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June 2007

CAMUS conference registration closes soon

The ERP and manufacturing user group CAMUS is closing its registration very soon for its mid-July conference. On July 3, registration will wrap up for the July 16-18 meeting at the Holiday Inn Brentwood, in Nashville. The 3000 app MANMAN, still working at a surprising number of HP 3000 shops to serve manufacturing firms, is at the heart of CAMUS members' knowledge.

These people have a lot of experience to share, on both homesteading and migration of HP 3000 systems.

The group has a lineup of experienced speakers to cover two full days of paid training — and at a good price — $350 for a CAMUS member, $450 for a non-member. Plus, a free training day follows on the 18th. You can even register separately for the free day. (They even have a "Stump the Stars" meeting on the free day, for consulting via meeting-room Q&A at no charge.)

Registration, including the capability to pay online with a credit card, is at the conference reg page. More details about the speakers and the lineup are at the meeting's schedule page and on a additional information page.

SWC gotcha on HP systems

Regardless of your HP platform — either the HP 3000 or a target migration system — you will now want to watch for PC system hangs while using HP's Secure Web Console.

The SWC became a new tool for the 3000 several years ago. As our Homesteading Editor Gilles Schipper noted in a November, 2005 article, the SWC lets a 3000 manager "enjoy 100 percent full console capability, including system reboot, for your 3000 from the comfort of your home or any other location remote from the actual HP3000."

But a snag has appeared in using the SWC. It's not just with the 3000, either, according to OpenMPE director Donna Garverick. This detail is the kind of report that OpenMPE will be able to provide in 2009, once HP licenses MPE/iX source to the group.

PCs running Java 1.6 will hang when trying to download the .jar file from HP’s Secure Web Console running the a2.0 firmware  — but they will connect to devices running older firmware.  Java releases prior to this work with all (recent) SWC firmware revs.

Continue reading "SWC gotcha on HP systems" »

HP blows up marketing real good

As my last official duty at last week's Technology Forum, I watched a fun film. HP produced it, and HP 3000 Business Manager Jennie Hou escorted me onto the closed expo floor to watch the film from the HP booth, just to make sure I'd seen it.

Disaster_button In a prior report, I mentioned the HP booth at the Tech Forum was big enough to require a tour guide. (I found the tour useful and enjoyable. In fact, one of the cooler parts of it was listening to the guide's voice over her headset follow her. Zoned speakers picked her up from point to point around the HP exhibits area.)

The film — which works as an HP marketing piece — unreeled in an unlikely spot at the booth: The HP NonStop display. HP used C4 explosive to make a bang-up demonstration of how a disaster would mean no more than two minutes of downtime. As they used to say on the SCTV show "Farm Film Report," HP blowed up its computers real good.

After watching HP's film, I believe the old "marketing sushi as cold, dead fish" image of HP's communications is long dead — or just as blowed-up as the computer configuration in the film. As an added touch, HP's Jack Mauger, Product Manager of the Business Continuity Products in the NonStop Enterprise Division, stood boothside wearing a white lab coat with the HP logo on the back. "Costume," he called it, in another repudiation of HP as an inept marketing firm. Perhaps being Number One in the IT marketplace brings budget enough to produce such drama.

Dsc04826 Mauger was also passing out portions of the exploded computer, encased in a handsome lucite block. (Click on the image at left if you're "ready for a close-up, Mr. DeMille.") I haven't had such an HP paperweight for my desk since the early 1990s. This one takes its place next to the Precision Risc Organization clock from the same era. Perhaps only time will be able to erase the Itanium-based systems, much as the calendar has caught up with PA-RISC designs.

Continue reading "HP blows up marketing real good" »

HP's end of patch days remains unclear

It's not exactly news, but the update on HP's patching futures did not change at the recent HP Technology Forum. HP continues to work on useful enhancements and needed fixes for the 3000. These repairs and improvements, like new disk support and more secure FTP, arrive in the form of patches.

HP builds the software and tests it in its own labs. Then it goes out for public beta testing. Only HP support customers can test a patch. At the moment, more than 80 of HP's patches, for MPE/iX versions ranging from 6.5 through 7.5, remain in beta test. So, only HP support customers can download these enhancements and repairs, until the testing is completed to HP's standards

Last year HP was considering whether the non-HP-support customers could test patches. No decision has been made during the past 13 months.

