And now, HP’s Unix becomes a legacy solution

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has issued dates to terminate support for two releases of its HP-UX Unix environment. Next year will mark the end of HPE’s support for HP-UX 11.11 and 11.12. The final, terminal version of HP-UX, 11.31, is already in the MPS category. This Mature Product Support repairs crucial bugs. HPE adds that this support level is “without sustaining engineering.”

MPS is a milestone that the MPE/iX operating system visited in 2007. In this state, the operating system is frozen for features. The legacy managers in the HP 3000 market found a silver lining in frozen status. Fewer elements of the MPE/iX environment were likely to break, since changes did not find their way into the base software. Already a reliable OS, taking MPE/iX into Mature support makes it even more stable.

HP-UX is another matter for a legacy manager. Unix, touted as the replacement for HP 3000 datacenters, holds a riveting reputation. Security flaws are a major element in an OS that powers IT so frequently. The more Unix running in the world, the less secure it becomes.

The year 2022 ends HP’s active support for HP-UX, but the shift away from the vendor’s teams isn’t stopping legacy use. This legacy milestone usually arrives while independent support companies take on the vendor accounts relying on the OS. Change is inevitable, but changes to legacy IT are fewer. Losing vendor support may not even mean different experts will take on the work. At VMS Software Inc., some support team members shifted from HPE jobs to work at VSI.

Indies to the rescue

In the HP 3000 marketplace, Beechglen Development took up HP 3000 support, among other companies. Just about the time HP announced in 2011 it was migrating its best HP-UX features to Linux, MPE/iX support from HP ended. Beechglen remains a support resource for legacy IT in both HP 3000 and HP 9000 communities. The company uses Nickel, a program to assess the state of software on an HP-UX server.

This Network Information Collector, Keeper, and Elaborator is “a shell collection script from Hewlett Packard,” Beechglen explains. It’s been maintained and modified through the decades by Beechglen. A NICKEL script runs on HP-UX systems 10.20, 11.0, 11.11, 11.23, and 11.31.

Nickels run as a review and reference for general system health. “The script also provides aid after system events for troubleshooting,” Beechglen adds, “and getting a system back up and running in as little time as necessary.”

Beechglen, Allegro Consultants, and other companies keep supporting legacy environments after the vendor leaves the market. These companies tout expertise from a “team who eats, breathes, and sleeps HP-UX and MPE for 33-plus years, in the most demanding environments anywhere in the world.”

HP’s Unix is entering the era where MPE/iX visited 14 years earlier. Like MPE/iX did, HP-UX has gained an extra year of vendor support. System vendors will continue to collect support dollars until the latest possible date. There’s plenty of value in legacy IT, all through the years after the vendor stops selling it.

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