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February 2008

OpenMPE answers from some candidates

By this morning, less than 24 hours are left to cast a vote in the OpenMPE election. This year's balloting has already topped last year's voting, but there's still time to make your voice heard. (You should vote at, where you must join first. Membership is free.)

Last week we posed questions to all seven candidates by e-mail, as well as posted them to the OpenMPE and HP 3000 mailing lists. As of yesterday, we had four candidates reply: Keith Wadsworth, and incumbents Matt Perdue, Tracy Johnson, and Donna Hofmeister.

We'd like to tease you with our final question, since it gives the candidates a chance to say what they believe OpenMPE should do right away to let the advocacy group help the community:

Should OpenMPE go after the mission of testing the dozens of beta test patches still stuck inside HP’s 3000 labs? What can the group do to convince HP that the expertise is in place to do that independent testing, and so release HP's improvements and engineering to the full 3000 community?

Keith Wadsworth’s answer: This raises many questions about the needs of the users, and the OpenMPE organization as well. For example, is there any hard data that strongly indicates that a large number of remaining  users, or even a small number, need these patches? I believe the OpenMPE board needs to raise, explore and answer such questions thoroughly. Addressing the question of testing, although the OpenMPE board members and  members at large command considerable expertise, it does not seem apparent  that OpenMPE as a whole has the ability, let alone the infrastructure, to  conduct such testing.

Matt Perdue's answer: OpenMPE has discussed this issue many times and offered to host the beta test patch distribution and result reporting process for HP. Paul Edwards has suggested that HP offer the beta patch test process to the DSPP community, and OpenMPE has the access to the machines necessary to perform this task and the expertise as well. OpenMPE has asked [HP R&D Lab Manager] Ross McDonald to consider having OpenMPE administer the beta patch test process as a “proof of track record” for OpenMPE, and it would help with the business relations between HP and OpenMPE as well.

Tracy Johnson's answer: That would be a perfectly fine goal. I believe the one accomplishment that OpenMPE needs to put under its belt is to get HP to work with us, and not be at odds with each other.  Everything else hinges on this.

Donna Hofmeister's answer: The question on everyone's lips! (see the NewsWire blog story about this).
HP -- we need an answer, we need action. It's time!

Continue reading "OpenMPE answers from some candidates" »

Becoming big: a task to grab by the tail

    I can’t imagine a world where the Web doesn’t play a big role in success. But as IT pros, you know better than to believe any computing tool always delivers as expected. Downtime, mistaken design; these life lessons become experience and then wisdom. Somehow the Internet seems to escape this skepticism, since it connects us in innovative ways. We’re all counting on the Web like gravity, government forms, and mergers designed make organizations bigger and better. Smaller is supposed to be weaker, in that last model.

   This month a few bigger-is-better alliances have been put in play. Microsoft and the HP user group Encompass both want to be bigger, adding allies. Microsoft made a $44 billion bid for Yahoo, a deal nearly double the size of the HP-Compaq merger of 2002. Microsoft might have sledding ahead of it just as tough as Hewlett-Packard's merger. HP CEO Carly Fiorina battled an angry, nearly equal share of stockholders to push through her merger back in 2002. It looks like Yahoo might push back with as much force, saying the record-breaking offer is undervalued for an information content provider.

   Much has been made about this deal being a way for Microsoft to keep up with Google. A few years ago Yahoo was compared to Google in the pages of Wired. That was long before Google was trading above $500 a share.

   The merger tussle reminds me of the days when HP was working to adopt Compaq, a company which had fallen from its heyday as Yahoo has now. At least Fiorina had Compaq’s board in her pocket when HP did its big grab. Yahoo is pushing back already, so expect another messy fight. Not so with the Encompass alliance and its new user group partners.

Continue reading "Becoming big: a task to grab by the tail" »

Homesteaders remain in place, sound off

The HP 3000 homesteaders remain where they expected to be working when we polled them in 2004, meeting challenges of support but counting on few changes. The community checked in on the OpenMPE mailing list in recent weeks. Terry Simpkins, IT Director of Measurement Specialties, said his firm is using HP 3000 systems for “general ledger, accounts payable, inventory control, purchasing, production scheduling, order entry, and invoicing. With 11 locations around the world, we have a substantial investment in its continued operation.”