HP's plans to wrap up this process are in-process, we learned after asking at the Technology Forum. Possible plans include setting free all the beta patches available once HP's public patch creation process ends; leaving the beta patches in limbo, unreleased; or perhaps passing them off to a third party which holds a limited license to patch MPE/iX during 2009 and beyond.

Continue reading "HP's end of patch days remains unclear" »

2009 support from HP, for a few, maybe

At last week's HP Technology Forum, HP introduced the concept of supporting HP 3000 customers beyond 2008. Jennie Hou, HP's 3000 business manager, cautioned the crowd of fewer than 30 in a small Forum meeting room that HP isn't extending its basic support for the entire user base beyond 2008.

Hou was specific in an interview after the meeting. "There may still be customers out there looking for help from HP," she said. "We will be looking at specific customer needs, and we will evaluate those needs based on local capabilities. It may not be a worldwide program. It's really on an individual basis."

Hou wanted to be sure that customers understand: HP's global message on 3000 futures hasn't changed. HP wants you to exit this platform. The vendor believes the risk of running a 3000 is increasing. Any post-2008 support from HP will only be available on a special contract basis. What's more, HP isn't even sure that any customers are going to want HP's support for the 3000 beyond 2008.

HP is calling the program Customized Legacy Support. Customers who qualify will be able to receive "site-specific patches, and workarounds." Hou said that HP will be shutting down its general release patch process at the end of 2008 — meaning no new patches will be available for download from HP's IT Response Center (ITRC) after December 31, 2008. As of January 1, 2009, what you'll see in the HP patch site for the 3000 is what you will get.

Continue reading "2009 support from HP, for a few, maybe" »

Looking for a handful of good directors

As the Encompass HP user group wraps up a successful conference, another group of users builds up its experience and energy — also on a push toward an annual meeting. The Greater Houston Regional User Group (GHRUG) has issued a call for nominations to the group's board of directors. Five seats are up for grabs on the 10-member board. Current members include much HP 3000 experience, but also specialize in computing on Windows, Unix, Linux and HP-UX platforms.

Nominations are for five directors, with a nomination deadline of July 12. You can nominate a co-worker or colleague, but be sure you get the okay from your nominee before submitting it to GHRUG. The voting starts on Friday, July 20, and runs through Tuesday, July 31st. Submit a nomination, or toss your own hat into the ring, by e-mailing GHRUG President Richard Pringle at [email protected]

GHRUG holds a special spot in the heart of the 3000 community. No other user group in North America represents the HP 3000 homesteading user so completely. This past week we surveyed the work of Encompass to maintain a modest lineup of HP 3000 migration-related talks. In addition to a broader array of 3000 training, GHRUG is also planning to offer soft skills training at its next conference. But that meeting will be an affair that's far smaller than the vast enterprise which Encompass just closed up this week, all complete with a Grammy-winning band at the farewell party.

And that's okay, as Stuart Smalley might say. A modest conference is more in keeping with a computer community that's now marking its 34th year. GHRUG gives the 3000 professional a chance to extend their network through board service, as well as spice up a resume and add new platform exposure.

Swank show floor draws quality customers

Speakmpe Nary a homesteading provider can be found among the HP Technology Forum Expo exhibits, unless you count longtime 3000 friends such as MB Foster (whose MPE sign is shown left) and Speedware, companies both supporting sustainability plans as well as making migrations happen. But there is no reason to expect that kind of exhibitor here, a place where a new HP future would be on the minds of most 3000 attendees.

Few were in attendance at yesterday's 3000 updates and advisories. Head count never topped two dozen for the main talk by HP's Jennie Hou and engineers Craig Fairchild and Jeff Bandle. Nine bodies were present for the OpenMPE update. A stronger turnout listened to migration advice from HP partners Softvoyage, Summit-Fiserv, Oy Porasto AB and HP's own Kevin Cooper. (Cooper mentioned in passing that he's worked with the HP 3000 since 1976, from internal IT development through SE service and on to performance management.)

