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3000 is 4 years from graduation at district

The HP 3000 has four more years of service to give to the San Bernadino County Schools, but the server's apps are being migrated to make room for fresher hardware. Dave Evans, manager of the 3000s at the school district, said that availability of more current hardware started pushing the apps onto Dell's Windows-based servers.

The Human Resources app has been turned over to virtual servers running on a Dell system, Evans said. When HP stepped away from delivering service and products to the district -- Evans said the schools couldn't get a call returned from the vendor -- it started the shift to Dell for new systems. The HP 3000s, however, continued to enter the IT shop. The district bought latest-model N-Class servers in 2002 and 2007, both off the reseller market from Ideal Computer.

Evans said that Ideal assured the district that it could get whatever hardware was need to keep the production running through 2015.

Of the nine major systems at the district, four have been migrated, including the all-important human resources apps that are crucial to any school employing thousands of teachers and staff. Still to complete are the big general ledger, payroll and retirement systems. San Bernadino, which is doing the migration itself, expects to be completely migrated in 2015. That's 31 years since the 3000s started working at the school district, right along with Evans in May, 1984.

Evans adds that he's on target to retire a bit before the 3000s are switched off, scheduled to leave the district in a couple of years. This is a situation that's commonplace in the 3000 community, as veterans with decades of experience end their careers around the time 3000s leave the shop.

By the end of 2015, the school's apps will be migrated to the .NET architecture under Windows, Evans said. Initially the migration called for a "clean sheet" approach, rethinking and designing the apps from scratch. "As the amount of time left to get this done is decreasing," he said, "we're starting to switch to making a pretty screen for the user from the Windows world. Pretty much, the back end of this stuff we'll take as written on the HP 3000, and rewrite it over to .NET."

Evans has been monitoring the future of that Microsoft architecture, however. When we spoke this week he was checking on a rumor that .NET may not be supported in the Windows 9 or IE 9 environments. Considering how many 3000 sites are moving to .NET, this kind of vendor departure has serious implications, if it turns out to be true. More on that tomorrow.