   Simpkins, who has established manufacturing IT operations in China over the past five years, was a customer spokesman in ads for HP 3000s in the years just prior to HP’s exit plans.

   Zelik Schwartzman of Estee Lauder Companies said “We are actively installing SAP; however as far as the HP 3000 is concerned we anticipate this system will be around for many many years to come as we use it as our MRP engine.”

   Catherine Litten of Valley Presbyterian Hospital said even through another information system has replaced its 3000, “it doesn’t look like the HP 3000 will be going away, as it has become our data repository for historical reporting.”

Continue reading "Homesteaders remain in place, sound off" »

Migrations remain in play; 2006 targets slip for some

    In the shifting world of the 3000 community, the status quo has been easier to predict than the wave of the future. Among our survey of companies which planned to leave the platform during 2006, two out of three have hit their target.

   Migrating off the platform has been an effort that has fallen behind, but not for lack of trying. Meanwhile, the 3000 owner who’s homesteading until forced off the system spoke up over the Internet in recent weeks, identifying companies which are sized both large and small.

    The migration companies reported to The 3000 NewsWire in 2004 that they planned to be off the system before the end of 2006. The companies we surveyed identified success with migration from the 3000 to Unix platforms and Windows. But some have been hung up waiting on replacement software.

    These customers haven’t been caught unaware of how a migration deadline could slip. More than three years ago, Diana Wilson of Roanoke County, Va., said “The only reasons we would continue the 3000’s use beyond 2006 would be that we cannot find a vendor that can offer replacement applications or we are behind schedule in implementing the new apps.”

    Those are the classic reasons for a migration delay, and both turned out to be slowdowns for the county, Wilson said in an update. The county is following a replacement application strategy.

Continue reading "Migrations remain in play; 2006 targets slip for some" »

How little has changed in more than 3 years

Many HP 3000 community sites have stopped time since 2004, locking down configurations and implementing little change.

In this strategy, they are much like the user group conference speaker lineups and HP's own software releases for the 3000. What has changed since 2004 in HP PowerPatch releases, or in the list of speakers and topics since that year? Not very much.

In 2004 HP released PowerPatch 2 of MPE/iX 7.5. A PowerPatch is a collection of tested and released patches, shipped to HP's support customers exclusively. HP was predicting that it would release a couple of PowerPatches a year across versions 6.5, 7.0 and 7.5, starting in 2004.

Let's do the math here. Three years elapsed, to be generous, since the last 7.5 PowerPatch. So six more to be released. Two each for 6.5, 7.0 and 7.5, right? Wrong answer. Just about four years later, MPE/iX 7.5 is on PowerPatch 3, shipped in the summertime of 2006. Sometime in 2008, the release will get PowerPatch 4, according to HP reports. Not much has changed, because so few patches have passed beta testing. One more element of change might be the head count at the HP 3000 labs, or in HP Support, which distributes the PowerPatches. You can find changes in that number, to be sure.

HP has come out with two critical fixes to the IMAGE database, the SCSI pass-through driver, 300GB disk support, a new Samba release, all in that time. But no new PowerPatch since then, one of the tangible benefits of buying your support from HP instead of an independent third party firm.

Continue reading "How little has changed in more than 3 years" »

Do expiring certifications cost community?

A few days ago I wrote about the benefits of certification as a trained HP 3000 professional. I thought that being a "CP," as some of the certified pros call themselves, entitled a 3000 pro to the HP PowerPatch tapes for MPE/iX, and other software.

Not so. You earn those tapes by joining HP's DSPP program for developers. Paul Edwards, the education expert who corrected me on those tapes, said he gets his hand-addressed from HP's Alvinia Nishimoto, "so I'm pretty sure those are custom tapes" that HP's putting out.

