Jeff Kubler is making a living out of keeping HP 3000 customer computers living. The life might be as another platform, a different application or a longer existence as a key computing resource. The 25-year veteran of the 3000 community opened his own consulting practice in 2000, just one year before HP announced its 3000 business would be at an end in five years.
So Kubler, whose background ran to many years at Summit Information Systems (credit union applications) and Lund Performance (a broad array of the 3000 and 9000 users) found his future filled with both migration and homesteading prospects. Like the best of the 3000 experts out there, he’s engaging both the customers who are leaving as well as those who have good reasons to stay.
Kubler has made a career out of training, too, in tools and utilities such as Suprtool and Speedware, as well as general 3000 advice like system and database optimization. Last month he stepped in for me at the MANMAN Virtual RUG meeting to deliver a talk that spanned both homesteading and migration advice, pushing across information to a group of 3000 sites facing a large migration: the ERP manufacturing customers. With his diverse background, independent practice and constant customer contact, I wanted him to share what he’s teaching and what he sees in the 3000 community of 2008. We spoke on May Day by phone.
Which application users are in good shape for their final pushes of migration these days?
Well, the majority of Summit [credit union] customers have already migrated, and part of the reason for that was that Summit chose Eloquence. It made the harshness of that migration step a lot less. They didn’t have to take the big step to re-engineer their application to work with SQL Server or Oracle.
With Amisys and Ecometry, they did bite the bullet and take that big step. It made it a lot more complex. But those Amisys and Ecometry sites were also big users of Suprtool. That made it so they could get though their biggest production nights without buying bigger boxes.
The Summit folks were never big users of Suprtool on the HP 3000; because of that, they missed out on a lot of things that would have made their operations a lot more efficient. Now they’re getting there with Suprtool on HP-UX.
Amisys folks still have a huge amount of surround code, stuff they did on their own, so there were a lot more challenges there. Just identifying surround code is a challenge. The move to any Windows or HP-UX versions became an opportunity for clients to check out competitive solutions. HP might have thought users would remain with HP
Because they don’t have the source code, on the Amisys side they might go to Amisys Advance, they might go to Facets (on IBM Unix]. They say, I’ve been on Amisys, where do I go next? There’s no allegiance anymore to Amisys as there might might have been if they weren’t being forced to make some move.
If Amisys Advance or open systems Ecometry is competitive price-wise with functionality, then they end up staying. I’ve actually seen some people who have migrated the Amisys data to another legacy application in their environment.
Are there applications out there that seem to have a reasonably bright future for the 3000 user?
MANMAN is about the only one that comes to mind. Most others are involved in some migration step; it doesn’t have a direct migration path. MANMAN’s provider [Infor] has other applications in their stable, and tries to get you to go to those. There’s nothing that says it has the same look and feel, so you’d have to retrain everybody if you migrated. MANMAN might be around for awhile, because people are happy with the functionality, and can’t afford to move to something new.
There’s also some educational sector software, like the SRN application for smaller colleges education and the QSS solutions for elementary schools through high schools.
Some applications have HP-UX versions, like PSSI for 911 dispatch. But you don’t just go out and buy new safety software for state police force or a fire department just because it’s the new and greatest thing. You have to look at budgets and bond measures to replace something like that.
HP says Suprtool is the top reason migration sites choose HP-UX?Agree?
Lots of people have found that Suprtool working with Eloquence on HP-UX is a driving force, because they’ve done so much with Suprtool that it becomes challenging to rewrite it all.