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October 12, 2009

HMS host makes do with 3000 hosts for now

HMSHost Last week we reported on a pair of 3000s running the duty free shop at two US airports. They're not alone. Brian Edminster, who manages the duty-free application and the 3000s, called to report on two more airports running the server as well as a HQ system. HMS Host, the customer, once consolidated retail services for 20 airports' duty free shops on the HQ's 3000.

HMS Host was listed as a 3000 customer on the OpenMPE online roster, compiled several years ago. The company is exiting the 3000 user community as quickly as it can, but customized applications like the duty-free app keep HMS in the fold for now, probably into 2010.

"There's still value in the business logic," said Edminster, who's studied the application with its creator since the middle '90s. He thinks the retail app is so sound that it could be used in a small chain of department stores.

Whatever the future value of the duty-free app at the HMS-run airport shops, the program is getting the job done there. HP continues to service this customer with support, but Edminster is the key link to keeping the shops online. This relationship defines one share of the 3000 community: stable apps maintained by third parties with no products or support to track for anybody who's counting the 3000 populace.

Do these stable-to-static apps, whose days are numbered, count as 3000 customers? Perhaps, if your business is selling application support for static systems. Certainly, if you're ready to provide front-line support for the OS and apps, like Edminster's Applied Technologies does. Not so much, if you want to sell a migration tool or a professional engagement.

A customer in this category -- which I would call an interim homesteader -- often has a project in play to make its exit, even if the timeline is fuzzy. At HMS the company has moved much of its operations onto SAP, Edminster reports. In-house resources do this migration work. What's more, at HMS the company has a fall-back plan if the 3000 apps cannot be folded in the massive SAP solution suite.

These four HP 3000s -- three 9x8s and one A-Class server -- could be taken offline and out of HMS if 1. The company gets out of the duty-free shop business altogether, or 2. HMS hands off its duty-free to the Portugal-based sister company that manages other duty-free with a PC-based server configuration.

Remote apps that serve US airports starts to creep into cloud computing, with a resource attached via networks and tapped by users via PCs in the shops. The sticking point is the networking into and out of major US airports, those built before the 1990s. "It's flaky at best," Edminster says of the airport network service. 

05:27 PM in Homesteading, Migration, Newsmakers, User Reports | Permalink

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