But the certification benefits? Edwards says that they are in the eye of beholder, most of the time. A CP can get mugs, shirts and hats from the HP Certified Professional store, things to carry or wear to client visits. Edwards says that since the 3000 certs are going dormant on June 1, he has until the end of May to shop.

Any certification is no better than the person who carries it; that's to say that passing a test and knowing how to solve a support problem are two different things. Incentives for taking the tests and keeping up should be the vendor's mission. Passing these things can be a real challenge.

Continue reading "Do expiring certifications cost community?" »

Candidate questions for OpenMPE

Ten days of voting have elapsed in the OpenMPE elections this year, a seven-candidate for six-post race that will end on Feb. 29. Much like the voting in the US primaries so far, the turnout has been higher than in past years. As of tonight 53 ballots have been cast with nine more days left to vote. The entire ballot total in 2007 was 63.

It doesn't cost anything to join OpenMPE and have the right to choose the people who will make the post-HP era of 3000 ownership easier. While we wait out the results, I'd like to pose a few questions to the board candidates. The responses might have some impact on how many community members will vote over the next week-plus, as well as who wins.

1. HP has expanded its "permissible upgrade" language in its RTU licenses. Does the vendor need to offer anything to the community to prohibit the movement of MPE/iX from system to system?  Something perhaps like unlocking the horsepower of the 3000s in the A and N Class?

2. How soon must HP make a decision about its source code licensing for the 3000's operating environment? Is it acceptable for the vendor to wait until the start of 2010, as it plans to do now?

3. What is the achievement for OpenMPE which the group must accomplish during 2008 — the mission which the group must not fail at?

4. Should third party support providers have access to HP's diagnostics, especially stable storage tools, in case of a system board failure, or the closing of a software company which cannot update licenses (with HPSUSAN numbers) any longer?

Continue reading "Candidate questions for OpenMPE" »

HP Q1 results impress analysts

HP reported that it earned solid profits and posted record sales during the first quarter of its 2008  fiscal year, led by solid performance in the company's laptop sales and an 11 percent sales climb in services. Services is the arm of HP which is still collecting revenues from HP 3000 customers as well as posting profits. While the 3000 totals of both represent a tiny fraction of HP's $28.5 billion in Q1 sales and $ 2.1 billion of profit, the server for which HP canceled its plans for during 2001 still drives money straight down to HP's bottom line.

HP announced that it shipped its 500 millionth printer during the quarter, a sales total that goes back 24 years from the start of the LaserJet era, and even farther back if you count the line printers of the 1980s connected to the HP 3000, such as the massive 2680s. HP said its printer and imaging unit posted a 4 percent sales increase, while PCs, enterprise servers, services and software all grew faster. Much of the Q&A with market analysts explored the future of the printer business. But overall, the market mavens were impressed with the past 90 days of HP's operations.

In a discussion with analysts after the market closed yesterday, HP updated its datacenter consolidation project, an effort which includes the MPE/iX servers which continue to service HP's needs. CEO Mark Hurd said that the magnitude of HP's data operations put the project about at the halfway point, after three years of work.

We were running the company in early 2005 on roughly 6000 applications. [CFO] Cathie Lesjak and I looked at this about a week ago; we’re running the company right now on a little more than 3000 applications. So we’re about halfway through the application consolidation.  It really starts with us with a process change, then an application consolidation and application modernization process, and then that allows us to consolidate infrastructure, and therefore close data centers.

HP had planned to get most of its consolidation completed during this year, but it appears to be running behind plans. HP expects, as do many HP 3000 migrating sites, to increase the amount of innovation it gets from every IT dollar spent by 2009. But HP isn't counting on advancing technology as much as reducing maintenance costs. Lesjak said HP expects to have a run rate savings of $1 billion by that year for the company which runs at a $110 billion rate yearly.

Maybe even more significant for the 3000 customer who's sticking with HP's Unix solutions, the vendor is turning toward an in-house sales force to bolster its distribution. HP added 2,000 salespeople to its ranks, and Lesjak said "We think we have a just superb lineup of products and capabilities. And it's frustrating to us because we, obviously, know we come to work every day and then under-distribute them in the market."