Floor07 But the expo floor did display a torrent of information about HP destinations for migrations, as well as a few outposts where the remarketed HP 3000 gear was on offer. Baypointe and Canvas took out booths to attract buyers of used systems and prospect to rent HP 3000s, HP 9000s and more, respectively. DB-Net offered a look at a new interface which migrates 3000 databases in just two clicks on a screen. MicroFocus and Acucorp cozied up in a booth to show off the latest in COBOL technology, promising a July 11 Webcast update on merging their product lines. And most vendors said that if the show traffic was light, the quality of the contact more than made up for the quantity.

Elvis07 The innovation on the floor extended to entertainment, of course. Voodoo Systems, makers of the Superdome of gaming computers, sat attendees in a racing car with response of rocking a chassis as well as the high-grade visuals and audio blasts. HP conducted a tour of its vast acreage of systems, solutions and storage, 15 minutes that featured more than 20 stops, with a USB reader as a door prize. And Elvis rode a Segue scooter, then talked with Marilyn Monroe. Why not — it is Vegas, after all. The Smothers Brothers are headlining here in town, and the Commodores are coming soon, too.

Cafe07 Off in a quiet corner of the expo floor, attendees could shoot pool or shoot the breeze with each other at the Connections Cafe. The Cafe was a new element to the Forum, a place to follow through on contacts from the social networking software which Encompass made available to registered attendees in the weeks before the show. HP had dedicated spaces in the Cafe to meet with prospects and customers which they'd enticed to the Forum. Comfy chairs and sofas provided another kind of software. Rock-solid wireless access beamed to every corner of the show hall.

Continue reading "Swank show floor draws quality customers" »

Conference debut now checked off Craig's list

Stanmug HP's 3000 business manager Jennie Hou had just announced the latest e3000 Contributor Award winner. After giving hearty congratulations to Stan Sieler of Allegro Consultants (pictured at left), Hou introduced another new but seasoned element to the 3000 community: Craig Fairchild, selected to begin to fill the "very big shoes," as he said, of retired 3000 engineer Jeff Vance.

Fairchild (pictured below, keeping the faith at the HP e3000 booth at the conference), has been working on the HP 3000 since 1985. He rolled into his presentation like he's been ready for more than 20 years to communicate directly with customers. His first mission in HP's 3000 update meeting was to introduce the SCSI pass through drivers for MPE/iX, a bit of engineering coming to a 7.5 beta test patch near you.

Fairchild07 Part of Fairchild's duties will be reminding the community about opportunities such as this driver, software which will let HP 3000s utilize storage devices that haven't been officially certified as 3000 peripherals. All support bets are off, but at least the lack of a 4GB drive from HP's parts list won't keep a 3000 offline, thanks to the driver.

Fairchild was introducing another example of the sort of technology Vance offered up often: designs for the future of using a 3000, no matter how long that future looks to a customer. He stepped to the microphone apologizing for a voice weak after ferrying schoolkids on a lengthy trek last week. But his ease and affability spoke even louder.

Continue reading "Conference debut now checked off Craig's list" »

HP turns up the jets to go green

I bumped into a bonus moment yesterday while I crossed the vast acres of the HP Technology Forum. Locating my last elevator, I held the door for an HP employee. He trundled an HP blade unit on a luggage cart behind him while he juggled a small metal component that looked like the service end of a blow-dryer.

"That's some pretty interesting gear you've got there," I began.

Engines07 As the elevator started to move, he looked up. "Oh darn, I thought we were going down. Oh well." He saw me staring at the blade and the blower end.

"It's our new cooling units," he explained, cutting across miles of PR and media relations tape with a friendly comment. "It's great." He beamed a wide smile. "My team helped develop it."

The engineer was holding a crucial component in HP's speed toward green computing: new cooling components that get rid of fan propellers to use a jet engine design instead. Runs quiet, draws less juice. HP is looking at many ways to keeping the power bill down in lots of IT operations, even its own. On Monday CEO Mark Hurd said HP's own datacenters will save enough electricity to power Palo Alto for a year, once all the new green engineering is in place.

Later that day I heard another story about the new jet coolers. An HP customer in the Bay Area had seen a video of HP's design engineers hooking the new cooling components up to model racecars with wireless controls. The new coolers were acting like afterburners on the racers.

Now that's cool.

HP flies security flag from florid stage

Before the anthems of a seven-piece band launched from behind HP's stagy podium, us journalists spent our Monday afternoon playing a news version of speed-dating. In blocks of 30 minutes, one atop another in a room packed with 10 other interviews going on at once, we quizzed HP executives on the latest in storage and security.

