A high-temperature company has weathered the cold news of HP’s 3000 exit without relying on full-time IT staff — just two outsourced experts. To make a transition from its HP 3000 systems, Aerocraft Heat Treating, a small-to-medium sized business (SMB), used a toolset from ScreenJet, a database from Eloquence, and a development environment from AcuCOBOL. Together with 25 years of outsourced 3000 experience, the combination got Aerocraft migrated in less than a year.
While the hardware aspects of the migration — as well as the conversion of 40 reports from Cognos to Crystal Reports — were handled by Data Pacifica’s Jay Jakowsky, Bob Karlin of Karlins' Korner waded in to transition software of a 16-user operation from an A-Class HP 3000 to a pair of Dell servers running Windows.
The migration eliminated Hewlett-Packard from Aerocraft’s shop. HP is no longer serving computer needs at the company, founded in 1959, which uses 18 gas-fired atmosphere furnaces to treat steel, titanium and high temperature materials. Its clients are aerospace firms like Boeing and manufacturers such as General Electric.
The novelty of this migration? It's one of the first SMB businesses reporting on their own HP 3000 applications that they had migrated — rather than an SMB using a packaged app, and so having their vendor migrate them. Aerocraft is a small manufacturing company, typical of many of the HP 3000 shops
This story provides one answer to the question, "How is it possible to have your own applications migrated if you're an SMB?"
Adam Lynch is the company’s general manager and oversees all aspects of computing. Lynch managed several Y2K projects and has done multiple ERP implementations. He hired Jakowsky to guide the migration, which started in early 2005 and completed last November.
Karlin, long a community contributor to the 3000 through service on COBOL committees, user groups and consultants’ forums, brought extensive experience in Visual Basic, .NET and Windows environments along with MPE expertise in subjects like VPlus and HP’s COBOL II. But he also tapped the ScreenJet-AcuCOBOL combination to move 40 programs and 80 VPlus screens.
Thanks to the compatibility of those tools, as well as Marxmeier Software’s Eloquence, Karlin believes that Aerocraft migrated two to three times faster.
“I’d say that we saved one to two years,” he said. “It would have been a rewrite instead of a migration. Virtually everything was plug-compatible. I was able to move the entire database over in a week.”
Migrating to the Wintel solution gave Aerocraft a major boost in performance, using the Eloquence database. Karlin estimated that “When we moved from the 3000 to the Windows server, we had an increase of performance of between 4:1 to 10:1.”
The cost savings between the two sets of hardware were nowhere near as great, he added. Karlin estimated that the two rack-mounted Dell servers came in at half of the price of the 3000 system they replaced.