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Message Posted: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 @ 13:58:43 GMT

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Subj:   Re: Expected lifespan of MPRAS?
From:   Charles Farley

Hi all- (please forgive the length of this)

Again, my favorite topic, I could scream.... Okay, I'm running on some assumptions here, but I do love this topic, as it's my favorite barb for NCR... I have to say up front, that running on MP-RAS is not antiquated or "behind" in the sense that it is a good OS that runs well and does what it was intended to do, support Teradata. It is also a good development OS, if you do that by hand, it is very straightforward and things are where you expect them to be (libraries, etc.), just not everything you would like is there...

To my understanding, HP and NCR reached their agreement on NCR using HP's OS some time ago (after the ill-fated Sun and Solaris problem, that I think would now be a null and void issue, Solaris9 is on INTEL NOW!!!). So, here we have HP with a chip (IA64, they paid for a lot of the devel), and an OS (HP-UX, which they painstakingly ported to IA-64), and a large amount of clients that have an interest in neither. They have and still are selling their PA-RISC chip boxes to their clients and swear up and down that their clients should see another 5 years or so of PA_RISC support, even though Fiorina's plans have included shuttering the PA-RISC fab plants in one to two years (cuts major overhead and op costs). The Shareholders love this, but HP is betting all of it's chips on IA-64, and the rub there is that it's a whole new architecture. Have you ever wondered why Itanium is in it's second version release and yet there are really no companies aggresively marketing boxes with that chip in them? Could it relate to the app vendors not releasing apps for that architecture? Some of the HP guys I talk to have seen HP-UX on IA-64 and say it's great, I'm not saying it's not, but when HP absorbed Compaq, they also promised the Tru-64 loyalists that they would include the best parts of Tru-64 into Hp-UX on IA-64 and make it as fast as Tru64, I don't know that that has happened.

Now, HP is also betting some of it's chips on Linux on IA-64, and here is my guess, since Hp is cutting costs and overhead, and the IA-64 port of Hp-UX was done over a year ago, AND since the core developers on it were summarily fired and the NewJersey dev office was closed, AND since linux is a stated direction for HP and would cut some more costs and allow HP to focus on it's huge market, printers (where they are now in competition with Dell), I am guessing that Hp will slowly move it's focus to linux and allow you to purchase from them: an IA-64 box, that will run Windows or Linux (with HP add-ons), or blade servers to do the same, and Hp will sell the hardware and package it all up for you and get out of the OS/chip business.

McNeely from Sun stated that Sun needs to move in that sort of direction as well or face becoming SGI in 2 years (waiting for the doors to close). As of today, apparently, Sun is dropping their linux distro, but McNeely has clearly made the point that he and Sun need to figure out how to get their hands (and wallets) aroudn the linux market segment (him and every linux vendor I know of, I think RedHat is STILL looking for a reasonable profit model)...

What am I really saying here? I am guessing that is the question many would ask of me, and I'll try to answer it in less space than I did above. What I'm on about is this, NCR is moving toward HP-UX on IA64, that's not a horrible chouce, HP-UX is NOT my favorite unix, but it's not horrible, I just see that it may not be the long-standing choice they wish it were. Along with that, I see a great advantage to NCR examining linux more closely, I've heard all of the things about it not "being ready" and such, that's a load of brown hamsters, it's as ready as most all of the unix OSes that I currently use in my production environments, and it has a better selection of software, it just requires a slightly more adept admin than your average "vendor specific" unix. IS that such a bad thing? I think the major hesitation is in part due to corporate america trying to figure out how to "partner" with linux the way they do with other computer vendors, most corporations think they need to have contracts with the maker of software to get a response to a problem. In all honesty, I get a much better adn clearer response from google groups than I do from most vendors. And I have seen vendors with well-paid contracts basically say "I don't know, but I could figure it out if you upgrade your support contract..." I don't like that happening without at least being kissed first... I guess my point is that from the "vendor support" I've gotten, I've done about the same amoutn of work to support a linux box as I do a Sun. Back to NCR, MP-RAS is a great OS, it's just that NCR, like many other vendors, sees the maintenance of something that is not their core competency as overhead they don't need, and I'm fine with that, just replace it with the best thing for your clients, and I'm not sure HP-UX fits that description, just my opinion.

Thanks for listening, you didn't need to,



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