If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

Trusted Contributor

If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

In my experience, HP-UX is the best Unix available; better than AIX and way better than Solaris.  It’s not without its flaws, but in terms of resiliency, ease of use, and general capability it’s head and shoulders above the competition.


With that in mind, it is really disappointing to see HP be content with HP-UX being an also-ran in regards to market share.  Recent communication hasn’t done much to make me believe that HP believes in HP-UX.  Sure, HP says it’s committed to supporting HP-UX for many years to come, but at the same time has decided to help competitors gain market share by donating its mission-critical chops to Linux and Microsoft.


So, for fun (and because I’m up at 3:00 AM and can’t go back to sleep) I’m going to lay out some ideas I’ve had about how to bolster HP-UX in the market and start winning market share.


Give away developer tools.

HP should be making it easier for developers to write awesome, high-performance applications for HP-UX, not make them pay for the privilege.  Make tools like aC++ and Caliper freely available for everyone.  Yes, AllianceOne does look interesting (I don’t really know too much about it), but it is hoops a developer need not jump through on a RHEL box where a simple ‘yum install gcc’ will do the trick.  By making HP-UX more developer-friendly a richer ecosystem of software for it will arise, which will make it a more enticing platform for users.


Include OnlineJFS in BOE.

While there might be some licensing issues to work out with Symantec, this would be a very good thing.  How many other OSs currently charge to be able to resize file systems online?  I know of no other.


Include Glance in all OEs.

Glance is awesome and is an excellent way to showcase the exceptional management tools available for HP-UX.  Let people watch performance stats on individual machines with Glance for free, but still charge for centralized performance monitoring with OVPA/OVPM.


Port HP-UX to x86.

Blasphemy, I know, but hear me out.  Create another OE called x86OE or something and place it below BOE in the OE hierarchy by stripping out DRD, VxVM, SRP, PRM, maybe Ignite, and stuff that requires Integrity hardware.  Leave in OnlineJFS and Glance.  Give the whole thing away for free.


The idea is to create a version of HP-UX that isn’t geared towards the mission-critical market, but towards workloads that are naturally more tolerant of individual server downtime; things like DNS, HTTP, SMTP.  Sell support for it to folks who want it, sure, but make the bits free for anyone to download, play with, use, and update.


One of the reasons Linux and Windows enjoy a large amount of market share is because they are available for people to learn and learn to love; Windows because it’s on nearly every desktop and Linux because it’s freely available.  Making an HP-UX Jr. that is free and runs on x86 is a win in two ways: it makes it easier for people to become familiar with HP-UX thus fosters popular support and it provides a natural migration path to full-blown HP-UX on Integrity for applications that do require mission-critical features.


Lean on Intel to make Itanium a priority.

Itanium has had a rough childhood, no doubt, and because of it the platform suffers from a bad reputation.  Improvements made over the past few years have gotten Itanium mostly past its rocky start, but there is much room for improvement.  Four cores per die is a nice development, and eight will be even better, but neither is that impressive.  And while I know clock speed isn’t the only factor in processor performance, it’s hard to defend Itanium’s mid-1 GHz clock speed against Power7’s 3-4 GHz or even x86 and SPARC’s 2-3 GHz clock speeds.


There are more things that could be done, I'm sure, but these are the ones that have been floating around my head the past few months.

Kris Knigga
Patrick Wallek
Honored Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

All very well put, Kris.  I can't really argue with a thing you have written.


One thing I would add -- Make MirrorDisk/UX part of the BOE as well.  Every version of HP-UX should have MirrorDisk and OnlineJFS included.

Dennis Handly
Acclaimed Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

>Caliper freely available for everyone.


This is already true for HP-UX if you are an AllianceOne member, just register.



Honored Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

Hello Kris and Patrick,


Your comments are appreciated and have merits. In fact,

I have, with your implicit approval, forwarded them to an

internal HP forum where major Unix players are discussing



Like Dennis Handly, I also work for HP (albeit, my role is different to his).


