Modernizing legacy HP-UX servers and application

HP-UXDo you have any legacy HP9000 PA-RISC based servers that you would like to modernize?

  • Do you have applications that are critical to your company, but the server they are running on is 10+ years old?
  • Have the developers of your applications all retired or otherwise left the company and now you have no options to recompile/redevelop for new hardware?

If the answer to any of these question is “YES,” I have good news for you.

HP / HPE has developed a tool called HP-UX Containers (or HP-UX Secure Resource Partitions (SRP) or HP9000 Containers / HP Containers, depending on what materials you are looking at) that allows you to virtualize / containerize your legacy HP9000 PA-RISC based systems running HP-UX 10.20, 11.0 or 11iv1 / 11.11 onto an HP Itanium system running HP-UX 11iv3 / 11.31.

When you containerize a legacy system, you are taking your entire system (HP-UX OS, applications, databases, data, etc.) and loading it all into a container on the Itanium system.  Loading everything allows you to have all application files, libraries, run time code, and whatever other dependencies you may have, inside the container.  This allows most applications to run as if they were still on a physical system.

Each HP-UX Container is isolated from other containers that may be running on the same system and has its own IP address(es), users, groups, NFS mounted file systems, etc.  Once a system has been containerized you access it exactly like you would a physical system (telnet, ssh, ftp).

If you are wondering how PA-RISC applications can run on an Itanium based system, the answer is ARIES.  Your next question is “What in the world is ARIES?”  The simple answer to that is that ARIES is a PA-RISC to Itanium instruction translation program.  It takes the instructions from a PA-RISC program and translates those into instructions that can be run by the Itanium CPU.  The complex answer is much more than we want to get into in this article.

There is some CPU overhead involved when ARIES works its magic.  However, you will typically still see performance gains when migrating to HP-UX Containers.4

Administration of containerized systems is generally done from within the container itself, with a few exceptions.  However, some of the tools you are used to using may not work inside a container (SAM is a prime example) but almost all command line utilities will work.

Here are some quotes from customers at which Service IT Direct has utilized HP-UX Containers or HP Containers to modernize their legacy HP9000 PA-RISC based servers:


  • The daily Cognos cube ran in 14 minutes. Normal time is 30 min.  [MS] Access is running extremely fast, connecting to [the] NV [database].  Kronos timecards ran in half the time, before time was 7 min, current time is 3 min.
  • From Finance, Day 1 closing the accounting period in AP, Purchasing, and Inventory went significantly quicker than normal, and on Day 2 & 3 there was no slow down posting JE’s and running reports. Overall, there was no time that people were complaining that “Oracle is slow”.
  • From Manufacturing, the close reports ran in just over an hour, where they normally run in 5 hours. The plant was able to come out of “disaster recovery” mode (they have to manually record transactions until the point in time inventory reports are complete) and resume entry to Oracle much sooner, which always helps in data integrity.
  • From IT, our processes to update sales and inventory tables ran much quicker, and the final Inventory grading cube was complete before 5:00pm on Day 1. Finance uses these tables and cubes for analysis and to generate close JE’s and are normally anxiously waiting for these processes to be complete


  • Our developers have stated there have seen signification improvement in query speed for their Oracle databases
  • We are able to restart our containers in a matter of a minute rather than 25 minutes for the physical servers
  • The ability to move containers between the compute nodes makes it much easier to recover from a server outage

If you would like to read more about HP9000 Containers:

If you would like to discuss HP-UX  or HP Containers and whether or not they would be a good fit for you, or if you would like to receive a presentation on HP-UX Containers that was given at the HP-UX Bootcamp in 2016, please give us a call at 888-596-4720 or drop us an e-mail at