While service pros at migration firms point at the limits of the 3000 lifespan, homesteading customers are answering with snapshots of substantial sites using the 3000 beyond 2011.
Some of the discussion is surfacing at the HP 3000 Community Group on LinkedIn.com (You can join for free for such discussions and networking among 3000 pros.) More than 180 members subscribe to the group, a membership spread across 3000 migration vendors and established homestead shop managers.
"No doubt this is a difficult time for many 3000 users," said Transoft's Sonny Goodwin. "But the decision to finally do something may be the hardest part. There are many companies that have been through it already, so while it may be something scary to those of you that are doing it for the first time, there are vendors that have re-hosted/migrated these applications for hundreds of customers for many, many years. It will cost some money and it will take some time, but it has to be done sooner or later and no one can afford to wait until it’s too late."
Bob Sigworth of Bay Pointe Technology countered with testimony that large-scale IT shops remain devoted to 3000 use. "It's a great machine with the best operating system I've sold in 35 years of being in this business." Bay Pointe also resells Sun and HP's Unix systems among other platforms. "What is amazing is how many very large organizations are still using the HP 3000 and have no intentions of migrating. I am still selling quite a few e3000 N4000's and of course the 9x9s. Some are parts machines, but many are going into production."
Out on the HP 3000 newsgroup, the homesteading customers have been surfacing with reports of how many 3000s they use. The discussion was prompted by a user at SeraSoft, which promotes its 3000 expertise to move companies off the systems. At that migration company, Mike Serafin said they've got one 3000 left but are moving to the Microsoft AX business suite by year's end.
In reply Walter Murray of the California Department of Corrections reports the organization is using 45 HP 3000s. "There's an A500 at each of the 33 state prisons, plus several machines--some larger, some smaller--in our datacenter and test lab. "None of these machines will be decommissioned for at least a year."
Other homesteaders chimed in, but Scott Petersen of Speedware said "at some point the cost of doing nothing will exceed the cost of doing something. At that point, the folks that have not made a decision will likely make a hasty decision that may not have sufficient thought or planning." Petersen believes homesteaders include "companies that do not have any Information Technology folks left. The problem there is that the secretary is now running the computer and does know what or why things are done."
Craig Lalley of EchoTech, who resells storage solutions and consults for both HP 3000 and Unix companies, offered one of the best answers to the how-many-are-left query. "The answer is 'more than you think, but not enough for HP to make any money with it'," he said.