Well, IBM has
announced their first Power 7 servers. They, like they have done in the past,
focused on a few key messages: performance, power efficiency, and system
management. They added details in a few other areas as well, but nothing
drastic beyond a more powerful processor and therefore more powerful systems.
Since Intel has
announced the Itanium 9300 processor (Tukwila), but HP hasn't announced its
server line up with these processors yet, doing a head to head hardware
comparison isn't appropriate at this time.
that is shipping today is the UNIX operating system that is supported on each
platform. Power 7 servers support AIX 6.1, and HP-UX 11i v3 is supported on
current and future systems.
While I've heard
more than once that people thought HP-UX 11i was dead, indeed, it is still
alive and well. Thanks to the work done by Gabriel Consulting, we have a good
idea of what customers value in each UNIX operating system.
From a HP-UX
11i v3 perspective, particularly when comparing to AIX, a few things pop
HP-UX 11i customers
tend to think more highly of HP's virtualization technology, particularly when
you include multi-system virtualization capabilities and management (for
Instant Capacity and Insight-Dynamics
- VSE). I wonder if that is perhaps because HP Integrity Servers and HP-UX
11i v3 offer multiple types of virtualization technologies, so customers can
pick the technologies that work best in their environment, and yet use the same
management console for any and all virtualization technologies?
This leads directly
to the second thing customers really appreciated about HP-UX 11i - the
simplified, single-pane-of-glass management and management automation. Tools
Systems Insight Manager allow the management of physical and virtual
environments. IBM Director appears to offer similar capabilities, but the last
time I checked (and it's been a while), you often get to switch between
different tools (with potentially different log ins, etc.). HP has done the
hard work to truly integrate many of these products, and perhaps customers
actually appreciate it.
The idea of integration continues to the next
reason customers prefer HP-UX 11i - integrated high availability, disaster
tolerance, and virtualization. Not only do all of these products work together
on HP-UX 11i v3, but HP offers a lot of application integration and support.
This includes scripts from the Enterprise
Master Cluster Toolkit, Serviceguard Extensions for SAP or Oracle, and
Insight Dynamics - VSE Reference Architectures that show you how to build
everything together and get it to work - quickly, easily, and with fewer
Overall, it appears that HP customers value the integration that HP designs
into HP-UX 11i v3 - whether the operating environments that simplify ordering
and license management, integrating add on products such as virtualization and
high availability, or the information on how to deploy it with common
applications much easier.
So, if you use HP-UX
11i, why do you like it? Any of the reasons above? Or do you have other reasons
for prefering HP-UX 11i?
I'm getting over my jet lag from the Frankfurt training, and preparing for the training in Kuala Lumpur in a few weeks. It's great to see colleagues that I've worked with and supported for years in person from time to time, catch up with sales reps, and hear the feedback that customers have been providing to them.
One of the things I'm covering in the training is High Availability for HP-UX 11i v3 systems. Let's face it - if you aren't looking for highly available systems, you probably aren't buying a commercial UNIX. HP Serviceguard ships on just less than 50% of all the servers that go out the door with HP-UX 11i - and a lot of those other systems support production systems that run clustering software.
One of the main themes of this part of my training is that HP Serviceguard is great. We have Gabriel Consulting surveys that show that customers prefer HP Serviceguard over other UNIX clustering software . However, that difference is relatively minor, as all the commercial UNIX offerings have a clustering offering that is proven in many production environments.
So, what sets HP apart from the other UNIX vendors? In my opinion, it is the integration with the applications, and some of the unique value that we can provide. Oracle RAC provides great uptime capabilities for database instances. However, HP Serviceguard Extensions for RAC and the HP Serviceguard Storage Management Suite provide some unique capabilities that enhance an Oracle RAC environment such as: extended distance active-active clusters, certified by Oracle; not only great performance and high availability for Oracle RAC and other applications, but also with the file system management to extend disks, get snapshots of storage, and more, all while the database is still online.
For SAP, HP provides other unique value. The HP Serviceguard Extensions for SAP (SGeSAP) works with liveCache to provide a hot standby. The result is that if an SAP instance goes down, SGeSAP will have SAP back up and running at full performance within 2 minutes. This is compared to failing an SAP instance over, rebuilding the Live Cache (often 2 hours), and then have degraded performance for a some time after the SAP instance restarts.
This is another great example of how HP, especially in mission critical environments, gets to know our customers beyond just the hardware and operating system, and helps solve our customers real world problems - even if technically the issues aren't just OS, but non-HP applications that work on top of it. We can still partner to create best of breed environments, but provide unique value for those environments.
Is the application integration the reason that our customers seem to prefer HP-UX 11i for availability over other UNIX operating systems? Do we actually provide additional value that keeps the applications up and running, even if they already have built in high availability? What other areas can we tackle to provide additional value to our customers?