Matt Perdue: Making things work for a long time to come
Can a 3000 server become generic?

Charting the change in weather for shows

Hurricaneseason2006conditions1 Chris Koppe, marketing director of HP Platinum Migration partner Speedware Ltd., has been working to get in touch with the Greater Houston RUG conference organizer Denys Beauchemin via e-mail. Speedware wants to help sponsor the GHRUG conference. We directed Koppe — who now now serves on the Encompass user group board, after serving on the Interex board — toward our March 20 report about the GHRUG conference dates and location, because Koppe wasn't sure if conference was set, or when it would be.

Koppe said he also wants to reach out with Encompass to the GHRUG. And yes, Speedware would like to present some papers at the conference being billed as "the only HP 3000-focused conference" of 2006.

As the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season kicks off this week, it's assuring to know that November's GHRUG dates are beyond the sternest part of hurricane season in the Gulf, although there are always exceptions. Weather doesn't follow a schedule, especially with the Gulf waters remaining warm longer in recent years.

But last year's hurricanes had an impact on the conference schedules around the Gulf. This year, both Encompass and GHRUG are having their shows in Houston. What's more, HP is moving about one-third of the corporation's datacenter operations into Houston. Is HP moving its facilities into harm's way? Hurricane Rita came close to Houston just three weeks after Katrina leveled the levees in New Orleans.

What is it about the pull toward Houston that HP continues to undertake? There's the location of the Compaq resources there in the city, the former headquarters of HP's takeover partner, sure. Too obvious?

On the Internet newsgroups, 3000 users are discussing Katrina, even now, more than nine months on from the disaster. I think of Katrina -- and Rita -- when I think about HP's recent decision to consolidate its 85 datacenters into six. Two of them are in Houston. HP said it picked the three cities on several factors, including the cities' safety from natural disasters. I can understand that a little for the centers in Austin (it floods here, but there's high ground on the old Tandem site in North Austin), and even in Atlanta.

But when I consider how close Rita came to Houston, I wonder if HP isn't fooling itself about Houston's safety, being so close to the Gulf.

If you're considering a registration to either conference — Encompass and the HP Tech Forum open up the online registration on Wednesday, June 1 — try not to let the weather scare you off. There's much to be learned at either of these conferences. The lessons probably won't include evacuation procedures. A record four major hurricanes hit the US last year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), America's weather service, is predicting a lively 2006 hurricane season, however.

It might be a minor tempest compared to the challenge of transition for 3000 customers who have waited for 2006 to begin. Both of these conferences have potential to set a clearer path to safe waters.