
entered the HP 3000 division, when Allbase made the move into CSY
labs along with the more pervasive HP 3000 database, IMAGE. Project
management and more R&D with some of HPs biggest 3000
accounts led him to his prior post as lab section manager, handling
the growth-related designs for the next generation of 3000s.
As long time customers of the 3000 remember, first
steps into a new generation of systems have the potential to be
hobbled with delay and disappointment. The project that produced the
first PA-RISC 3000 generation faced grave delays more than a decade
ago, ones that only engineering management could resolve. Wilde and
others at HP have pointed to next years PA-8500 N-Class systems
as crucial stepping-stones to the third generation of the system. We
asked him how the labs are equipped to handle the challenge of
crossing the first goal line in the game to enable next-generation
architecture for the system.
Youve spent the past few years in the growth
part of 3000 development. Hows your briefing on the other part
of the labs work progressing?
Ive already had some level of awareness from other
meetings that Ive had on the HP 3000 Business Team.
Can you describe how the CSY R&D manager stays up to
speed on details?
Im still learning what the role is. You have an
impression, but you get educated as you go through it what the
responsibilities are. At HP, when you go into a new role, you spend
the first year trying to get your bearings straight. You tend to
operate at a somewhat lower level at first, less strategic. Over time
you tend to see what you can be doing at a higher level. Thats
been my experience.
The most successful model is a balanced approach. I get
information from team meetings once a week. I have one-on-ones with
each manager in the team once a week, the practice that HP calls
management by wandering around. Im on the HP Business Team, and
we have instituted a number of very positive processes in the last
year around checkpoints, and also for solution roadmap planning. As
our Solution Teams plan their technology roadmaps, we try to
understand what are the possibilities of what we can work on. Then we
have an investment planning process that takes those roadmaps, and
based on customer and business needs, determines what we are going to
fund and staff.
Finally, I get a lot of information informally, through
e-mail and a network of people who send me messages. I tend to not
read 3000-L all the time these days, but I get a lot of messages that
are a heads-up about threads on that mailing list. In the last year
Ive tended to spend a lot more time with other partner
organizations within HP. Thats an example where I tended to be
more inwardly focused in my first years as a section manager.
Whats the biggest focus for the 3000 labs management
One of the big focuses is efficiency, doing good planning
to plot the right intercept point for where you want to deploy a new
technology. You can avoid pitfalls if you can get up high enough to
see the dead-ends and not waste time on it.
you consider one of the pitfalls offering a technology for the 3000
too early? Some customers believe HP should have a build it and
they will come buy it approach in todays market.
Absolutely its a pitfall. Its very complex
because of the huge number of products. There are stated customer
needs, based on what they read in the press, and then theres
real customer needs based on what the reality is behind all the fluff
in the press. When I say fluff, I mean obviously companies are out
there trying to put their best foot forward and trying to drive their
agenda. You have to sort through wheres reality and whats
the marketeering going on. Customers may say I need X.
But in reality they dont know all the details, because
theres some reality behind something thats getting a lot
of press. There may be more marketing than theres substance at
you have interacted with other HP organizations, have you perceived
any change in them since Carly Fiorina became CEO?
getting a lot more focused now. All the businesses are being shaken
up right now, to focus very sharply and work on execution efficiency.
Im finding a lot of eagerness and willingness. The more
weve talked about the HP e3000 and building the awareness, and
since HP is getting leaner, whats happened is that is
theres a smaller number of things going on and the
people working on those things are able to focus. One of the things
weve realized is theres a lot of value in planning
carefully. Trying to do a smaller number of things and do them really
well. Its a shift to see us put all our wood behind a couple of
arrows, instead of dying a death of a thousand cuts.
