Do 3000 people score 5 on openness?
Homesteaders dodge risky business(es)

Small support shops fill big shoes

Across the 3000 community, from one end of the US to another and on to the lands beyond North America, individuals and small companies keep 3000s running. Not necessarily just their own systems, either. In various sizes, firms deploy years of MPE/iX experience, sometimes from a single expert, to make sure a 3000 stays mission critical.

Michael Anderson left the Spring Independent School District in Texas this year, taking his knowledge to launch J3K Solutions. He emphasizes in COBOL for now after doing freelance support for a Houston-area 3000 customer. He tended to the customer's application faithfully. A disk failed a few years ago at this client's site and Anderson introduced the concept of "backup" (don't laugh) and created scripts to apply this essential process.

The range of support from independents runs from the Pivital Solutions and Allegro/Ideal concepts, with multiple experts and a team to send on-site, to teams specializing in PowerHouse like id Enterprises, all the way down to one-man operations. Somewhere in between are companies like Data Management Associates, run by Ralph Berkebile and dedicated to users in the Southern California area. Re-dedicated with a sense of reprieve, he reported recently.

The shoes these supporters fill are those of HP, still making its exit from MPE/iX and even HP-UX support.

Berkebile is still working on the homesteading and data migration initiatives for his company. Meanwhile, there's 3000s to support. DMA was at the Bay Area e3000 Community Meet in November, and came away with a sense that there's ample time left on the 3000 community clock.

We will focus on our local West Coast clients in 2008,  in the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and three potential California Government clients by continuing to provide software support and development for their applications and systems. In addition, we will provide decision support, data marts and data warehousing for our clients' research.

All of our associates will continue with their migration and homesteading training. We plan on teaming with Paul Edwards for our MPE training and MB Foster for additional migration training. HP’s extension until 2010 (beyond for some) and the sense of reprieve we felt at the Bay Meeting 2007 has changed our focus for 2008, but not our long term goals!

The goals, shared by hardware suppliers like Genisys, Black River Computer and Bay Pointe Technology, as well as support teams like Resource 3000 and Pivital, is to let the 3000 customer set their own schedule for migration. Or push on with the version of MPE/iX while isn't broken and doesn't need to be fixed.

Whatever is possible can be done with this small-to-medium-to-large support network. But expect a lot of small players to continue to enter the field. Their clients can be real boutique operations, after all. Just this week we heard of a customer requesting independent support for MPE/iX 4.0.

Who else but a modest support company would even consider supporting an operating system released more than 15 years ago?