HP rolls out critical database repair
Third party improvements a fact of 3000's life

Older tech has big advantage: it works

You may catch a bit of razzing about using an HP 3000 in 2007. Slurs like dinosaur and ancient get tossed at you or your company. But in Britain the oldest tech in networking is still a mandate for some British Telecom (BT) products. What's more, key parts of the government use ISDN.

And you might have guessed, an HP 3000 is powering some of the ISDN in the country, according to today's article in The Register. Nobody wants to unplug ISDN — other than the providers who want to sell something newer. (Sound familiar to some of you?)

Why? As the article says, it works.

Guy Kewney writes, "Even if you could provide the signalling and interface "presentation" of ISDN to customers today, you'd have trouble replacing what ISDN is famous for: working."

As one veteran of the business told me: "It's like those old HP 3000 minicomputers. People installed them way, way back and they haven't touched them since. I know of ISDN2e installations that went in before 1980, which did a simple once-a-day dial to the ISDN link at head office, transferred a batch of data, and hung up; and they're still doing it 30 years later."

And the problem is, if you change a thing, the software behind it might stop working, and nobody knows what it does or how to adjust it if it stops.

"I went into one of our clients," said a sysadmin at a large software company which handles vehicle tracking applications. "We asked where the gear was, and nobody there knew. We had to track the cables and, eventually, under a load of old rags - literally - we found this HP 3000 connected to the ISDN socket, working. It's been doing that for decades!"

3000 community veterans and partners know this kind of story is common among 3000 customers. The ISDN tale points out the opportunity and reliability cost of making a migration. Not to be overlooked. Also in this category: Testing of the new platform. Every presentation during the last three years to promote a migration includes this line, or words to the effect: you can't test enough.