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Requiem for an old friend

Today was as turning point of sorts. Today I turned off the last two of our Hewlett-Packard UNIX boxes. The migration away from HP-UX was done as part of our strategic platform consolidation initiative. All of the tasks that were formerly performed by hosts running HP-UX on HP hardware are now performed by Linux hosts running on Dell hardware. This consolidation gives us a single hardware platform for PC-class servers, and reduces our enterprise operating system count from six to five.

Now, these are a fine reasons for changing things. I should certainly call them fine reasons — I'm the one who created our platform consolidation plan. But, in six years this is second operating system that I have been responsible for introducing and then ultimately killing. NetWare and HP-UX came in with me in 1999. In 2003 I pulled the plug on the last NetWare server, and now I have pulled the plugs on the last two HPs. At least the HPs went away in favor Linux; NetWare died at the hands of Windows 2000.

Our collection of B2000s, B3600s, and a single C3000 and B1000 provided years of solid service before being withdrawn in favor of the Linux/Dell combination. They were good boxes. Hell, they still are good boxes. They're just good boxes without jobs. That little B1000 — the smallest one of the lot — was the first one in the door, and today it was the last one out. That B-box was, for its entire life, nms.hartfordschools.org. It had a bunch of jobs, most big, some trivial. This profusion of jobs was why it took so long for me to migrate everything over onto the new Linux server. That, and a certain feeling of sadness that I was killing one of my own creations while it still had years of life left in it.

Technology is a funny business. Things are considered obsolete long before they're ready to be retired. Some ideas take root and flourish, others wither on the vine. In Hartford, HP-UX was one of the latter. Perhaps if I had gotten Samba running on the HPs back in 2000 our developers might have taken to them. But, the ColdFusion advocates faded in the face of the ASP advocates, and you can't run ASP scripts on anything but Windows. Shoulda and fifty cents... You need to conquer personal attachment and 'comfort' if you are going to avoid obsolescence your self.

So, having said all that, I have one last thing to say about HP-UX and my sturdy little B-box:

Hail and farewell!


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
What happens to the boxes now?
Apr. 23rd, 2005 12:59 pm (UTC)
Excellent question. Because they were originally purchased with Federal E-Rate funds, we can't sell them or trade them in; all we can do is discard them or give them away. We cannot receive anything of value for them. So, I'm still pondering what I'm going to do with them. For the moment they'll be put in storage. Where, alas, there is not even the promise of being looked at by top men.
Apr. 23rd, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
*grin* Can they be leased out for service to the Society of Syrinx and its Head-of-Magic sysadmin?
Apr. 23rd, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC)
I just meant -- if they would come in handy for said sysadmin...
Apr. 23rd, 2005 01:38 pm (UTC)
Giving a too serious answer, no — that would be receiving something of value for the machines, and that is forbidden under program rules.

I have a donation destination in mind, but there's a conflict between the E-Rate program rules and City rules for disposal of assets (which require that we attempt to sell an asset before we can chuck it out).

Our tactic on other computer hardware has been to call an electronics recycler (who will pickup and dispose of equipment for free) and just push the gear out the door, shrink-wrapped on pallets, the rules be damned. The City's fixed asset accounting is so abysmal that we're normally approached every few years with a big list of assets and asked to just cross off the things that don't exist and more. The deail on the fixed asset list is so skimpy that even the cross-outs are just guesses. So, the consequences of circumventing the disposal rules are practically nil...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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