HP 3000 customers who recall the 1980s model often mark the rise of the resellers as the start of Hewlett-Packard's customer service decline. The results have been a success for the company's overall financial picture, however.

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HP 3000 group tightens upgrade licenses

The Right to Use (RTU) MPE/iX licenses which HP created last spring just got tougher terms. On Feb. 18, without notice on the HP 3000 community's newsgroup or to OpenMPE list readers, HP added an upgrade policy statement which gets very specific about what HP hardware a customer can run MPE/iX upon.

In summary, only the hardware which MPE/iX was originally purchased for is a permitted target, unless a 3000 customer purchases an RTU. The statement, available from the HP e3000 Web site as a PDF file, addresses the transfer of MPE/iX to other HP servers "without prior written approval from Hewlett-Packard."

MPE/iX Fundamental Operating System (FOS) and HP database right-to-use licenses on the HP e3000 servers allow customers to use that software only on the system for which it was purchased. FOS and HP database software may not be transferred to other servers without prior written approval from Hewlett-Packard.

The most specific changes to the HP policy come in a new version of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document about the RTU. HP has even left open possible and likely violations which any customer might engage in — violations which HP's 3000 group has not yet defined. In that FAQ HP says while explaining its "permissible hardware path:"

Any configuration not expressly allowed under the MPE/iX RTU should be viewed as a possible violation of the policy. To be more specific, running MPE/iX OS on any hardware under the following conditions without explicit HP approval would likely violate the existing MPE/iX RTU:

1. Any system not sold as an original HP 3000 or HP e3000.

2. Genuine HP e3000 systems with modifications to hardware, system settings, OS software, or other system attributes which are outside of HP’s published allowed Upgrade Paths or Supported Configurations.

3. Genuine HP e3000 systems with allowed hardware configurations but with modifications to cause the reporting of system attributes which are not equal to those actually present or configured on the system. For example, the number and type of CPUs present, System Model String or HPSUSAN by any method including binary patching, insertion of a system library or modification of stable storage values.

Possible violations of the MPE/iX RTU policy are not limited to the scenarios listed above.

Continue reading "HP 3000 group tightens upgrade licenses" »

HP intends to take down 3000 certs

In the latest evidence of HP's exit from the 3000 community, Hewlett-Packard has included two HP 3000 certifications among a list of credentials which the vendor plans to cancel on June 1.

HP 3000 advocate Paul Edwards convinced HP to revive these technical certifications during 2006 and 2007, winning back a way to measure MPE/iX skills in a market that is still weathering a loss of expertise. But as Edwards retired from OpenMPE's board, he reported that HP has announced a long list of discontinued certifications for its enterprise products. A lack of desire to achieve or retain a cert may have led HP to its decision.

"The response I had from the certified professionals in the MPE community was very weak when I was working this issue with HP in 2006," Edwards said. "Sad to say, apathy has appeared in many more places in the HP 3000 community.  I don't think HP will change the demise of the two HP 3000 certifications as before."

HP is canceling its Presales HP e3000 Technical Certification and MPE/iX System Administration certificates among a host of cutbacks scheduled for June. In all, 32 certifications will drop off HP's training rolls, including testing and validation for skills in StorageWorks, Alpha servers, and even Superdome consulting and configuration. The retirement of the MPE and 3000 certifications could even impact sites leaving the platform but seeking interim expertise.

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Four weeks away, so register today

It takes an extraordinary amount of effort to mount a user group conference. Even a brief one requires the work of dozens of volunteers. Clearly, meeting in person must have extraordinary benefits.

HP believes this is true of the upcoming conference in Houston. In just four weeks, the Greater Houston Regional Users Group (GHRUG) will host a two-day meeting, March 14-15. This event will meet at the University of Houston Clear Lake Campus, just down the street from the front gates of NASA. There will be two tracks dedicated to the HP 3000 community. The conference also offers three other tracks dedicated to Blade Systems, Unix/Linux, and Best Practices and Emerging Technologies.