Does that mean when customers are out at meetings like the
Solutions Symposium or HP World and start asking for many different
things, they should reset their expectations?
answer is yes, and its a good thing for everybody. What it will
mean is that if youre doing too many things, then a lot of
those things are not sustainable over time. Theres a lot of
whiz-bang stuff coming out, but its not sustainable in the
sense of us not being able to do a really good job. Customers will
have too many choices; they may choose the wrong technology or the
wrong direction, and then it winds up a dead-end. It will let HP do a
smaller number of things in a high-quality fashion, and maintain our
Whats your own philosophy about how third-party
companies can fill the gaps in technology for the e3000?
Were trying to make sure were a well-oiled,
functioning organization internally. A big part of that is trying to
focus on the things we can uniquely do the best job of. A big part of
that is identifying where a channel partner or set of partners can do
an equal or better job, and make sure we dont try to do those
things. That has another benefit: it provides business opportunities
to our third parties, which is very important. It means well
have a more established and successful ISV software community.
Its something weve been steering toward the past couple
of years, and we want to continue our momentum toward that.
How has the staffing changed over the past year for the
Those kinds of things do ebb and flow, and just before
Y2K wed done a lot of hiring. We needed to absorb some of that
hiring, so we havent over the last year done very much hiring.
We are looking at doing some more. Over the last year weve been
working on some very large key projects, and tried to stabilize
things both because of Y2K and because wed had so much
change in the organization. I would call the organization relatively
stable right now.
Its probably easy for a customer to underestimate
the scope of the 7.0 MPE/iX project that youre calling
Bora-Bora. Wed heard that the 6.5 release took longer than you
wanted it to, but you wanted to get it right, and now youre
catching up. Hows 7.0 going?
Thats right. I would say Bora-Bora is going great.
Its really big and a challenging project, just like 6.5 was
really big. One of the bigger challenges was that 6.5 was in its
final testing integration while Bora-Bora was going on and all
of that was happening during the Y2K transition. That was a massive
effort and a difficult [one].
Now that 6.5 is out and were past the Y2K
pre-hysteria, were able to focus. We had organized the lab so
different people could focus on different elements of 6.5, Bora-Bora
and Y2K. It still is a very busy time for us in the lab. As things
complete on the R&D side, you need to go through all your
integration and testing. Well continue to have a lot of work
with 7.0. Then we have other projects that well start up that
are in planning right now. Theres never a dull moment in the
When you describe Enterprise Management, how do you break
Theres tremendous overlap between enterprise
management, high availability and storage. If you take storage you
might say disk arrays are part of storage, but theres a big
part of high availability thats part of that. We tend to think
of high availability as OpenView VantagePoint, or ITO as it used to
be called. It could be tools like enterprise backup solutions like
Legato, Hi-Comp and Veritas, and things like Web Console and DTC
support. If its something that a system manager or an operator
tends to deal with, we think of it as Enterprise Management.
Were trying to focus it on whos the end customer.
you think youll get to an PA-8900 processor in an HP 3000?
Thats the last generation anybodys willing to talk about
in a slide. Will you need all that PA-RISC headroom as you watch
IA-64 take shape?
try to understand our customer needs and work hard to understand the
HP roadmap, and work to put those together in a way that makes the
most sense for our customers and the business. If an element of that
is delivering an HP 3000 on a PA-8900, then that would be something
we would obviously do. Its a little early to talk about
availability of the 3000 with that [processor]. Watching is exactly
what were doing: what happens in the overall market, and what
happens in the HP product roadmap.
Which other HP partner organizations are you working with
worked a lot with HP organizations in storage, quite a bit among the
folks who develop hardware platforms in our Unix organization, a
little bit in the networking organization. Even in manufacturing,
because of the dependencies on platforms. Ive spent a little
time with the support organization, because some of the products we
work on for support of the platform like diagnostics or Predictive
Support are important. The more you see the issues and opportunities,
the more you see the need to get out and about more. Then you can
look long-term at where other HP organizations are going and plan
your investments more intelligently. Its like getting above the
trees, so you can see all the roads and detours you didnt see
Whats changed on the line-up for the divisions
Weve changed in an evolutionary manner. We based
them around areas of customer need as opposed to areas of technology.
