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Tracing 3000links to Their Breaking Points

BrokenRobotOnce upon a time there was a vast and charted territory of HP 3000 websites and webpages. The resources that appear on hp3000links.com still include some detailed, straight-line jumps to companies still serving 3000 sites. Or at least companies which still have support customers for software products, or contracts to migrate companies off the server.

We rolled up our browser sleeves and waded into hp3000links this afternoon to see what's gone past its sell-by date. If you've been in the marketplace long enough you'll recognize the list of vendors that pops up on the site's front page -- even if some of those company names are all that remain of community resources. More than a dozen out of the first third of the list's vendor links are landing on dead pages or websites that have evolved into other ventures.

VendorList 3-GFor example, 5 Diamond IT Consulting drops you onto the diamonds.com website, where fine jewelery is sold. The old Diamond Optimum Systems once gave HP 3000 users "the Windows interface to MPE management," but the company was merged with Serena Software. Computech's address has become a racing parts website, CSI Business Solutions' a maker of jars for the cosmetics industry. But the 3000links page pop-up (click for detail) still mainlines directions to community stalwarts like 3k Associates, Adager, DIS International (Mark Klein's consulting), G. Schipper and Associates and even Gainsborough House in the UK -- one of the few places where you can read about MPEX from a supplier of the product. (VEsoft doesn't do websites, just the now-rare customer visits.) At 3k Associates, you'll find a Tech Wiki that traces the last known 3000 businesses across a vast list of companies -- and you can contribute what you've learned yourself, wiki-style.

Gainsborough is also handling Surveillance/DB, Surveillance/OS, DBControl-Online, GUI3000, Security/3000, VEaudit/3000, and is an outpost for Bradmark's DBGENERAL, DBAUDIT and Superdex. The 3000links pointer to the Bradmark website directs to the Bradmark main page. Another click or two and a scroll down to the bottom of a products page reveals a small pop-up menu with links to the MPE products. Many more references to SQL databases abound on that website.

Other notes we've gleaned from this first pass and data check of the 3000links.com's Vendors and Consultants menu:

• Advanced Network Systems, where David Thatcher developed the ADBC database middleware, lands on a "not found" 404 page.
• The Aldon Computer Group, which once offered 3000 COBOL tools, has no 3000 notes among its products.
• Carolian Software, Computing Solutions Ltd., Education & Training Consulting Services, Computer Financial Services, Cosmos Technology and Fioravanti Redwood Inc. all point to links that are in hibernation (addresses ready for sale) or retired links.
• Carter-Pertaine's link doesn't lead anywhere, but that's because the maker of school systems long ago merged with K-12 vendor QSS.
• Cognos connects to PowerHouse products, after three clicks
• Crawford Software Consulting is still doing HP 3000 services for MANMAN, GrowthPower, and lists itself as a reseller for Minisoft and MB Foster products
• Former support powerhouse Datagate Incorporated closed at the end of 2010 after 32 years. Datagate Systems LLC was formed by some former engineers and managers from Datagate’s Defense Systems Group. The new, leaner Datagate lists 9GB A4910A disks in its inventory. But that's not a novelty; a refurbished 9GB disk is available on Amazon for $82.76 (from IT Equipment Xpress)
• DataNow now points to Evolve, selling "software for municipalities, utilities and co-ops"
• Denkart NV still includes a link to ViaNova 3000, which as it has for years promises to "transfer entire customer-developed environments from HP 3000 to Open Systems like HP-UX or Linux."
• DISC's Omnidex supported-platforms page does not mention HP 3000 or IMAGE. Only the "Generic ODBC" interface holds any hope of support for MPE/iX databases. Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL are listed as supported database technologies.
• Easy Does It Technologies was acquired by Integrated Information Systems in 2003.
• Entrix Computing looks to be still run by Kim Harris, but it now "specifies solutions for Internet access requirements over mobile phone networks and wired broadband and offers a vast range of fibre to copper media converters."
• eXegeSys has been pointed at Azurri, which bills itself as one of the "UK’s leading IT support and implementation companies." The definition of support follows other indie suppliers. It says it is "committed to supporting the HP 3000 MPE/iX product range beyond the manufacturer's support withdrawal date.  New and existing customers can be assured of our continuing support services for HP 3000 range, built on our 20 years experience."
• Glassman Consulting Services reports on its migration progress. Its client Genesis Health System’s Precision 2000 system "is finally getting decommissioned along with the legacy HP3000 hardware platform that it resided."
— G.R. Helm still points to Adager and Robelle on its own links page, but it also lists Interex.org as a resource.

Then this list pops up dead links to an HP 3000 Consultant List and an HP 3000 Vendor List. We'll keep up the digging to help renovate the 3000links.com to some useful extent -- plus point out more current resources on the web, too.