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Transoft has reported that it is migrating MWS Wire, a supplier of copper and specialty wire, off its HP 3000. The migration was sparked by HP's exit from the 3000 community, according to IT manager Tomm Carlson.

In a report on the migration provided by Transoft, Carlson took note of the winning combination when he was selecting a route off the HP 3000. Total outsourcing did not appeal to MWS, just like it might not appeal to a lot of HP 3000 customers — a group for whom do-it-yourself has become a mantra over the past two decades and more.

That kind of DIY approach to IT management often springs from the origins of a company's applications. So many HP 3000 customers are running home-grown apps. That was the case at MWS. "We had too many lines of code to re-write our applications," Carlson said. "It would have taken too long, cost us too much and would have been a huge risk for the business."

HP's spark to migrate brings a study of such risks. HP advises its customers that the vendor considers it risky to stay on the 3000. But moving applications of 15 years good service has potential pitfalls, too. Shifting to a new application — a less complex choice in some environments — can mean replication of business logic.

"We did look at other software packages," Carlson said, "but we didn’t want to lose the years of business logic and enhancements we’d made to the applications that are the basis of our business. We needed to maintain the stability we’d enjoyed in our IT environment for so many years."

Transoft is using its Legacy Liberator to help MWS migrate their applications to Microsoft Windows. The target platform will replace COBOL II and IMAGE from the 3000 with MicroFocus COBOL and Microsoft SQL Server for the database. Transoft says the Liberator option will be putting the MWS systems "into a modern platform much faster and with less business risk than re-writing the code or replacing it with packaged software."

“The migration of the MWS Wire mission critical business applications to Windows means that it has one common modern computing environment for all of its IT functions," said Transoft CEO Paul Holland. "Their migration is, therefore, a strategic step ensuring IT continues to meet the needs of the business, a decision driver that is well beyond how long the HP 3000 will continue to be supported.”

The Legacy Liberator tools provide a way to move the 3000's MPE apps to Windows. In the case of MWS Wire, Legacy Liberator is being used to move their VPlus screens to and the IMAGE database to SQL Server.

The bottom line, though, was Transoft's approach to the project: Providing a way to share the work between the MWS staff and its own experts.

"Although we have limited resources," Carlson said, "we didn’t want to completely outsource this project, because we have a very particular environment and wanted to maintain control. Moreover, we felt the knowledge we’d gain by going through the migration process would put us in a much stronger position to manage the new environment. The mix of outside expertise and insider knowledge was the best solution."