Weve split the datacenter management team into three areas:
Enterprise Management, Storage and High Availability. Those are
focused on one of our three division objectives, which is
Our Networking team spans everything from low-level
network drivers up through higher level network services. Internet
and Interoperability is broadly focused around the area of e-commerce
and middleware. We have Application Development for languages and
tools. [These teams focus on another goal], which is to enable
customers to bring out Internet and intranet e-commerce solutions.
Some teams like the Database solution team span growth
aspects and others. We have a Software Delivery team, and a team
focused on Support and Training.
we have our Kernel Capacity Scaling team, and our Platform team
focused on our new platforms. These teams are largely focused on
enabling growth for our customers.
noticed a lot more Solution Team leaders names from Bangalore
than the last time we took inventory. Does that reflect the sharing
of lab leadership?
Were trying to grow strong leadership both in Cupertino
and in Bangalore. We have three in Bangalore and six here in
Finding people that are good enough to do the work must be
a challenge for you these days, with MPE/iX expertise in such short
supply. Bangalore staffing has helped over the past few years. How
has the mission changed for the Indian operations?
just out there in May, and the team is doing great. One of the big
things weve been trying to do is an increased amount of new
development work in the Bangalore team. Weve been shifting more
and more to them as the expertise and maturity level grows.
What kinds of new development are they doing in
Its quite a broad range. The team there is involved
in database projects, networking and some of the work for the new
network drivers for new platforms. The team is involved in some of
the new kernel enhancements for 6.5 for the capacity scaling work.
Theyre also involved in some of the forward-looking IO projects
and enterprise management projects. In some ways, the CSY Cupertino
and Bangalore labs are very complementary, in that there are skills
common across both labs. We are trying to focus entire projects, or
large chunks of projects, in one lab or another. This can minimize
the very intense day-to-day communication. That can really be a
challenge when you combine the time difference and other inhibitors
to effective communication. I tend to have meetings very early in the
morning. I try not to do meetings both very early and very late. I
tend to be a morning person lately; my days start at 5 or 5:30.
what kinds of new development are in the Cupertino section of the
of the Internet and interoperability work is in the Cupertino lab.
The low-level network drivers are being done here. All of the
low-level IO work is being done in Cupertino. We have a build testing
integration team here, and some joint work on some of the
future-looking projects. We have some joint projects going on to
re-engineer some of our software delivery technologies. We think
thats a big opportunity for continued improvement.
Does that delivery technology include work on Patch/iX and
the kind of processes used to help on installations?
example were looking beyond DDS [tape] as an installation
medium. Were looking at Patch/iX and Stage/iX and how those are
used. As we start to look at alternate boot devices, were
looking at the processes not just how customers install, but
how systems are manufactured and software is loaded onto the systems.
We think thats an area where youre likely to see
increased investment in the next couple of years.
Whats happening on the low-end part of the HP 3000
Theres a new family of HP platforms were
working on, and a part of that is looking at a new low-end platform
that is targeted for release in the 2001 timeframe. Some of the
Solution Teams have work going on in other areas that will be
applicable to many different segments. In the last year we brought
out the AutoRaid disk array, which is kind of a lower-end product, at
least relative to the XP256. We also have a lot of interest in being
able to make full use of a large spindle, since disks are getting
there an architectural advantage to working with IA-64 that makes it
a no-brainer for use with the 3000?
Its a little early for us to talk about what our
roadmap is going to be in that timeframe.
The last two division general managers were promoted from
your current post. How does it feel to get into whats become
the waiting chair?
Its a combination of both exciting and a great business
and group of customers. Theres a lot of excitement and pride
associated with having that role. At the same time its a little
bit scary and frightening to be in a new role with a lot of
responsibilities and accountability. Its very hard to be
prepared completely for all that, so theres a lot of learning