HP announced its Secure Advantage Portfolio, a new castle keep devoted to protecting data through advanced encryption, a new Identity Center dashboard and anti-phishing toolbar, servers, storage and services.

Dsc04769 "This lets customers fine-tune their level of security commensurate with their appetite for risk," said  Montserrat Mane, a security practice principal for HP Services. "This model is multidimensional, blending standards from industry, ISO and HP's own best practices."

During the afternoon's interviews, one HP official after another invoked the name of ITIL, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library best practices guidebooks. ITIL received its "V3 refresh," as HP called it, within the last year. The company referred to it often to explain how best practices are driving the HP offerings.

To nobody's surprise, the new security offerings have little to offer the HP 3000-only shops. But for a customer with more HP platforms than the ones which run on MPE/iX, the Secure Advantage can step up protection, for customers with an appetite for costs and little appetite for risk.

Dsc04771 HP's appetite for costs appeared to have increased at HP CEO Mark Hurd's keynote speech, starting at 5 PM after the speed-dating ended. The Technology Forum hosted the meeting in the massive Mandalay Bay Events Center, a 10,000-seat arena with tiered seating. The Mandalay hosts concerts and prize fights in the Center, but no blows of contention were flying Monday evening. Where such arenas in the Interex era hosted combative questions, yesterday's presentation was the love-fest Encompass president Nina Buik had promised.

Instead of hard questions flyingDsc04781 , acrobats flew up and down wires from the catwalks to the stage where Hurd stood, looking bemused and in command. Striking policy announcements and profound product introductions were not on Hurd's teleprompters. He told the story of how HP has been working to change its IT expense ratio from 80 percent maintenance to 80 percent innovation — and how HP could help its customers do that, too.

HP had one significant restriction, however. "We had to do it all with our stuff," Hurd said. "You all don't have that problem, although I hope you do."

Continue reading "HP flies security flag from florid stage" »

HP finds it easier to be green

LAS VEGAS — Before a room full of international press and analysts, HP rolled out its update to storage solutions for the rest of the enterprise family. The advances aimed first at Windows enterprise platforms. Other operating environments will deliver what HP considers a unique advantage to storage management: the ability to control thin provisioning of (Logical Unit Numbers) LUNs, both in expansion as well as shrinking of the storage available on disks in arrays.

HP also touted its rating as one of the green vendors in disk storage at the press event at the HP Technology Forum. New LTO-4 tape untils cut the storage array power and cooling costs by 50 percent, the vendor said. New DAT 160 tape drives, aimed at small and medium businesses like those 3000 customers migrating off the platform, rolled off the press release line along with the first Storage Works tape product developed exclusively for HP BladeSystem c-Class enclosures.

"Everybody thinks tape is dead," said HP executive Mark Stalling. "The truth is that there still is no lower-cost way to store data than with tape."

StorageWorks EVA 4100, 6100 and 8100 midrange arrays use new software technologies such as EVA Dynamic Capacity management to optimize hard drive utilitzation.

"The most expensive storage is the storage you have to buy today," Stalling said. The new provisioning technology forestalls the need to add disk by letting customers dial back the capacity of a LUN on the fly. Windows enterprise systems, especially the blade servers, will be the first to receive the new provisioning software.

The solution starts at under $10,000 and runs up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement, HP said. Other HP enterprise environments will follow, HP said. MPE/iX is not among the environments to support the new array and tape provisioning.

So much to see, so far to go

The conference halls loom all around me here at the HP Technology Forum. Hundreds and hundreds — and hundreds — of yards in the Mandalay Bay complex spread out under my feet, the bright polished marble underneath, while the occassional casino-resort signs overhead beckon, leading along very long hallways: Events Center. North Convention Center. South Convention Center. Shark Reef.

No kidding. The Mandalay's signature attraction, other than the riches promised in the casino, is a shark exhibit. (Insert your own joke here.) The scale of the facility is vast, large enough to match the reach of the world's Number One IT supplier. The last time I walked this far between meeting rooms, however, the facility was ghastly: Detroit's Cobo Hall during the Interex 1986 show. (Back when the user group event was not tied so close as to be called HP World.) To be certain, that event — where the delay of PA-RISC was the top topic — was not organized with the military precision of the 2007 Tech Forum.

