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7 Ways to Identify HP-UX Risk

HP-UX is not dead, but it is clearly in the ‘end of life’ period. In recent years, HPE has made it increasingly clear that it will no longer offer mainstream support for HP-UX. With this in mind, there are many risks faced by HP-UX users who are continuing to rely on the platform.

These risks need to be addressed in order to ensure that your data and applications are safe.

1. Continuing with HPE Support

HPE has clearly relegated HP-UX to ‘no-longer-strategic’ status. Unless your servers are the latest generation Itanium i6 servers running a fully patched 11i v3 operating system, HPE is going to treat your systems with “best-effort” support.

The vast majority of servers fall into a class where HPE support is defined as “support without sustained engineering”

Services without sustaining engineering are limited to the resources available in HP’s global service delivery organization. Problems that cannot be resolved by the service delivery organization through providing advice or delivery of a commercially available software patch will be addressed via a workaround, where HP is able to make such a workaround available. Problems will not be escalated to an HP or third-party engineering group.

2.  Machine Age

It’s not a question of if, but when your next disk drive fails – leading to an unplanned outage, data loss, or both. Storage manufacturers don’t spend their R&D dollars ensuring their disk array or tape technologies are compatible with legacy gear, nor will they support it.

Replacing hardware with new storage that “may work but isn’t supported” is risky from both a technical and a cost perspective.

HP-UX servers were sold with internal hard drives for the root volume with software mirroring that are now well past the manufacturer-designed lifespan. It’s common to find many of these disks have failed, and critical system volume groups are unprotected or improperly configured.

3. M&A Activity

As TPMs acquire other TPMs and try to integrate complex server environments into their commodity support methodologies, attention is lost to customer needs and expertise to niche platforms instead of trying to provide generic Unix support across all OEM platforms.

The same vendor you initially contracted is likely completely different and provides a different service than initially contracted.

4. Staff Retirement & Experience

Maintaining knowledge resources and tools for other staff to manage administration becomes more critical as trained HP9000/Integrity admins or resources are reassigned, leave the business, or decide to retire.

Many legacy HP-UX systems have hardware and software components that are in production that are now obsolete and orphaned and no available capabilities to rebuild from scratch parts and base installation media. In these environments, it is strategically important to have support resources that can replace entire systems, rebuild OS versions and add on subsystems from base media.

It is also critical to have OS/software support resources that can immediately access systems in order to identify root causes by process tracing, debugging, and performing immediate crash dump analysis.

5. Sparing & Logistics

Gone are the days where vendors stock parts locally, or have fully working spares in testing labs.

Today’s typical vendor model operates more like a consumer T&M repair model:

  • Place a call
  • Level 1 field engineer will contact you within 4 hours, not a Level 3 expert within 30 minutes
  • Order and source parts that may or may not fix the problem (that they should have stocked),
  • Schedule a repair for a future date when the parts arrive (often weeks later) literally banking on you not needing to call them, and not caring whether they lose your business.

6. Migrating HP-UX

The application dependencies and topology creates complexities that make this an extremely costly endeavor in time, effort, and software licensing and ongoing cloud consumption costs; and often times it’s not even possible or desired, leaving this equipment behind as other applications are migrated to the cloud.

7. Management’s Laissez-Faire Attitude

Management says, “we don’t need to address it if it’s been working.” However, the reality is:

  • Data the systems are processing is constantly changing
  • Network environments are constantly evolving
  • Mechanical and electrical components are aging & at higher risk of failure

Need help identifying HP-UX risk at your enterprise?

Whether you’re happy with your current solution or casually intrigued about receiving a complimentary risk assessment, our team is here to help. Our assessment will give you a comprehensive view of any potential issues and help you determine the most appropriate solution for your business.

Melissa Girona
L3 HP-UX Engineer

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