HP's 3000 business manager Jennie Hou has checked in with us and says HP will be at the event as well, briefing customers on the platform updates. You can never be sure what will change in HP's policies or forecasts. We know, for example, that another PowerPatch is being released this year, a collection of the patches for MPE/iX 7.5. There may be other news, too. A vendor exhibit area at the meeting will let you make face to face contacts with other community suppliers and partners, too.

We believe this is an important meeting, one that you should make a strong effort to attend. Since the resources and strategies of the 3000 community are changing, with third parties playing a larger role than ever, it’s a smart choice to get updated at the GHRUG event. The user group has even added a feature new to conference registration: you can pay the $175 fee online at the event Web site with your credit card or PayPal.

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Quiz gives no more answers for some

3000 community members reported in November, December and January that their Quiz 5.01 report writer, a mainstay on thousands of HP 3000s at one time, warned them it would expire on Feb. 1. True to its warnings, the software for some customers has quit running, as well as QTP and Quick

Tom Combs of Telalert alerted the community on February 4 about his Quick and Quiz applications

On January 1 2008 they started issuing warnings that they were about to expire; on February 1, they did expire.  These were supposed to be perpetual licenses.

Cognos product manager Bob Deskin, who shepherds the PowerHouse line of products, confirmed that these 3000 customers are coming to the end of a 20-year license. Their option is to call a Cognos sales representative — which may lead to some fee to pay to the company which IBM announced in November that it would purchase.

"PowerHouse 5.01 (QUICK/QUIZ/QTP) on MPE was licensed for 20 years," Deskin said, "as was clearly stated in the terms and conditions of the sales contracts. We did not start perpetual licenses until later releases. Anyone still using PowerHouse 5.01 should contact their Application Development Tools (ADT) Sales Representative."

John Pickering, a PowerHouse consultant to the 3000 and DEC communities, characterized the license as " a 20 year 'test drive' without paying any license fees!" Deskin said these 5.01 versions will be expiring as of this month. Many operate in 3000 shops with little remaining HP 3000 budget.

Continue reading "Quiz gives no more answers for some" »

Holding the line for & against RTUs

It's nearing springtime once more, and once again the HP 3000 community is exploring ways to flesh out new options for the systems HP builds no longer. Yesterday we reported here that Advant and Immediate Recovery Systems (IRS) have now partnered to give third party support companies the means to use HP's stable storage utility, ss_update.

The software lies behind an HP lockword, one which Advant, using the IRS software, will decode into a password for any support company (or any other self-supporting customer, we assume) for a fee. HP does not approve of this; the vendor has always insisted that 3000 stable storage is a system configuration which only HP can alter. HP believes that stable storage methods are a part of its intellectual property.

Last time around, HP created the first HP 3000 product in three years, an MPE/iX Right To Use (RTU) license, whose purpose was to clarify what could be changed on PA-RISC systems and still remain inside HP's license. This year, HP seems to be working on a reply to the Advant/IRS development. The only reply which HP could give us, when we sent the story into print within a whisker of our February deadline, was "HP continues to be concerned with protecting its intellectual property," from business manager Jennie Hou. That's the kind of placeholder statement Hewlett-Packard uses while it prepares something more formal and complete.

Which leads us to the latest option in the license arena. Orbit Software has offered VM+/iX since last year, its solution to increase horsepower and make PA-RISC server ownership more flexible. How this flexibility becomes a 3000 owner's option, considering HP's licensing intentions, has been discussed already, although VM/iX hasn't been mentioned by HP.

Let me take a moment to explain. Orbit describes VM+/iX as a server, according to the copy from the company's Web site. Orbit personnel install this server at a customer site, and in addition to your 3000 backups they need print-outs from SYSGEN and NMMGR off a customer's current HP 3000, along with a DSTAT ALL and DISCFREE C listing.

Orbit's Keith Wadsworth weighed in today with a statement about the current HP RTUs. "Our goal with VM+/iX is to offer MPE users adequate hardware performance and support options so they can continue to run their IT operations economically for the present and foreseeable future, while they plan and execute their migration plans."