But it's been a twisty beginning to my 23rd North American HP user conference. The only way I can find the meeting room for my series of interviews is to enlist the aid of a kindly Mandalay Bay security cop. I am grateful enough to call him my guide dog. He replies with a grin that he has a doberman at home, but found the meeting room among a warren of them, hidden in a deep passage just on the other side of the staff break rooms.

Ribbons Encompass president Nina Buik told me a few months ago that the user group was glad to have improved its curb appeal with a Las Vegas show. There are miles and miles of those curbs to walk along this week. The last time an HP conference for users was held in this town, the legendary Sands casino was still standing and Ronald Reagan was still president. Twenty years later a new mountain range of casino-resorts has risen in the hundred-degree town, poking up spires like so many HP business groups, built on the bedrock of the Compaq merger.

On a rack in one of the Mandalay's wide lobbies — so wide that a semi truck can pass unfettered — a stand of adhesive badges sparkles. RIBBONS, the display says. The array of small squares stamped with silver letters lays out the known future for an HP customer or prospect. From the CP of Channel Partner to the DSPP of a registered developer to the marginal marriage of "Windows on HP," each of these squares can be tacked under a name badge.

Alas, to no one's surprise, no "MPE/iX" ribbons. PA-RISC holds on, but has its days numbered, two decades after the world demanded its arrival in Detroit. This is a conference which looks to a new future with HP, instead of the past, or an ongoing tomorrow without the vendor. HP 3000 community members are coming here to make plans for something new from HP, or hear from fellow vendors and experts about how to make better use of something else from Hewlett-Packard.

Continue reading "So much to see, so far to go" »

Now serving 3000 news in our third year

We began our broadcast of weekday news on this blog in mid-June of 2005, and nothing has been the same since. Our time to deliver news has dropped from several weeks (compared to the monthly print format, plus e-mail updates) to less than 24 hours. This newsblog has extended the restrictions of space while it compresses the time to market for our product: what's happening, important or changing in the 3000 community can be written at whatever length the subject needs. All the news fits online, searched easily by the customer.

So today we celebrate entering the third year of this online journal, a record of HP's efforts and the community's advocacy, the advice from those who've left the platform and the reasons to remain from the homesteading citizens of Planet 3000. We began our online journey with a celebration of Bruce Toback, just then recently passed on after a legacy of 3000 advice and innovation, all delivered over the Internet.

During that first week we also wrote about Sun's treatment of operating system source code (a wide-open policy, quite different from HP's restraint of MPE/iX source) as well as the help Quest Software provided for migrating HP 3000 shops. HP-UX was rising as the target for 3000 migration projects, but still running behind Windows as a destination.

In no time, it seems, the blog drew its faithful support from the community, the tasteful ads with interactive links to the providers, all riding at a reasonable distance from the content — content that has always been king here and key to the 3000 NewsWire's 12 years of success. We thank our sponsors, who help us keep the electrons lit up to ferry the news into your laptops and onto your desktops. Many have left the community during the past two years, but our awareness of who's remaining has been extended by the blog format.

Among the departed, we recently noted three HP employees, men who either moved out of the 3000 group or retired from the company. Just this week we learned those departures were the 10 percent of the iceberg of retirements. We've watched and reported on the exit of all of the significant community players. Just this month Norco, the 3000 hardware broker based in Northeast Ohio, called to pull employees off our mailing list — because Norco is closing its doors.

Continue reading "Now serving 3000 news in our third year" »

Got a turnkey DR solution?

Most HP 3000 installations have a disaster recovery plan, right? After all, the 3000s that are still in service do the enterprise-grade computing, handling mission-critical data for thousands of companies around the world.

But an HP 3000 DR solution usually needs to be a turnkey one — that is, the systems which feed the 3000 data from the outside, then deliver data back out, need to be protected, too. Linux is becoming a popular add-on platform for 3000 owners, managing everything from firewalls to EDI transactions. So the question a 3000 customer must face is, "What about the rest of your enterprise systems — can you recover them from a disaster?"