I am a Senior Instructor in HP Education (teaching Unix, Linux, security,

clustering, and storage courses). I am also a Global Unix Ambassador,

with role to promote Unix.


I can assure you that technical resourses at HP are very vocal about

what they want to change in HP-UX. Sometimes we win, sometimes

we lose.


Lot of changes are happening as we speak and we all have great

interest in seeing HP-UX progress further.


After 26 years in Unix/VMS/Linux space, I know that HP-UX offers

great values. I have dealt with all major Unix versions...


Business decisions are sometimes not easy to justify :)

Quite often, technical solutions are not rejected because they are

bad, but because business justifications are different.


Let's hope that we continue to have healthy competition in Unix

environments and that HP-UX is one of the operating systems

to shine for many years to come.




VK2COT - Dusan Baljevic
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

I agree with most of what you said. HP-UX was according to media reports ported to x86. Further the new superdome design allows for x86 based blades to co-exist.

The perfect hardware environment to port the OS.

That still does not solve the Oracle problem. I've worked in 8 HP-UX shops and they were all primarily Oracle shops.

If Oracle does not run on the OS it is going to die.

If I were King I would treat it a lot like Linux. Without releasing the source code, I would price it in such a way to make it cost competitive with Linux.

That includes changing the software support model. I recently got a software support quote for $68K for a single rx8640 with 128 GB of RAM and 12 CPU's.

That is what is known as pricing yourself out of the market.


Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
donna hofmeister
Trusted Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

a couple of thoughts....


as hp marketing only seems to know how to sell cold dead fish, i'd like to see an outside group brought in to create a campaign to sell a clearly superior OS.  which segues to....


something that people don't quite seem to get is -- all that money you're paying to buy a proprietary OS?  it actually is buying you something -- stability!  i'm watching one large company after another -- where IT is full of people accustomed to having things "work" -- switch over to linux and then *scream* because <this> and <that> doesn't work like it used.  well duh!  you just turned your back on some amazing engineering and now you're suprised.  geesh....

Occasional Advisor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

Another suggestion would be: make patches available for free again.

sekar sundaram
Honored Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

I wasnt replying to an old post, i think. 2 weeks before someone replied..

the forum's front page didnt give good sorting methods...(sorting thru latest reply, sorting thru number of views, number of kudoes, etc etc...) so, i choose the 3 option - top kudoed post and got this post and remembered the recent video i have seen on youtube about redhat.


posting it for a healthy discussion(of hpux vs redhat)..nothing else... if anything wrong with this one, please let me know... thanks....


Looking for a healthy discussion of hpux vs redhat - particularly, because, just this month i was checking about HP's Vertica Database. I was expecting it to be running on HPUX, but, nope. its not running on hpux, but on RedHat.

Todd McDaniel_1
Honored Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS

Replying to the OP, I think many vendors got caught up in a "value-added" mentality and saw a huge benefit of charging for tiered services allowing them to scale support based on the product level the customer was willing to invest to attain. I remember having to justify to my bosses why we needed vxfs and other add-ons that weren't included, to allow me to do my job the best I could.  in the 2000s, it was hard to justify any spending with the Telecom crashes.


Restricting patches was a huge deal for me... As if paying for the product wasn't sufficient, pulling back on patches was a mistake imho.


On the positivive side, the fact that HP slowed down on its releases AND that they had only offered patches bi-annually actually made the product more attractive to me several years ago instilling confidence that it was a stable OS not requiring monthly management. And HP decided (my assumption) that less frequent patch releases allowed them to better research and provide more stable patches in the long run.


The move to Integrity servers was a great move to maintain hardware market share, but it seemed that HP got caught up in the craze for Any-OS supported hardware that they seemed to have left HPUX on the shelf

Unix, the other white meat.
Dennis Handly
Acclaimed Contributor

Re: If I were king of HP, or at least BCS