Top 2009 Stories: Exits and Migrations
Top 2009 Stories: Bigger ideas for the future

Top 2009 Stories: Open and extended futures

In reporting on the 3000 community during 2009, two top stories emerged that look toward the year to come. Owners of these systems who are migrating are searching for affordable replacement apps. The homesteading user hopes to extend the 3000's value for many years to come.

Opening up the solution we've called the HP 3000 is essential to accomplishing those tasks. During 2009, open source enterprise software gained notice and traction among community members, Meanwhile, the free utility and subsystem programs developed by independent and HP engineers -- many of which are open source modified by developers -- gained some fresh hosts.

• Several 3000 suppliers started to embrace cloud computing concepts during the year, but no company did more than the Support Group inc, and its Entsgo division, to promote enterprise open source. OpenBravo is on a path for the delivery in initial 3000 shops during the coming year, according to tSGi's Sue Kiezel and Donnie Poston. Enterprise open source is a good match for the cost of ownership the 3000 delivered for decades. Cloud computing plays a role in the tSGi OpenBravo solution, too, and Speedware, Hanover Direct and DST Health Solutions also offer some sort of Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. All want to host 3000s in a cloud service solution.

• On the 3000 open source front, two companies stepped up to give the software from HP's closed-down Jazz server a new home. Client Systems broke ground first on a new virtual location, while Speedware hosted both the Jazz utilities as well as migration training and command reference tools. These companies showed that the independents in the community will step in where HP has stopped delivering 3000 services. This is a backstop important to the homesteading customer as well as the migration site that requires another three years or more to leave the 3000.

In one of the more significant offerings for the system's future, Stromasys announced that it was starting pilot testing for a 3000 hardware emulator product this fall. While there's no guarantee such a product will be sold very soon, tests of a product at an alpha level are an encouraging signal for a smooth decade to come.

Stromasys, which as SRI announced its interest in creating an alternative to HP's PA-RISC servers, stepped through some technical and business hoops when it outlined the progress of the project. Another player in the emulator arena had to announce a project had been sidetracked. Creating a new product requires extra capital for any company, and Strobe Data has been forced to put its emulator on a back burner for now. The company is working on fresh customers for its DEC PDP and Vax emulators, which will fund continued work on a PA-RISC solution.

The 3000 community is still rich with used servers that provide upgrade options for sites homesteading or interim homesteading while their migrations complete. But the arrival of an emulator signals a longer lifespan, along with the promise of integrating new technology, for the 3000. Stromasys's move from alpha to beta and then onto a price list, in time to capture HP's MPE emulator licensing, will be one of the stories we watch closely in 2010.