Matt Purdue, who also holds a seat on the OpenMPE board of directors, offers such a turnkey DR solution now. His Hill Country Technologies firm (210-861-3000) can manage Windows and Linux DR as well as supply whatever recovery plan a customer needs for HP 3000 apps. Turnkey, apparently, isn't very common among companies providing 3000 DR.

Sometimes national DR providers like Sunguard operate by giving customers travelling orders in the event of a disaster. Go to this city, they tell IT managers, where duplicate equipment and IT staff await. Hill Country's DR plan is triggered by a phone call, with no travel required. Not even out of bed, if that's where the 3000 manager learns of the disaster.

Purdue contacted us to spread the word that he's assembled a team to provide DR support across a complete array of enterprise systems. Linux was foremost in his offer,  both because he's seeing more of it now, and it's got potential that matches up with Perdue's experience.

Continue reading "Got a turnkey DR solution?" »

Satisfied or not, tell HP

Hplogo Every year since the 1980s, the 3000 community's user group has conducted an HP Customer Satisfaction Survey. This year's poll is being handled by user group Encompass. One of its board members who leads the survey has asked for HP 3000 customers to take the survey — because last year's numbers kept HP 3000 questions off of the poll.

HP and Encompass are taking responses until June 28

"From its humble beginnings as an Interex survey for MPE users, it now covers all the current HP Enterprise product lines," said Steve Davidek, a board member who guided the Interex advocacy efforts before joining Encompass. Davidek needs more participation from 3000 sites.

"This year, we are again working with the HP worldwide user groups to get your opinions of HP and its current product line. I emphasize “current” as last year we only had 29 people pick MPE as their major system and we were not able to include questions on MPE systems (this response rate was down from 47 the year before).  This makes the sample too small to be statistically valid." 

Validation of the platform which started the survey — something of a bit of irony — is only one benefit of participation, a process that requires nothing but a little bit of your time. You can also tell HP how it's doing in making a migration plan ready, or sound off on something like customer contracts.

Continue reading "Satisfied or not, tell HP" »

Encompass seeks new directors

Encompass_logo HP's enterprise user group Encompass put out its call today for a new set of nominees to its upcoming board elections, as the organization reaches out to involve customers from every HP platform. The board already counts HP 3000 talent from Speedware's Chris Koppe and City of Sparks, Nevada's Steve Davidek. Both have been instrumental in the transfer of knowledge from the Interex user group.

The deadline for submitting an application for candidacy is Friday, July 6. The Encompass Nominating Committee will interview all applicants, and the slate of those selected to run will be announced on the Encompass Web site on July 25. 

Community members can apply at the Encompass Web site nomination page. More information and an FAQ on the process is also available at the site, along with briefs on the current slate of directors.

Continue reading "Encompass seeks new directors" »

Spread out to max storage upgrades

Ron Keiper of the Nielsen Company asked how to maximize storage performance in his upgrade to HP’s XP series of disk arrays, linked to an HP 3000. This kind of upgrade is common in a site which is either homesteading or buying more time during a migration project.

We are in the process of migrating our HVD10 storage to an XP256 via FW-SCSI and IO Expansion (1828A) cabinets. Our performance testing thus far shows a large increase in CPU pause and disk queuing on the XP256 system. Job run time is similar, within 5-10 minutes on a one-hour job. I have seen many reports about the XP being a great deal faster, but we are not seeing that and have concerns about moving forward with our storage migration. I am wondering if it is set up properly for best performance.

The XP is set up Raid 1, I believe, (OPEN-9 in DSTAT) and are set up as HPDARRAY in SYSGEN. Is that the correct sysgen ID for the XP? There are a similar number of drives/LUNs on both of our test volume sets. The HVD is setup as Mirror/iX.

Craig Lalley of Echo Tech responds:

The XP256 is a decent box, but only half the speed of the XP512. The LDEV assignment within the XP is very important when it comes to performance.  Did you spread your LDEVs across ACPs and raidgroups?

You didn’t mention how much Array Cache you have in the XP256. Keep in mind the XP storage array is cache centric, meaning everything goes through cache. With the XP256, I would max out the array cache.

Continue reading "Spread out to max storage upgrades" »

Early bird discount ends today for ERP conference

A host of HP 3000 experts, brandishing experience on manufacturing enterprises, will appear at next month's CAMUS User Conference in Nashville. A bargain at its full price, and including a free day of training, the July  16-18 CAMUS show offers an extra $50 discount which ends today.

