No downtime for VM migration, faster reboot are new capabilities

Unix may have been shouldered aside by Windows as the main operating system in data centres, but a number of manufacturers remain loyal to the versions of it still in their portfolio.

That includes Hewlett-Packard, which Monday detailed the latest enhancements to its Unix-based HP-UX operating system running on Intel Itanium-powered HP Integrity servers.

It was part of a number of announcements for its mission-critical hardware and software lines.

Jeff Kyle , director of product management for HP’s enterprise servers, said in an interview this year’s annual spring update for HP-UX 11i V3 — available for customers since March 31 — show that HP is ncludes two significant improvements:

–Zero downtime for virtual machine migration. Because virtualization is included in the OS, customers can migrate from an older Integrity server to the newer i4 servers,  (introduced a year ago) with no downtime.

Customers can seamlessly update infrastructure within a C-class chassis or across multiple servers if the machines are in an HP-UX pool, Kyle said;

–50 per cent faster reboot on HP-UX on i4 Integrity blades through a combination of firmware on servers and the latest OS.

It’s similar to the fast reboot HP added last year for its Superdome II servers, Kyle said.

In addition, HP has made it easier for HP-UX customers who want to use its Cloud System Matrix 7.3 software for deploying private clouds.

Until now customers needed to use an eight-socket server for the software. Now they only need a two-socket server. In effect, Kyle said, the price has dropped 75 per cent.

It means customers can build a private cloud with a small Itanium server or single blade, he said.

Finally, HP  has added two new servers to its NonStop high availability line, the NS 2300 and 2400. The servers run the NonStop OS on Itanium processors.

Kyle said the new entry servers offer up to 30 per cent more performance than their predecessors with 50 per cent more memory capacity (48 GB vs 32).

NonStop servers came from Tandem Computing, which Compaq bought in 1997 and became part of HP (NYSE: HPQ) when in was swallowed in 2003.

Now entering its 40th year having run on several processor platforms, next year NonStop will be available for x86 servers.

As for Unix and its derivatives, “some people would say Unix isn’t the coolest operating system in the world any longer,” Kyle acknowledged. But, he added, it’s still important in the mission-critical world.

In some parts of the world its use is growing, he said. But he admitted in North America Unix is declining.

Monday’s news release is a way of showing HP is still behind its mission-critical platforms, he said.

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