Meg Whitman has made her first senior appointment as HP CEO by creating a new role - exec veep for global tech and biz processes - and giving it to former Boeing bigwig John Hinshaw. Hinshaw will oversee IT and shared and admin services, including indirect and services procurement. He will report to Whitman and is set to become …
A Weakness At The Center
For large businsess, there are now 3 computer companies: IBM, HP and Oracle. IBM markets enterprise systems based on their DB2/CICS mainframes. Oracle markets enterprise systems based on Oracle/Sun Unix servers. In that matchup, IBM will win most Fortune 1000 business for the heart of most critical mission systems. HP needs to compete by offering a unique product not avaialble from IBM or Oracle. That would be the Guardian NonStop PATHWAY/SQL/MP solution as the basis for systems of record and transaction processing. Unfortunately, Compaq and ( later) HP set on a flawed strategy of making NonStop into Unix. This removes NonStops' advantages over Oracle or IBM. Guardian was developed as an improvement to both Unix and HP3000. To make it more Unix compatible involves removing those improvements. This systems devolution should be of concern not only to HP and their customers; but to the wider world that depends on NonStop systems. Everything from Wire Transfer, ACH, Stock trading and the majority of teller machine networks world wide run NonStops. Decreasing their reliability (the reason NonStop were bought into those roles in the first place) may bring sales in the short term; in the long run it is suicidal .
Nothingwas removed from onStop to make it "more Unix"
NonStop is indeed an offer only HP can make to solve the issues of mission critical computing. There has not been a strategy to "make NonStop into Unix". What has happened instead is that the Unix APIs and look-and-feel (except the downtime experience :-) ) were made available to NonStop users. The NonStop OS (formerly known as Guardian-90 and NonStop Kernel), supports both operating environments. At the level where it really counts, all the data access (NonStop SQL MP, NonStop SQL/MX, traditional file system), as well as the scalable application environment (Pathway, Webserver, Java application container based on Tomcat, Hibernate etc), still inherit the exact same availability, scalability and data integrity fundamentals as those used by traditional Tandem servers running Guardian.
Wrong. Just For Starters...
just for starters, Guardian used to preserve private data areas for processes. This had inherently high process initiation costs, and cost extra at process close, but was easy to manage from the point of view of keeping code from treading on each other. Because Guardian/Pathway online systems deal mainly in persistent processes, this was an acceptable cost, with high payback- no "heap" errors. When Compaq kernelized the OS to allow the OSS API, they also switched to a Unix heap memory management. This allows cheap forking, at the cost of memory integrity. We now see common memory errors on NonStop that were once rare.
Am I the only one who thinks he hears the Laurel and Hardy theme music when I read news of HP these days? The last few months have been a tragedy for a company that made it's reputation with some of the finest and most innovative laboritory test equipment I had the pleasure to use.