November is a month filled with memory for many a 3000 owner and user. Some of the sting of watching HP stop its futures for the 3000 is sparked by the enthusiasm offered by HP's NonStop general manager, Winston Prather. NonStop enjoys its first exclusive conference this fall, the same year that Prather is finishing up his fourth year as GM of the server's Enterprise Division.
Prather held the very last post of General Manager for the 3000, a job where he said it was his decision alone to announce the "end of life" (as HP loves to call it) of the server still running many a major organization. You can pretty much see the retread from his 3000 talks in his message in the NonStop bimonthly magazine, The Connection, from his fall issue intro (pictured above; click for details).
With all the changes we've made... we've stayed true to the what NonStop has always done best: delivering the scalability, availability and integrity you rely on to run your business. It's a NonStop, not a Tandem. The difference is real, the fundamentals remain.
Fundamentals remain on duty at many HP 3000 shops which Prather predicted would be long ago migrated. But the struggle continues to eliminate an IT asset as quickly as he eliminated 3000 futures. One customer wrote us -- and didn't want their name used, for fear of risking a severance package -- about a second attempt to replace a custom-built application. "The packages we’ve been sold, complete with rosy allegations of full asset management functionality, simply don’t have it," the manager said.
This manager retired a month ago, only a few weeks after the organization's “conversion staff was only now asking for descriptions of the old database. They’re obviously not converting anything; they’re just going to archive the data and hope they can refer to it later."
In the meantime, the company's management dropped all support for the HP 3000s, even though one lost a disk drive and failed to boot from it. Other than a daily full backup, there's not even a shadow of support for the systems. Without a tool like Adager to rely upon any longer, "the database will overfill (workorder lines keep on coming!) in about four weeks." Which would have been sometime last month. Of such high-level organization's decisions -- running a 3000 until it careens into a ditch, or over the side of a bridge -- are a system manager's nightmares conjured.
"I’ll return to the fray seeking work," said this 3000 pro. "But what I’ll do is in the air -- obviously not much 3000 development going on, but I may be just the ticket for maintenance projects, or I can probably be valuable in a conversion. I know I’m employable and there are a few 3000 community residents who know I’m reasonably smart; I’ll be okay."
There's no point in trying to learn why Prather decided in 2001 to kill off his company's future with such specialized organizations, while he saw the Tandem customer GMs move into HP's Itanium future. HP's hubris hovered on the dream that any 3000 app could be moved or replaced. NonStop made it and the 3000 didn't -- but along the road, the scalability, availability and integrity relied upon by some businesses is now in the hands of migration and conversion companies sent in to muck out the mess.
Perhaps the product name of the NonStop line will keep its customers from looking backward at the last business decision which HP put in Prather's hands alone. That's his story of your November history, even to this day. The buck stops at his GM's desk, right up to when he decides to dismantle the furniture of the future.