The CAMUS early bird rate was extended from May 18 through June 8 for the conference, a meeting which will focus on both the homesteading and migration practices for companies that use ERP applications. MANMAN is the app focus for the meeting, but the advice offered — for only $400 to non-members, $300 to members, through today — applies to just about any manufacturing enterprise.

Online registration, at, closes on July 3. Speakers at the event include ERP guru Terry Floyd of the Support Group inc., Terri Glendon Lanza of ERP consultancy ASK TERRI, Chris Jones of Ask On Consulting, Michael Litz of the Lincoln Whitman Group, and Ali Saadat of Quantum Software Corp. CAMUS is announcing a raft of customers running 3000 enterprises who will offer advice, too.

Continue reading "Early bird discount ends today for ERP conference" »

Climbing HP's new 3000 chain of command

Jenniehou Jennie Hou is just finishing up her first week as the business manager for HP's 3000 operations this week. However, the veteran of more than two decades of 3000 experience is experiencing a different reporting chain than her predecessor Dave Wilde.

It can become difficult to determine what a change in an HP org chart means, especially in an era when every HP communique carries securities and investment impact. By the late 1990s, HP stopped distributing org charts to the press for the division and sector-level managers. Things changed too often. The saying inside the community: "If the ink is dry on that org chart, it must be out of date."

So understanding HP reorganizations has become something like Kremlinology, that old guessing game where the West's analysts would try to figure the Soviet pecking order by the leaders' relative positions in the May Day review stands. That said, HP's business manager now has a report within the 3000 "virtual division" according to accounts from those with internal access to the group.

Continue reading "Climbing HP's new 3000 chain of command" »

Encompass hosts a training fest with HP

In the final part of our Q&A interview with new Encompass president Nina Buik, we learn what it's like to work alongside HP to create a conference — like the HP Technology Forum, whose edition this month got created in 75 percent of the usual yearly time-frame. Buik tells why the moved-up schedule seemed like a good choice for the user group, which built the content along with the Tandem user group ITUG.

Buik, who's been on the Encompass board of directors since 2005, said the user group loves its relationship with HP, the vendor that gives the group a meaning and a constituency. With many other ways to connect to a vendor now, a user group needs to keep its ties to the system creators as tight as possible.

To make a user group viable and nimble, a cozy relationship with a vendor and volunteer help remain essential. We wondered how the HP 3000 community's volunteers and former Interex members have taken to the Encompass offering.

Does Encompass need the volunteer resource of the HP 3000 and Interex community, or is the resource of dedicated OpenVMS members enough for the group?

    We want representation from all facets of the HP enterprise technology community. That’s what makes us whole, a user group that is truly an enterprise technology user group. A lot of people like to complain, but they don’t really want to be part of the solution. We don’t mind the venting, but be part of the solution.

How do you feel about the level of 3000 member involvement in your user group? Has there been good response to those offers of Encompass membership at a sizable discount?

    Free is definitely a sizable discount. For the first year after Interex closed its doors, we offered former members free membership. Many took us up on that offer. Our membership numbers grew quite a bit, and we were thrilled at the results.

    We continue to do surveys to see what our community wants from us. One survey participant who probably came from the Interex group wanted to know “what the Kit-Kats and Coronas are” for their volunteerism. Everybody who volunteers wants to know, what’s in it for me?

Give us an update: how’s the relationship developed between Encompass and HP since the last Technology Forum?

   It’s grown quite a bit since I’ve joined the board. We continue to focus on improving, expanding and really creating a very cooperative relationship. I don’t use this term lightly, but it really has become a love-fest. We share the same values: To deliver the best for the HP enterprise technology customer. Since we all have our eyes on that goal, we can’t possibly go wrong.

Continue reading "Encompass hosts a training fest with HP" »

Encompass mission for 3000s: same show as '05's

Nina_buikbwOne week from today, the Encompass user group opens up the third HP Technology Forum for the first full day schedule, including HP's 3000 updates and migration best practice presentations. Nina Buik, president of the only remaining HP user group, answered our questions in our May print issue Q&A feature about the changes in the conference and how the user group chooses talks to include in the training lineup.  Buik, whose day job is Senior VP for education company MindIQ, took the president’s post at Encompass this year, all while the user group was in express mode, working to get a yearly conference completed in just nine months of work. HP had requested a 2007 conference date in June; last year’s Forum met in September.

