Re: Re: The State of Alpha Linux
On 8 Jan 2009, at 4:32 pm, Matt Turner wrote:
I attribute this to sellers who try to hit the lottery. That
hope that a corporate server with no back up fails and someone
access to the company's expense account spends 7000 GBP (as I was
recently quoted for an ES47) to get a replacement immediately.
I can attest to that - we just got rid of a cluster of 8 ES40s to a
research outfit that (for whatever reason) still hasn't made any
effort to move off the platform. Of course, such people are running
Tru64 or VMS; it's child's play to move services on Linux on Alpha
to some other architecture.
That's why AlphaServer resale values are good - lots of Tru64 and
VMS customers who don't want to move to Itanium. Tru64 customers
(such as we were) are doubly hit - not only do they not have their
architecture any more, but of course they don't have their OS
either, and if you've made heavy use of Tru64-specific features,
such as TruCluster or AdvFS, then you're not in a happy place.
TruCluster in particular is hard to replace - HA features for Linux
do not work in the same way, or provide the same features, and
porting applications to, say, heartbeat, is not trivial in the least.
We bit the bullet and began migrating to Linux on x86 about 6 years
ago, pretty much as soon as the HP/Compaq merger happened. The
writing was on the wall. But I suspect a lot of customers drank the
HP Koolade and believed them when they said that AdvFS and
TruCluster would be ported to HP-UX.
That is edifying. I've noticed that in large organizations, there is
often a philosophy: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This could
also mean that if it ain't broke, break it, but that's another
matter. At my recent job at a phone company, it was not terribly long
ago that we got rid of the last vestiges of OS/2 (I mean in one
organization; for all I know it may still be deployed elsewhere).
Anyway, I can definitely see that while it can be a reasonable
philosophy at times, it can ultimately be more bother than it's
worth. If Tru64 is the reason why Alpha hardware on ebay is sometimes
so pricey (though, I bet you'll see that listings with high opening
bids get relisted over and over for months on end), then I would
expect that PA-RISC hardware would sell for much less; HP-UX runs on
Anyway, as has been mentioned, just because some sellers expect a
fortune for Alpha hardware doesn't mean you can't get good deals if
you are patient. I got my XP1000 for $300 about three years ago.
As others have mentioned, it's quite adequate for my purposes,
serving media files; the Silicon Image SATA controller works fine, I
get excellent NFS performance from it. I don't expect to transcode
movies with it; I have another computer for that. I kind of like
having a piece of history which is actually useful to me. But, I
guess I wouldn't be heartbroken if the Alpha port comes to an end. It
works now, so if it ain't broke... I may be using it for a while. Now
if I could just get it to boot from compact flash... I like the zip
drive idea someone mentioned though... I have an old MO drive, maybe
I'll try that. All of my old SCSI disks sound sort of like jet engines.