More to the point regarding the HP concerns, Wadsworth stated, "We believe that original MPE software licenses do not prohibit using MPE on any computer hardware configuration that it will run on."

Continue reading "Holding the line for & against RTUs" »

Program opens access to HP tools for third party support

In a story which we squeezed in just hours before our February print deadline, Steve Pirie of 3000 hardware support provider Advant reported that the company’s software partner Immediate Recovery Solutions (IRS), has developed a program to transform HP 3000 lockwords to passwords — the character strings needed to operate HP’s ss_update configuration program.

The new SSPWD takes an HP lockword — designed to limit use of ss_update to HP’s support personnel — and delivers the corresponding password to let a support provider start and use ss_update.

Sspwd_2 HP developed ss_update as a follow-on tool to reset 3000 system board information after its SS_CONFIG software had its passwords removed. Pirie said the ss_update software, which Advant will unlock at the request of third party support companies for a fee, doesn’t start with any warning that HP restricts ss_update use to HP employees. (See the printout at left for a sample of what ss_update can modify on a PA-RISC server, be it an L-Class HP-UX system or a K- or N-Class HP 3000. Click it to enlarge)

“We’ve seen copies of SS_CONFIG which had a disclaimer, but it just so happens [ss_update] doesn’t, or HP didn’t really care,” Pirie said. The ss_update program can be a key service tool for a support company which needs to configure spare HP 3000 SPU boards. This kind of configuration is only available through HP’s support group today, he added.

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Seven vie for six OpenMPE posts

Openmpeheader Today voting began for the 2008 OpenMPE board election. At press time we received the full list of nominees for posts on this year’s directors. As in the past several years, the number of nominees exceed the number of seats up for election by exactly one.

Wmurray     Nominees new to this year’s election are Keith Wadsworth of Orbit Software (top left), Alan Tibbets of Strobe Data and Walter Murray of California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (below). Tibbets, Murray and Wadsworth are among the seven candidates competing in an election which runs through 5 PM Pacific on Feb. 29. Voting is held through the OpenMPE Web site; a current membership ID number is required — but being an OpenMPE member is free, and the group will accept memberships during the election period.

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New Endeavor hopes to create community

In our podcast (5 minutes, 5 MB) for a February weekend, we look at election season and the alliance of three HP user groups. There's good reason to join forces in 2008, but the benefits might extend to more than just a louder, more representative voice to Hewlett-Packard. Take five minutes to listen to our podcast and hear what the alliance wants to do — maybe for you.

HP always wanted a single group to talk with and listen to, and the new alliance — which might be called Endeavor — wants to leave nobody out of the bigger picture. Encompass president Nina Buik even said the new group could advocate for the 3000 homesteader. There's interim homesteaders, like the customers who won't migrate until 2013, and the permanent ones. Endeavor wants to help both. It's a good reason to join this now-free group, even if you're part of the 3000 community whose voice is fading in HP's ears.

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One user group ring bands them all

HP user group Encompass took a big step toward the ultimate alliance of HP enterprise computer customers this week, when the largest North American HP user group announced it will unite with two of the others. Now Encompass, the Tandem group ITUG, and HP-Interex Europe/Middle East/Africa will all work together, bound under a single group which will have a new name announced sometime this year. HP-Interex EMEA was allied with the now-defunct HP user group Interex, but Interex EMEA survived Interex North America's 2005 bankruptcy.

This week's move nearly completes a consolidation of at least six user groups which existed in 2005. Encompass and Interex North America had worked on a few annual HP World user meetings together prior to that date, but when Interex shut its doors suddenly, Encompass took on some Interex members. Still, groups from the NonStop/Tandem base, OpenView, overseas Interex groups and Asia/Pacific membership still remained as separate advocacy and information points. HP had to listen to all, but wished for one group to represent everybody.

Board director Chris Koppe, a former Interex North America director, alerted us of the new assembly, which now is only missing the OpenView users group Vivit to complete the group roster. Encompass brings 16,000 members, ITUG 2,500 and Interex EMEA 33,000 — but increasing the size of the group is not as important as the membership's scope. HP's liaison with customers will grow more focused in  a single, larger group.