The 3000 community, migrating or staying, will get to sample the collaboration between user group and vendor with preconference sessions starting June 18 in Las Vegas. In our Q&A we wanted to get an update on the Encompass relationship with the 3000 community, especially those customers who face several years of homesteading while they try to assemble migration budget, or work out the details of moving applications built on more than a decade of business logic. Buik took on the president's post from predecessor Kristi Browder, who we interviewed during the very first Tech Forum in 2005.

In 2005 we heard from your predecessor that Encompass sees migrating 3000 customers as its primary members. Has HP’s shift in support lifespan for the 3000 changed anything in the Encompass mission for the 3000?

   Not at this time. We work closely with the board of OpenMPE that we are in line with the direction of HP, and so if we can’t provide resources, we know how to direct users. Our goal and focus is still on helping folks that are considering migration.

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Encompass works on curb appeal at Tech Forum

Nina_buik_pr1 New Encompass user group president Nina Buik is pleased with appeals — the kind of “curb appeal” next month’s Technology Forum venue offers, the heeded appeals for cooperation between vendor and user group, appeals for volunteer work the user group’s local levels. Buik, whose day job is Senior VP for education company MindIQ, took the president’s post at Encompass this year, all while the user group was in express mode, working to get a yearly conference completed in just nine months of work. HP had requested a 2007 conference date in June; last year’s Forum met in September.

   Hundreds of scheduled sessions and a dozen served platforms later, the 3000 community, migrating or staying, will get to sample the collaboration between user group and vendor starting June 18 in Las Vegas. This will be Buik’s first show as user group president. She has served on the Encompass board since 2005, taking the reins from Kristi Browder, who we interviewed in 2005.

    Buik said she knew she could provide a fresh background to the board from sales and marketing experience. “In business,” she said, “nothing happens until somebody sells something.” And so the group pulls into the home stretch of selling the Technology Forum, along with Encompass membership, this month.

   We wanted to talk to an Encompass leader about how the group’s relationship with HP has progressed, HP’s influence and presence in a week that now includes two other HP conferences in Las Vegas, as well as what more Encompass might do for the 3000 community. We spoke by phone in April, just a week before the HP Technology Forum session catalog went live online.

What impacts content selection for a conference, like getting more HP 3000 sessions in the catalog?

   If you show up, you’re heard. A lot of people from the OpenVMS community were complaining, noticing that there were fewer sessions that were going to be available. I have to tell you, the highest ranking people are HP executives coming to this event and look at this data. If you don’t show up, those numbers are calculated and next year they determine what’s going to be included. The executives perceive those numbers to be a lack of interest in the technology.

   Tell all the folks who are using the HP 3000 technology: Show up. Be heard. Let your numbers speak volumes to HP executives, to let them know what you want and need in your community. This is the event that you want to show up at, to be heard.

So the best chance of having an impact on 3000 content for the 2008 conference is to attend the 2007 conference, then fill out an evaluation that says, “I wish there would have been more for me here.”

   Absolutely. If you’re on the planning committee and you see a session had only two or three people, logically you’d say, “I need that room for something else.”

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A news era after old departures?

Ronatbrunch     A Paris waiter snapped the photo next to these words. The picture, taken on the first morning I brunched with my wife and NewsWire co-founder Abby, catches a look of sleepy, jet-lagged bliss. Why not? With a $28 breakfast before me on a sunny Sunday street, any other kind of expression would confound my memories.

    But back here in Austin, I muse about departures rather than arrivals. By the time you read these words, two mainstays of the HP Transition Story will have made their transition to retirement. A third 3000 stalwart will have moved on to another HP pasture. All three were engines of the news and announcements of the Transition Era — those stories you see to the right on this page.

    It is a unique view today to get up and realize that Jeff Vance will no longer be informing the 3000 community about policy, programs or promises. He tells us in our May print issue's changing of the guard article he’s served the 3000 customers for 28 years, his entire IT career. In that, he’s got something in common with some of our readers: two decades and more on the same enterprise system, knowing it like a good street map of Paris, aware of every hidden passage and double-named Rue.

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