The end of life can be a harrowing time or a peaceful transition. Comfort plays a part in the type of ending for your experience, whether that experience is as vital as life itself, or relatively less crucial events like turning off your company's HP 3000.
One way to comfort is hospice, a concept some of us know as loving care with little hope of recovery. Hospice is behind the Idea Computer VM 9 offering, the one we described in yesterday's blog entry. VM 9 makes non-3000 PA-RISC processors looks and act like HP 3000s — but MPE/iX systems with extra horsepower, unfettered processors, as well as connectivity which HP didn't bring to the 3000 community. SCSI runs faster, for example, on a L-Class PA-RISC system.
One kind of customer might look at the VM 9 offering and see a company trying to keep HP from accomplishing its goals for the 3000 community: the safe and timely migrations of the 3000 customer to a platform with a brighter future in HP's vision. But like anything in this life, the virtual machine offering for the 3000 customer can be viewed from another perspective.
Ideal, it seems to me, is using its exclusive technology to modify PA-RISC stable storage, with the goal of helping customers get to the end of life for their 3000s' missions. The difference is comfort.
As explained to me by Ideal COO Steve Pirie, customers have little budget for investing in another, bigger HP 3000 to keep up with the mission-critical work while their migration projects amble toward completion. No matter what the price of a refurbished, second-hand 3000, the cost to acquire another capital asset can be a budget buster for a certain size of 3000 site.
These sites are among the chief targets for the VM 9 solution. Death with dignity is the mantra for both the overall hospice concept, as well as the end of HP's lie for the 3000 business. "Death with dignity to an old friend" was the complete phrase Pirie used last summer, when Ideal began to talk about its Generic REplacement Boxes, the genesis for the VM 9 solution. Over the course of a winding drive into the East Bay area, to an office hard by the I-880 freeway, he told enough stories of the 3000's yesteryears to earn his marks as a friend to the community.
He's been through the challenges and battles of offering third party support for the 3000 during the 1980s. It was a time when the vendor often tried to sue or slow down legitimate businesses who wanted their piece of the often-profitable support busines.
Does a friend take a hand in the decline of a long admired player like the HP 3000? Sometimes, if they have concern for the comfort and dignity of that decline.
I asked, "Could these VM 9 solutions last five years?" Pirie said yes.
"Ten years?" He didn't hesitate. "Yes, they could."
So what's the difference between offering hardware solutions that long — 2017 is only 10 years away from the true finish line for the 3000, 2027 and the expiration of the CALENDAR intrinsic — and just selling to offer comfort?
"If we hear from the customer that they don't believe the 3000 is going away? If they say yes, we walk out," Pirie said. That's hospice. "It means you're going to be comfortable for the rest of your life."