Run HP-UX workloads on Azure with Stromasys Charon-PAR - Azure Architecture Center (2023)

This article describes the lift and move migration of a workload from HP-UX to Azure. HP-UX is HP's Unix operating system for PA-RISC servers and workstations. The article shows how the emulator software called Charon-PAR from Microsoft partners worksEstromasisyou can run HP-UX workloads on Azure.


InviteVisio-Dateithis architecture.


Charon-PAR runs on Azure and emulates PA-RISC systems for HP-UX. On this virtual system (Azure Virtual Machines), you install the Charon host operating system (Linux), the Charon emulator software, and its legacy operating system (HP-UX) and associated applications. This configuration allows you to run an unmodified HP-UX application or workload in an emulation environment on a virtual machine in Azure. The virtual system behaves as if it were using the real hardware.

  1. Charon-PAR software runs on Linux Azure virtual machines because Charon-PAR requires a Linux host. Charon-PAR emulates the PA-RISC processor architecture. HP-UX workloads run on these emulated PA-RISC systems.

  2. HP-UX workloads can reside on the managed solid-state drive (SSD) disk of the host Azure VM.

  3. One or more host network interface controllers (NICs) can be associated with the guest operating system. You can do this by dedicating physical NICs to the guest operating system. Each HP-UX virtual machine gets its own network interface from Azure, so it has its own dedicated private IP address. This host-specific network interface is typically used within the Charon configuration for dedicated use by guest workloads.

    Optionally, you can easily configure Azure public IP addresses on the same network interfaces. There should always be dedicated network interfaces for the guest operating system. A network interface is assigned to the host. PA9-32 720 allows only one network interface, but PA9-64 allows multiple network interfaces dedicated to the guest operating system.

  4. Users can connect directly to HP-UX virtual machines through Secure Shell (SSH) (if the HP-UX version supports SSH). These virtual machines have their own network interface cards and dedicated IP addresses.

  5. File shares for Linux VM mounted Azure storage accounts allow mapping of the Charon-PAR virtual tape manager to a locally mounted device backed by a cloud Azure Files storage account. This mapping enables cost-effective storage of archived tapes for regulatory and compliance purposes.


  • Azure virtual machinesprovides scalable compute resources on demand on Azure. An Azure virtual machine gives you the flexibility of virtualization without having to buy and maintain physical hardware. Azure virtual machines offer a choice of operating systems, including Windows and Linux.
  • red virtual azulit is the fundamental component of private networks in Azure. Virtual networks allow Azure resources, such as virtual machines, to communicate with each other, the Internet, and local networks. Azure Virtual Network is like a traditional network in your own data center, but offers the added benefits of scalability, availability, and isolation from Azure infrastructure.
  • Azure Virtual Network Interface CardsAllow an Azure virtual machine to communicate with the Internet, Azure, and on-premises resources. As shown in the diagram, you can add additional NICs to a single Azure VM, allowing secondary VMs to have their own dedicated NICs and IP addresses.
  • Managed Azure SSD Disksare Azure-managed block-level storage volumes used with Azure virtual machines. Ultra hard drives, premium SSDs, standard SSDs, and standard hard disk drives (HDDs) are available. For this architecture, we recommend Premium SSD or Ultra Disk SSD.
  • Azure ExpressRouteallows you to extend your on-premises networks to the Microsoft cloud through a private connection provided by a connectivity provider. You can use ExpressRoute to connect to Microsoft cloud services, such as Azure and Microsoft 365.
  • blue storageYblue filesprovide fully managed file shares in the cloud, accessible via the industry standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. Azure file shares can be deployed simultaneously from the cloud or on-premises Windows, Linux, and macOS deployments.
  • Stromasys Caronte-PARRecreates the PA-RISC virtual hardware layer on industry-standard x86-64 computer systems and virtual machines. The virtual hardware layer is compatible with a range of HP-UX software that runs on it, so no source code or code translation is required. (See a list ofsupported versions.) Charon-PAR is a member of the Stromasys family of cross-platform hardware virtualization products. It is a hardware virtualization layer that runs on Linux on industry standard servers. It emulates a range of legacy 64-bit and 32-bit PA-RISC hardware and enables existing users of these systems to migrate to modern Intel-based server hardware.


This solution works best with Premium SSD or Ultra Disk SSD. We recommend premium SSD hard drives. Azure Ultra SSD managed disks are an option for even higher input/output operations per second (IOPS).

For best performance, we recommend a compute-optimized FX-series virtual machine. You can use the Azure Fs-series for low-end spec servers, but the minimum required for PAR is 3.0 GHz. (3.4 GHz or higher is recommended.) High-end servers require an instance of the FX series.

stage details

Often, the evolution and maintenance of business applications stall due to the underlying legacy hardware. Sometimes hardware is no longer supported by the latest updates and integrations, or worse, is no longer supported. Outdated infrastructure for mission-critical applications is a problem. The longer the issue remains unresolved, the greater the risk and cost of mitigation.

These applications may have supported the organization's critical business and have evolved over decades, have been audited and certified, and are well established. Rather than a complex, high-risk re-engineering project, an alternative approach is a low-risk project, where applications are ported without modification to a cheaper, modern platform like Azure using an emulator. Such a project, often calledlift and move, preserves the business functionality of the application and only replaces the hardware, ensuring business continuity.