"In the days when I was working at Interex, this was something was all wished would happen, that the user groups would follow HP's path," Koppe said of the merger. "Corporate mergers are one of those things where somebody decides to buy somebody else. User groups don't come together as quickly, but I think this is getting close to where we want to be. Individually it was very hard to get HP's attention, and that model now changes going forward."

Users of all the groups, which include Encompass Asia/Pacific, will receive a free one year membership to the combined group.

Encompass spread the news through a press release on its Web site (PDF file), plus a blog entry from Encompass board president Nina Buik which defined the new association. Merger, she says, is not the right word to describe what's bringing together thousands of members.

Continue reading "One user group ring bands them all" »

Old habit protects from new risks

Ever since computers were created, one element has been essential, reviled and incomplete.


It can save a company, though, especially in a dire case where the 3000 experts suddenly leave — through accident, or acquiring a new employer. Or even getting lucky on a Lotto ticket. MB Foster's Birket Foster says that when a key employee disappears, one thing is the initial key to survival: Documentation of the systems and tools which carry an organization's business. A rescue might be possible if your 3000 expert veers into the wrong freeway lane.

"A lot of it depends on how much documentation is available," he said. "You can reverse engineer it, but it can become a very costly process."

But possible, at least, and probably less costly than the interruption of starting from scratch with a new packaged app.

Continue reading "Old habit protects from new risks" »

What is your 3000's retirement plan?

Much has been said about the demise of the HP 3000. We take issue with the word demise, unless a 3000 community member is truly unplugging their system, scrapping backup data they now host on another server, then getting somebody to haul off the trusty 3000 iron. (We've heard stories about HP's reluctance to do such hauling, even when the vendor sells a replacement Unix or Windows server.)

But if that data remains needed, even required by government rules, there's no demise or death or even hospice going on. Instead, some companies in your community are retiring their systems. If you're of a certain age, or have worked in a company of a certain heritage, you understand retirement: Still alive, still near enough if needed to answer questions about the past, or explain what's still working in the present.

A number of 3000 community providers are thinking about retirement support. That system of yours may not have as much MPE/iX administrative expertise on hand, but the 3000's applications are still vital, even critical. What do you do when the last 3000 expert leaves your organization? Does that signal the migration deadline, or is there another idea?

Off-site hosting of your 3000, as well as outsourced administration, gives a homesteading company a way to stay the system's demise. Even keep the server working, sort of semi-retired. A migrating site could find retirement a good strategy as well. If that backup data needs a working server for government regulations, then there's help for that scenario, too.

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Bay Area 3000 education, now online

Training and advisories are now online from last year's e3000 Community Meet, Bayside 2007. Some of the news from a full day of presentations from experts and advocates, which explored both homesteading and migration strategies, is available at the event's Web site:

What you'll find is a way to collect the wisdom of the seasoned professionals who met all day on a Saturday just before Thanksgiving. HP's 3000 updates on its 2008-2010 plans is included, as well as slides on Migration Solutions, moving MPE to HP's Unix and Linux, and even a photo album. (We've reported on homesteading strategies from Allegro Consultants in a prior blog post.)

On the event Web site you can also read a certain newsletter editor's after-lunch speech, for those who might have nodded off, as well as those who couldn't attend.

Continue reading "Bay Area 3000 education, now online" »

Allegro extends user count with BFree

Allegro Consultants is one of the strong arms of the Resource 3000 alliance, but the legendary company continues to create new solutions for the 3000 community as it has for more than two decades. Allegro's Stan Sieler reports that a new BFree tool is giving customers an additional 25 percent user capacity — which could postpone 3000 hardware upgrade requirements.

We've released our BFree product. Our first customer reports:

> Below is the latest BFree with 1,650 users logged on:
>     BFree: STATUS
>   Extent B-tree status:
>   # in use
>   entries  Table size  %full  #saved
>   -------- ----------  -----  -------
>   129,691    199,728    64%    28,255
>   BFree has saved 14.1% of the Extent B-Tree table

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