Be thankful you can make a difference
Migrators advise: set aside lots of time

Migrations earn credit from testing, tools

Summit Information Systems is leading the way among HP 3000 software vendors in migrations to Unix. Dick Drollinger reported the company had migrated 52 of its customers by October, using an application written for HP-UX that's in its fourth revision. Summit rolled out its first Unix version of its credit union application in 2003.

Some of the credit union computer professionals are announcing their migrations on the SU-Talk mailing list, a Yahoo group. One noted that his ISO 9001 training at a software company helped him move through the migration process once he landed at Rogue Federal Credit Union in Medford, Oregon. Rogue has more than 41,000 members and assets of $340 million. Scott Curwood, the Information Services Administrator at the credit union, said the ISO training he brought to Rogue "was a good experience that has allowed me to apply those same stringent testing policies to other areas like our Unix migration."

Drollinger said Summit has been preparing well in advance of their actual cutover dates, so the migration appears to be accomplished over a weekend. In fact, he added, most of the tellers and loan officers don't even know they've got a Unix system to replace the HP 3000. ""The front office staff — the teller and lenders — don't even know there's a change," he said during a talk this fall. "It's all the back office staff that gets the opportunity to learn new things."

Drollinger said the vendor's clients do the entire data migration and the live cutover on a weekend. It takes about 18 hours. Summit preps the client by having them use the UC4 job scheduler, "primarily because it runs on MPE and HP-UX, so we could make these migrations to this job scheduler much earlier.

“We move all of our code and do all of our testing on our platforms," he explained at the HP Technology Forum. "Then we have a factory process when we go to the client, so we move their UC4 JCL over to scripts, and they start testing. Then they do between eight and 10 test data migrations before they go live. They will test every program that they use for approximately three months. By the time live migration weekend comes, it’s pretty much a non-issue.”

Eloquence is at the heart of the new application, a database Drollinger praised for its speed. "The performance enhancements are substantial," he said. "It will run with anybody. It's an excellent database." Summit is finishing off audit reports this fall so its customers can tell who made changes to the database, what time they made them, and from what IP address they were working.

Summit has been working longer on making a transition to an HP 3000 alternative than any other application vendor in the MPE space. The company began its project in 1999, and Drollinger said Summit would have announced its Unix alternative to the credit unions on its own, if HP had delayed its discontinuance decision another six months.

Customers who've offered their testimonials on the Yahoo group have said how anti-climatic their migration weekend unfolded. But a few have noted the lack of drama was a result of plenty of planning and testing beforehand. We'll have more on that tomorrow.