There’s still a legacy community for production-grade HP 3000s. Some owners are working to keep their systems online and using HP’s hardware to do it. In Atlanta, one company is looking for spare processors.
Billy Brewer, a consultant who’s part of the MPE Support Group, was looking for replacement processors for an N-Class server. The system is in serious enough use that it’s got disaster recovery — and a big enough DR contract that the owners were pulling away from a Sunguard contract. Those Sunguard-grade services can be costly. Brewer’s client is doing a datacenter move from one Co-Lo site in one part of Atlanta to another Co-Lo in another part of Atlanta. Meanwhile, a DR system chugs in Dallas
This level of disaster-recovery protected HP 3000 N-Class is not common anymore. It does signal serious MPE/iX computing being done out there. Brewer has his hands full using the old HP hardware.
“The hardware issues have been suspect system boards, memory, and processors, too. Wrong processors shipped to me by my vendor. Memory failing all over the place — yesterday I finally got all six systems up and running. Hopefully they will stay stable.”
More than a decade ago, Steve Suraci at Pivital Solutions warned the 3000 community about parts availability on support contracts. Sensible 3000 owners have a support vendor with parts in a depot. Searching for processors seems to be what happens when a 3000 owner is working with uneven parts resources.
Suraci asked questions back in 2012 that still demand answers, if homesteading’s risk is to be fully considered. Parts are one of HP’s reasons for canceling its 3000 business. It was not relevant in 2001, but 2020 is a fully different state of affairs. And sometimes the parts aren’t even inside a 3000. They just have an MPE version that’s got to be hunted down, if a support provider doesn’t depot-stock parts. Hostess Brands had a Series 969 which needed a fiber router.
“How many HP 3000 shops are relying on support providers that are incompetent or inept?” Suraci said. “A provider was willing to take this company’s money, without even being able to provide reasonable assurance that they had replacement parts in a depot somewhere in the event of failure. There are still reputable support providers out there. Your provider should not be afraid to answer tough questions about their ability to deliver on a service level agreement.
I’ve been setting up new datacenter in Atlanta for my customer,” Brewer says, “and have never — and I mean never — have had soo many hardware issues.” Virtualized HP 3000s sidestep this parts shortage.
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