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3000's orbit decaying slower during 2012

NewsWire Editorial

Print-ExclusiveThe HP 3000 orbits our community like a GPS satellite. It was launched long ago and now provides us with reference to reach destinations in our future. For some companies the 3000 and MPE have represented a waypoint to move away from, a technology mile-marker to show you how far they've come. But fewer shops are moving off by now. That orbit of this system and its users is now decreasing its rate of decay.

The big projects that supported a deep bench of larger vendors are much harder to find this year. If a vendor is efficient enough to survive on $10,000 a month of billable hours for an engagement, then there's still business to be written, of course.

Given enough time, migrations will draw to a close just like new MPE software did. The end of these transitions may signal a door opening for new revenue. We've always argued that sustaining a 3000 demands spending, and vendors are now seeing application and operational support business rise. Migrations are not ended yet, but turning the last 20 percent of your market into Linux, Unix or Windows shops, or something more virtual, is going to take a long time -- maybe twice as long as the other 80 percent took to launch or complete migrations. It took migrators at least seven years to move that much.

Now that the 3000 can be pared down to its essence of MPE and IMAGE, about to be freed from physical hardware, there could be another 15 years of homesteading life. It's been called the afterlife, yes, but that's a force as durable as vampires in our storytelling. Abraham Lincoln hunted vampires, according to a summer movie. What story isn't better with vampires?

Although you can't see a satellite, you can count on its echo in the dark. This spring there's enough dark shadows in our community to cloud a bountiful way toward the future. Careers can be restarted after training, but that will take time. Migration used to be quicker business to win, while the worry about risk was being churned up and colleagues' transition stories were everywhere. Now your market is settling in for its afterlife. I've been told this year looks to be a period where people are sitting tight, waiting for the world to change. Another migrator said 2012 is certainly going to be slow on the migration side. The advent of an emulator will extend migrations over a much longer timeframe, he believes.

That won't feed the vendors that need new revenues. I've asked to hear from migration customers and there have been a few who've called. But their stories either describe projects just begun with no need for outside help, following others' lead in a few years to replace applications -- or long-completed and now in another transition, moving beyond migration. That's a kind of afterlife, too.