Running applications with an emulator in the cloud offers many benefits, including security, elasticity, disaster recovery, high availability, and failover. However, the most important advantages are reduced operating costs and ease of maintenance. No risky migration projects or changes to the operating system or middleware are required. Server virtualization on Azure can be the first step toward modernization. Once the workload resides in Azure, you may be able to take advantage of other cloud benefits.

This article describes a migration of a workload from HP-UX to Azure. Shows how Charon-PAR emulator software can run HP-UX workloads on Azure.

The main business ofEstromasisis focused on cross-platform virtualization/server virtualization software that enables owners of legacy HP-UX systems to run their mission-critical applications without modification on new, industry-standard computer systems. Charon products protect existing application investments by allowing customers to continue using their existing applications and business processes. Since everything continues unchanged, no retraining or replacement is required. Charon products dramatically reduce the cost of ownership by reducing computer footprint, power consumption and cooling costs, while eliminating the risks and costs associated with running outdated hardware.

The Stromasys Charon environment offers a significantly higher level of platform stability. For the first time since the early HP-UX systems were introduced, replacing the actual physical server no longer requires changes to the HP-UX software environment. Charon also offers more platform stability and has a virtually unlimited lifespan.

With the continued increase in the use of Azure hosted systems in the typical enterprise environment, the best way to host an HP-UX system in these environments is an emulated HP-UX system hosted on Linux.

The following image illustrates the migration approach recommended in this article:

Run HP-UX workloads on Azure with Stromasys Charon-PAR - Azure Architecture Center (2)

Benefits of the lift-and-shift migration approach include:

  • Azure/Charon customers can continue to use existing critical applications without the cost of rewriting, porting, migrating or retraining.
  • Maintenance costs are reduced as these applications are moved to emulated systems hosted in Azure.

Possible use cases

  • Enable seamless migration of on-premises HP-UX workloads running on PA-RISC server machines to Azure.
  • Continue to use HP-UX applications running on legacy PA-RISC servers without modification, but remove applications from old hardware and continue to provide users with the same or better interfaces.
  • Manage multiple server hosts and child virtual machines from a single interface.
  • Use low-cost Azure storage to archive tapes for regulatory and compliance purposes.
  • Migrate a database to the cloud and run your application in the cloud through emulation without modification.


These considerations implement the pillars of the Azure Well-Architected Framework, which is a set of principles that you can use to improve the quality of a workload. For more information, seeMicrosoft Azure Well-Architected Framework.


Security provides protection against deliberate attacks and misuse of your valuable data and systems. For more information, seeSecurity Pillar Summary.

  • This solution uses an Azure NSG to manage traffic between Azure resources. For more information, seenetwork security groups.
  • For added security, consider using Azure Bastion. Azure Bastion maximizes access security for administrators by minimizing open ports. It provides secure and seamless RDP/SSH connectivity to network virtual machines directly from the Azure portal via TLS.

cost optimization

Cost optimization is about reducing unnecessary expenses and improving operational efficiency. For more information, seeOverview of the cost optimization pillar.

Azure eliminates unnecessary costs by identifying the right number of resource types, analyzing, and scaling spend over time to meet business needs without overspending. With Azure, for example, you pay as you go. When you don't need workloads, you can shut them down to save money. You can start Charon-PAR as a service manually or automatically when you start the Azure VM. You can stop the service manually or automatically when the host system shuts down. Make sure to always shut down the guest OS (HP-UX) first, then the emulator (Charon), and then the host virtual machine. When you start the system, proceed in reverse order. Here are some other cost optimization considerations:

  • blue filesThe price depends on many factors: data volume, data redundancy, transaction volume, and the number of file sync servers you use.
  • blue storageCosts depend on your data redundancy configurations and your volume.
  • Virtual machines in this architecture use premium SSDs or ultra-disk SSDs. For more information, seeManaged Disk Pricing.
  • ForExpressRoute, you pay a monthly connection fee and data transfer fees.

To estimate the cost of Azure products and configurations, use theAzure Pricing Calculator. For more information on Stromasys related products and services, visitStromasys website.

Operational excellence

Operational excellence encompasses the operational processes that deliver an application and keep it running in production. For more information, seeGeneral vision of the pillar of Operational Excellence..

For proactive control and management, consider usingAzure-Monitorto monitor Azure services hosting migrated HP-UX workloads.


Performance efficiency is the ability of your workload to scale efficiently to meet user demands. For more information, seeOverview of the energy efficiency pillar.

At least one CPU core is required for the host operating system and two cores per emulated CPU. This solution works best withAzure virtual machines optimized for compute. Compute-optimized virtual machines have a high CPU to memory ratio. HeSerie FXVirtual Machine is a new addition to the F Series. For best performance, we recommend an FX Series Virtual Machine. It is designed for high-frequency computing workloads. It features a base frequency of 3.4 GHz and an all-core turbo clock speed of up to 4.0 GHz. We recommend the FX series for high-end HP-UX workloads.

Fx-series virtual machines come with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of local SSD per CPU core.


This article is managed by Microsoft. It was originally written by the following contributors.

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