HP makes Samba dance longer on 3000
A maiden voyage, sending out on sendmail

Encompass goes Golden tomorrow in LUG meet

The Greater Houston Regional User Group (GHRUG) is the last RUG standing, but Encompass revs up an alternative tomorrow with its Golden State Local User Group. LUGs are the RUGs of Encompass, and this year's Golden State meeting happens in the home court of the former Interex Bay Area Regional User Group (BARUG). At least a couple of HP 3000 veterans will be at the April 25 meeting.

Duane Percox, one of the co-founders of K-12 education software supplier QSS, has told other 3000 gurus he plans to attend the meeting. Also on hand will be Steve Davidek, the newest board member of Encompass and a former advocacy chair for Interex, the HP user group that went bankrupt in 2005. (Not that the bust had anything to do with Davidek, who was nowhere near a fiscal management post for the group.)

The two-hour LUG meeting will take place on HP's campus starting at 1:30; for those of you in the Bay Area who like to Google Map your directions, and have not visited HP's Building 46 Lower office, the exact address is 19091 Pruneridge Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014. The Encompass LUG page promises

This meeting will focus on the discussion of Blade Servers on Integrity, presented by Markus Berber of HP. Snacks and beverages will be provided. For more information contact Mike Stewart at [email protected].

Davidek, who leads the Encompass board efforts on Advocacy (the annual HP worldwide customer satisfaction survey that Interex used to manage, and other advocacy issues for HP enterprise customers), reports that his employer has one hit and one miss on its migration scorecard. But the City of Sparks, Nevada hasn't given up on getting away from all its 3000 applications.

Davidek, who also sits on the Encompass volunteer development committee, said the city's police have made a getaway from their 3000, but Finance will have to take another stab at escape this fall.

Our city Finance system move from the HP 3000 almost two years ago was a bust, as the software vendor picked by our Finance department was unable to work the way they expected it to ā€” we had been live on the system for almost 11 months when the decision was made. Payroll was never able to migrate. Last June we "migrated" back to the 3000.

The city is in the process of finalizing our selection again with a planned migration for late fall of this year. Our Police department successfully moved from their HP 3000 in January of this year.

The bumps in the road away from the 3000 at Davidek's shop follow a common path. A replacement application gets selected, based on referrals and IT's close comparison and examination of features. Perhaps some test runs take place, but sometimes the live 3000 data on information as crucial as payroll is just not available. Or the app just doesn't perform as well as its data sheets did. When the application gets the 3000 data, the roadblocks rise or spring up, depending on how serious and how sudden they appear.

In a worst case, a 3000 that was scheduled for a scrap heap trip gets a reprieve. This case is why the lifespan of the HP 3000 remains hard to define  ā€” for the customer, as well as for HP's support business. 2008, HP reminds us, may not mean the end of life for the 3000 at HP.

Arguments abound on which getaway path is easier: picking commercial off the shelf software packages to replace aging apps, or moving existing code in a migration. The truth is that it depends ā€” on the replacement package chosen and its ability to be customized, versus the money and manpower a customer needs to move existing code in its apps to another environment.