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Quality, emulator futures slowing migrations

RoadblockSome of the migration tool and service suppliers are expecting migrations from the 3000 to slow to a trickle this year. Alan Yeo of ScreenJet told us last week that the chance of extending the life of 3000 applications, by using the Stromasys HPA/3000 software, is going to put on the brakes for the sites that didn't have a clear future strategy for their 3000 servers.

Even without the possibility of replacing Series 900 hardware with the PC hardware plus software that starts at $15,000, most of the 3000 programs in production are not broken. They continue to do the job they were built for, although they could work faster, or connect better to new peripherals.

3000 managers wonder about these things. "Am I the only one out here?" they ask, in public forums like the 3000-L mailing list and newsgroup. The answer is no, you're not the only one out there. In fact, the populace of 3000 customers is surprising, both in its numbers and the work these systems do. The brand-new chairman of the Connect user group's board has managed a 3000 shop for many years. Steve Davidek is on the record as a fan of the 3000, even while his shop at the City of Sparks has migrated numerous 3000 apps.

"The City of Sparks, Nevada will be running an HP 3000 and BiTech Payroll at least through 2011," he said on the newsgroup. "Maybe longer, as the process to convert to our new system was hampered by the amount of budget we are allowed. Then again, why the rush? It is still the best out there."

"We have three-year migration plan," said another manager on the 3000 mailing list. "And I doubt my last three HP 3000 shops have a plan in place yet."

Brett Forsyth, a reseller who has more than 20 years experience in the 3000 market, did a survey of his client list and found almost 200 HP 3000s still active within the last year or so.

My number totaled 197 known active. These are HP 3000s in a range  running from Micro XEs to N-Class 750 4-way systems — and those are just the ones that I know of personally. Keep in mind that some of these clients have multiple units in multiple locations.

This is the beast that just won't die, in spite of Carly [Fiorina] and all the other MBAs who thought they knew better.

The largest best-known installation might be at Navitaire, the airline billing company. Mark Ranft last reported that the enterprise which was once known as Open Skies runs more than a dozen of the largest HP 3000s that Hewlett-Packard ever sold.

We have 21 HP 3000's. Eighteen of them are the largest, fully-loaded N4000-4-750 systems you can get. We have migrations to Windows in various stages, but there is also a very  real need for legacy data access after the migration. The alternative is to migrate all the data and all the archival history, and that can be costly.

These are the sites that Stromasys will hope to attract with an emulator, pushing the horsepower of every emulated system to a minimum of an A-Class, with a top end even higher than those 750s. For those companies and organizations constrained by budgets, the goal of maintaining "the best out there" may dictate a lull in the march to migration. There's nothing wrong with a lull. It gives the companies who help migrate data, or servers, a chance to polish their products and collect a few more reference success stories. We're glad to spread both kinds of stories -- emulation as well as migration -- so get in touch with us as you or your clients make news.