Change has always cut through certainty with a double-edged sword. HP's elimination of the HP 3000 from its product line is a great example of a stunning swing of that sword. I learned from users immediately that they felt abandonded and betrayed about that decision. I've written novels' worth on that.
Over the years I also heard from some IT directors -- who didn't have much invested personally in MPE -- that cutting the 3000 from HP's line was the opening they craved. Now their IT center could be uniform, in step with something they knew better and admired for different reasons. It might be Unix, so their corporate masters would be pleased, or Windows, to make it easier for them to hire newer, less costly (younger) talent.
Then there has been the migration challenge which introduced new commerce opportunity. Companies could sell services and especially know-how, as well as tools to make changes (almost like Y2K, but with a more serious impact when the work fell short of expectations).
Change is a disruptor, even when it attempts to sustain the status quo.
This sustenance is the role the Stromasys emulator plays in 2013. Some software and service suppliers have been frank about it being an obstruction and a disruptor. Alan Yeo of ScreenJet said just that, while he was testing the freeware version of the Charon HPA/3000 Model 202A. He also said that after wading through a lot of installing steps, it worked as promised -- and he was impressed with the marvel, one that gave Intel hardware plus Linux a way to preserve MPE/iX. Yeo added that he figured just the promise of an emulator slowed down migrations in 2012, and he was correct about that, too.
Some of the 3000 software vendors have seen the HPA/3000 software tested by their customers, and that's good enough for the vendor's proof. If their customer wants to pay Stromasys $25,0000 to sustain MPE/iX, that's just fine with the vendor. It helps preserve the 3000 -- and its support payments to the vendor. If staying on a 3000 is an obstruction to vital growth, well, a company will see that at the right time. It's always been about timing, since HP's exodus. HP wanted everybody off the server six years ago, even expected it. That didn't happen, because risk is something that's a personal matter.
Risk shows up as problems, and problems always come up when software and hardware get together for mission-critical computing. Homestead or migrate, there's always risk. Perhaps the vendors who will make products for the emulator figure that's why you'll buy support from them, as well as from an indie company like Pivital Solutions, Allegro, Beechglen or others. In IT, things break and you fix them, or you hold your nose and use a workaround.
By now, there's a new aspect to the change introduced by the Stromasys product. People are writing software to help use it. Keven Miller created a free utility to transfer Store to Disk files to the "virtualized 3000" in the HPA/3000. This week's newest wrinkle: a product license created especially for the emulator, one that works inside the limits of the freeware version's 1-2 user license.
It's a small and initial development that almost lets you believe there's a marketplace emerging for the sustaining aspect of the 3000's change of life. There's been a decade of evidence of the commerce for the exodus of HP from the 3000 world.