Longs Drug, the Western US drug store chain which once ran as many as 450 HP 3000s in the world's biggest 3000 network, will be turning off its last system this fall. The migration away from the 3000 began nearly a decade ago when the retail chain started moving a everyday applications onto HP-UX. The systems were located in every store, housed in an enclosure so foolproof only a slot for backup tapes was needed for access. Now HP 3000 manager Jim Alexander reports the last machine will be switched off sometime in October.
Longs was such a large HP 3000 customer that the company had its own dedicated HP 3000 rep.The company's history with the platform goes back so far that its IT manager Bill Gates chaired the HP 3000 Users Group Planning Committee -- in 1975. The company's dedication to volunteer support for the 3000 community has been continued through the 1990s and this decade by Donna Garverick, who left Longs last year to join the support staff of Allegro Consultants. Garverick, who remarried and became Donna Hoffmeister while she was volunteering for OpenMPE, is best known for Internet messages typed in lowercase only, because of her dedication (at Longs) to Posix under MPE.
Alexander, who's losing his Longs job next month, said in a weekend posting that a third-party firm will be administering the last Longs HP 3000 until this fall. He added that system will be in familiar hands.
Longs operated only a handful of HP 3000s by the time HP 3000 migration became a common task for the community. But the company was thick with users of the 3000 mail system DeskManager through the 1990s, and also broke ground with virtual array use, clustering, performance thresholds and so much more. Alexander outlined the end-game for the system's departure from a drugstore chain acquired by CVS.
I will be laid off on July 10th after 11 years with Longs. A well known company will be engaged to provide operations and administrative support ..The machines will be happy because in all likelihood, familiar fingers will be pressing the keys to do administrative tasks on these boxes, but I will let the audience figure out who that lower case loving person would be. ;-)
I am transporting one of the remaining HP3000 servers for Longs / CVS to the pharmacy distribution warehouse in Ontario, California this weekend. It will continue to operate for about four more months and then be shut down for good. It will be the test and development server to the production box that has been in place for years.
After about 30 years of HP3000s being at Longs drugs, with a high water mark of about 450 HP3000s, there will be no more HP3000 for Longs Drug Stores. Long live the HP3000.