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February 26, 2008

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.

   “We lost about a  year of time when one of the new software vendors went bankrupt while we were in the middle of implementation,” she said. “This caused us to have to start all over with the bid and award process for those applications.  We’ve now selected vendors for all of the remaining applications and have implementation and deployment schedules for each.  Our schedule is aggressive, but so far it looks like we will be able to meet the 2008 deadline.”

    Several of the companies have migrated all but one or two 3000 applications, systems they are keeping online for archival purposes or just running with no migration date.

    Greg Barnes of Media General reported that “We’ve migrated all apps to HP-UX and Solaris, but we’re keeping two around for archival info lookups. One for lookup, one for disaster recovery at a different location. I’m the last HP 3000 system administrator in the company, and possibly in the city — so I’m always on call.”

    While about a third of the companies were running late, few companies reported that they had changed their decision to migrate. “Our plans fell through in 2006,” said Pedro Gonzalez of the health plan Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare. “We decided to homestead with no plans for conversion at this time.”

    At another site, the migration has stretched from a 2006 deadline into 2009. “Our Web Wise and Data Warehouse software modules are functional on Linux, while our batch reports and back office screens are still functioning on the HP 3000,” said John Wardenski, president and CTO of National College Management Systems. “Batch reports will go live this fall on Linux, with our back office screens the following summer.”

    Summit Racing Systems, whose migration has been publicized by several migration suppliers, remains behind schedule. “We are still in the very slow process on migrating off the HP 3000,” said Ron Pizor in IT Operations. “The current migration date is July 4, 2008. Not sure if we will make it. Later in the year would be more realistic.”

    For every delayed migration, however, two more said they just about hit the end of ’06 plans offered to us during our poll in 2004.

    “We did make it off the 3000, but later than originally planned,” said Lane Rollins of Boyd Coffee Company. The organization migrated in July, 2007 rather than by the end of 2006.

    “Some of the delay was due to also replacing our handheld computer system that our route trucks use,” Rollins said. “We had health-related issues pop up on the core team, and that slowed us down.”

    Rollins’s company originally planned to have a go-live date of Fall, 2005 for its replacement applications. He told us during his 2004 reply that surveying business processes was invaluable in making a successful migration.

    “I can’t say enough about value of doing the process mapping. We are a 104-year-old company and there is a lot of baggage. I knew we had some broken processes, but until we got into it I didn’t realize how bad some were. We’ve done a little future state mapping, but for the most part that is waiting until we have selected the vendor.”

    Jennie Rethman of Mac Equipment reported that Oracle’s E-Business Suites replaced the company’s 3000, “and Oracle is working out great for us.” MANMAN was running the manufacturer’s data operations until 2006. IT manager Will Bauman of Kato Engineering checked in to say that “we have migrated all the applications except for one. That migration should be done by the end of the first quarter of 2008.”

    Some delays revolve around end-users in a company’s base. “We did not stick to the 2006 date, but the primary application was converted to HP 9000 in July, 2007,” said Paula Brinson of Hampton Roads Sanitation District. “We’re still suffering conversion pains and the users have chained themselves to the legacy system to prevent my decommissioning. They are using it for various data validation activities.”

    In one case, a migration has been delayed because the customer is waiting on a Linux version of their current HP 3000 application. Sutter County, California Schools plans to migrate once its vendor’s Linux version is ready for them.

    Even Unix can be an environment left behind in the process, however. Ken Williams reported that the Azusa Pacific University already moved its 3000 applications to Sun’s Unix — but it’s leaving Sun’s platform by 2009, “and we have buyers for the Unix boxes, also.”

    The IT managers of some companies expressed the usual regrets about switching off 3000s. “The HP 3000 application was replaced with a Windows-based package, said Byron Youngstrom of Weyerheuser. “I miss the HP.”

01:40 PM in Migration, User Reports | Permalink

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