34 colleges start testing 3000 migration code
University's migration aims at simple goals

HP-UX to serve 10,000 college users by 2011

Speedware is leading work from four vendors to enable the migration of a 10,000-user HP 3000 site to HP-UX servers in Washington state. The State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) has relied on Speedware for management of the project since the September 2009 inception. The vendor promotes a “lift and shift” approach for many of its projects that move complex 3000-based systems to newer hardware. Sometimes that means recreating tools and technology that wasn't broken on MPE/iX, just hosted on a platform the customer wants to leave.

ScreenJet's TransAction, as well as its EZV screen generation tool, are two prime examples of this kind of recreation. While exploring the programming behind hundreds of application user interfaces, ScreenJet's Alan Yeo documented VPlus anomalies and bugs in the UI. To keep the coding straightforward and the project basic, the EZV replacement for VPlus recreates all of the known and discovered UI behaviors.

“We had to find out what's going on” in the VPlus interface, Yeo explained, “and then we have to replicate the bugs and the undocumented features, because we don't know for certain how many times they're being used.”

A system with thousands of programs, using tens of thousands of reports across more than 30 servers is simply too complex to succeed at anything but this lift and shift strategy. The key is to put all the pieces back in their places on a new platform, so an interface behaves exactly as it did on the HP 3000.

A 3000 tool such as Transact or VPlus “relies on these things happening and the data being cleaned up,” Yeo said. “The only thing you can do is replicate what happens.” Our objective is that you should never have to read the application code” to enable a migration. The heavy code lifting for TransAction was done by the team including Dave Dummer, the original author of Transact.”

Yeo said his work on the project and EZV taught him a great deal about the number of bugs in VPlus. “The stuff we have found this year has been unbelievable.” EZV accounts for all that ScreenJet discovered and documented during the project.

Packaging for migration

Speedware's senior project manager Dedem Chatalolu said the migration moved quickly because the SBCTC staff packed up its application code adeptly.

“We were able to walk them through the process of how to package the code, group the executables together so we could deliver things back to them in phases,” she said. “They really helped and supported us in that.” She added that the 9,000 test cases from the colleges helped Speedware test its migration code work.

Chatalolu pointed to ScreenJet's product TransAction, which after refinements made it possible to run that code on non-MPE systems, as essential to the success so far. ScreenJet leveraged a version of TransAction under intense deadline pressures.

“There were some crunch times along the way where we really needed to double down,” said Speedware's marketing director Chris Koppe, “to hit the targets on time.”

One essential element of the migration was already polished: Marxmeier's Eloquence database, replacing TurboIMAGE. “It was nice was going to Eloquence, which has enabled us to take TurboIMAGE databases and port them over with very little work,” Adams said.

As the migrated code arrives in the IT group for testing, Adams credited MB Foster for making the crucial Data Express reports a carry-forward tool for the colleges. They retrofitted their product so the existing catalogs and reports work with their new UDALink product,” he said. Each college runs 1,000 to 2,000 versions of the fundamental reports.