Security patches still floating HP-UX cloud
Just how good were those good old days?

How Support (With)holds Key to Emulation

At some HP 3000 sites, the servers are working to deliver IT services to a subset of customers. One site in Virginia which handles healthcare administration is keeping an N-Class server online using Amisys/3000. But the issue which concerns the company isn't so much the tech capability of the Stromasys HPA/3000 emulator. Licenses with existing vendors worry this prospect.

Cognos/IBM is at the top of the list for this company, even through they dropped Powerhouse support long ago. Powerhouse has been an integral part of the Amisys surround code. Cognos wasn't the friendliest company to negotiate with during the MPE heydays. An emulator license for Powerhouse would have to be arranged with IBM.

Other arrangements would include a license for Amisys itself, which is part of the McKesson Group by now. This is one of the software programs running in Virginia where support is being paid -- Adager is another -- and so there's a better chance of getting that license transferred. A transfer license is what's needed for this market. However, it's a lot harder to start up a transfer discussion after you've terminated support.

There are going to be other kinds of prospects where the Stromasys software has a better chance today. The sites where support is intact, or there's plenty of in-house code with no vendors to negotiate with, will have a smoother path. In a spot like that Virginia IT shop, licenses are linked to vendors which will likely expect some support.

This support renewal raises the price bar for the emulator, of course.

We've reported on other strategies on how much an emulator ought to cost. Comparing it to the value of the company works, so long as the 3000 drives the entire company's IT. That's not the case in Virginia. HP's BladeServers drive Windows, while the HP-UX systems are running Facets (another healthcare app), but are soon to be replaced by Sun's hardware and Linux. (Take that, HP; Oracle has won that contest.)

The IT pro we interviewed at the shop asked first about technical capability, and the HPA/3000 has been shining there. In very short order he asked about licenses. Hewlett-Packard's emulator licensing is ensured, and companies like Adager, Robelle and VEsoft have expressed little concern about licensing their software for an emulator. (There are tests to be run at some vendor labs. Robelle reported early this year that the HPA/3000 passed all of its tests through February).

Although it might seem like it's hard to convince a CTO or CIO to maintain support contracts on 3000 software, extending support can keep some options open -- especially if there's no clear migration project timeline. Support relationships, renewed regularly, look like they're holding the key to admit the emulator.