Fresh binary patch fixes 3000's diagnostics
Support continues, even as 3000s move on

3000 sites proceed toward new year of life

We're taking Dec. 31 off in celebration of the New Year, one that will usher in the first days of a new era in 3000 management -- the demise of HP's support for the server, although one HP engineer reports that he recently took his first support call for MPE/iX and the 3000 in a year. We'll see you in the coming new year of afterlife.

NCMS Browser interface HP's Mature Support for 3000s ends in less than 48 hours here in North America. While the vendor still wants some business from 3000 owners, the 2011 HP services are limited at best. Hardware support? Yes, some parts of the worldwide support arm are seeking a renewal of existing contracts. Why not ā€” the 3000 hardware failures are rare, and parts are plentiful.

For operational purposes, HP's going to pass away on Friday night if you're not using anything but 3000s and PCs in your enterprise. This is the "End of Life" Hewlett-Packard has been warning the world about for the last two years. Many customers simply don't have Dec. 31 on a calamity calendar, however.

Some are migrating (like the January go-live for a college data processing firm in browser-Linux-Eloquence technology, whose after-before screens are shown above -- click for detail). Others have no plans to move. But most customers checking in during this last week of HP's 3000 operations are working on their own schedules. "Two HP 3000s continue in use here," reported Mike Mayers of The Andersons, a grain processor and network of retail stores in the Midwest." One will more than likely be around 3-plus years, and the other at least another year or more."

Mayers used to support applications on another Andersons 3000 "that went out early in 2010. I sure like the 3000, but I now support Baan ERP on HP Unix."

At Smurfit-MBI, the HP 3000 "will still be running in 2011, and probably in 2012," said Ken Thompson of the IT group. An SAP migration is underway at this corrugated packaging manufacturer with dozens of locations across North America. "We don't anticipate any issues with that 2011-12 timeline."

Some 3000s remain in use as support systems for vendors who continue to tend to installed sites.  "I have no plan to migrate," Martin Gorfinkel of LARC Computing reports. "I keep two HP 3000 machines: one sits at home and is turned on only when I need it. The other sits in my office, which I rarely visit.
"The machines are used only when needed for software support. I am not about to try writing code for any other system -- so when there are no more HP 3000 users I will complete my move to retirement. Until that time, I will continue to support the Fantasia [page formatting] package."

Next month marks the first 30 days of live operations for National College Management Systems. Our Student Information System CAPSTONE has run for 25 years on the HP 3000," said president John Wardenski, "and this January we go live with our new product, CAPSTONE Backoffice."
NCMS moved from IMage, COBOL, VPlus and the Reflection connectivity software to Eloquence running on Red Hat Linux, Micro Focus COBOL, with its interfaces run completely through Web brower technology (Apache and Firefox).

"We did the move in three phases," Wardenski said, "and it took three years to move our product from the 3000 to its new environment."

1. Convert five databases from IMAGE/SQL to Eloquence
2. Convert 66 background (batch) reports ā€“ HP JCL to XML, and HP COBOL to MF COBOL. All reports are launched from the browser.
3. Converted 144 VPlus Screens to XML, XSL, CSS, and JavaScript, which runs inside the Firefox browser.

We'll be tracking the reports of the 3000's afterlife -- if you want to stick with the HP metaphor of end of life -- closely in the year to come. But tomorrow night will come and go with little concern compared to the drama of Dec. 31 of Y2K.