Hewlett-Packard Unix


Hewlett-Packard Unix, commonly known as HP-UX, is a proprietary Unix-based operating system developed by Hewlett-Packard. It is designed to run on HP’s 9000 series of servers and workstations, utilizing PA-RISC and Itanium processor architectures. This OS is notable for its high performance, reliability, and scalability, making it a popular choice for enterprise computing environments.


The phonetics of the keyword “Hewlett-Packard Unix” can be represented as follows:HELL-uht – PAK-ard – YOOn-iks

Key Takeaways

  1. Hewlett-Packard Unix, also known as HP-UX, is a proprietary operating system developed by Hewlett-Packard for servers and workstations, based on the UNIX System V.
  2. HP-UX is designed to offer high-performance, reliability, and scalability, making it suitable for critical enterprise applications, large-scale databases, and mission-critical workloads.
  3. HP-UX comes with advanced features such as dynamic resource allocation, robust security mechanisms, and support for various hardware architectures like PA-RISC and Intel Itanium, enabling users to leverage its capabilities for diverse business needs.


Hewlett-Packard Unix, also known as HP-UX, is an important technology term because it represents a highly reliable and robust proprietary Unix-based operating system.

Developed by Hewlett-Packard (now Hewlett Packard Enterprise) specifically for their server and workstation systems, HP-UX has played a significant role in the enterprise computing sector since its inception in 1984.

Its key features, including scalability, compatibility with various hardware platforms, and strong security capabilities, have made it a critical choice for businesses requiring stability and performance for mission-critical applications.

Furthermore, its existence has contributed to the rich ecosystem of Unix-based operating systems, driving innovation and competition in the technology industry.


Hewlett-Packard Unix, commonly known as HP-UX, is an enterprise-level UNIX operating system developed by Hewlett-Packard (now Hewlett Packard Enterprise) for their server offerings. It is designed for mission-critical applications, offering a combination of stability, reliability, and scalability that gives enterprises the confidence to deploy critical applications, data processing, and services on their HP servers.

HP-UX’s purpose is to provide a highly efficient and secure environment for businesses to run their applications and manage their complex IT infrastructure. By offering advanced features, such as virtualization, resource management, and high availability, HP-UX helps organizations optimize their hardware and software investments while reducing the risks associated with application downtime.

One of the significant uses of HP-UX is in industries where system performance, security, and availability are of paramount importance, such as finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and energy sectors. For instance, financial institutions rely on HP-UX’s robustness to support high-frequency transaction processing and ensure continuous service, while the telecommunications industry depends on HP-UX for running their network operations centers and real-time communication systems.

In addition to its use in data centers, HP-UX also finds application in high-performance computing clusters and environments where compute resources need to be dynamically allocated and managed. In summary, HP-UX plays a crucial role in providing a stable and reliable platform for organizations to address their IT challenges and achieve their business objectives.

Examples of Hewlett-Packard Unix

Hewlett-Packard Unix (HP-UX) is an enterprise-grade UNIX operating system developed by Hewlett-Packard (HP) for use on their HP 9000 series of servers and later, the HP Integrity servers. Here are three real-world examples where HP-UX technology has been used:

Telecom Industry: In the early 2000s, Bharti Airtel, an Indian global telecommunications company, implemented HP-UX on their HP 9000 servers as part of their telecom infrastructure. This setup allowed Bharti Airtel to manage their large-scale operations efficiently as they expanded their subscriber base rapidly. HP-UX offered reliability, scalability, and strengthened security, which were essential for the company to maintain a high level of customer service and network reliability.

Banking and Finance: The National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India, one of the world’s largest stock exchanges, relied on HP-UX to support its trading platform and handle large volumes of real-time market information. HP’s high-performance servers, powered by this robust UNIX operating system, provided the critical processing capabilities, system throughput, and flexibility needed to maintain the high-speed, 24×7, mission-critical environment that a stock exchange demands.

Government Sector: The United States Postal Service (USPS) employed HP-UX for various applications and data processing in their operations. As one of the largest shipping and mailing service providers in the world, USPS required a stable, extremely efficient, and secure operating system to handle the vast amount of data generated and processed daily. HP-UX proved to be a strong, reliable choice for the USPS’s stringent requirements.

Hewlett-Packard Unix FAQ

What is Hewlett-Packard Unix (HP-UX)?

Hewlett-Packard Unix (HP-UX) is a proprietary Unix-based operating system developed and maintained by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. It is designed to run on HP 9000 series servers, as well as some Itanium-based systems.

What is the current version of HP-UX?

The current version of HP-UX is HP-UX 11i v3, also known as HP-UX 11.31, which was released in February 2007. Regular updates and support are provided for this version.

On which hardware platforms does HP-UX run?

HP-UX runs on HP’s PA-RISC and Itanium-based server systems, including the HP 9000 series, HP Integrity servers, and HP BladeSystem server platforms.

What are the key features of HP-UX?

Key features of HP-UX include its scalability, reliability, high availability, security, and virtualization capabilities that are designed to meet the needs of enterprise-level computing environments.

What is virtualization support in HP-UX?

HP-UX offers virtualization support through its functionality called HP Integrity Virtual Machines (HP-VM). HP-VM allows multiple virtual machines with different operating systems to run on the same physical server, sharing hardware resources and improving server utilization.

How is HP-UX different from other Unix-based operating systems?

While HP-UX shares many similarities with other Unix-based operating systems, it is specifically designed to run on HP’s proprietary hardware platforms. It also includes a number of unique features and tools, such as HP Serviceguard for high availability and HP-UX Workload Manager for resource management.

Is there an open-source alternative to HP-UX?

While there is no direct open-source alternative to HP-UX, there are other Unix-based and Unix-like operating systems, such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, and Linux distributions that offer similar functionality and can be run on various hardware platforms.

What is the future of HP-UX?

Hewlett Packard Enterprise continues to support and develop HP-UX, focusing on reliability, performance improvements, and compatibility with the latest hardware. However, with the industry-wide shift towards Linux and other open-source alternatives, the market share for HP-UX has been declining.

Related Technology Terms

  • HP-UX Operating System
  • PA-RISC Architecture
  • Itanium Processors
  • Logical Volume Manager (LVM)
  • HP Serviceguard

Sources for More Information

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents

More Terms