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Deals can improve for customers who wait

In the two years that the Stromasys emulator has been talked about, touted, tested and installed, the value of the product has fluctuated. In its earliest days it was a technical marvel which its creators figured could be a $200,000 collection of software and hardware to replace a half-million-dollar 3000. There was always room for smaller installations in the plan, but Stromasys seemed to be swinging for the home run, or the bicycle kick goal as regular time expired.

10 months of market and technical realties have set in since the product's first public demo over the Internet. About 8 months after that date a freeware version of limited licensees poked its way into the markets. Now the number 8 is being discussed as a new price point, as in an 8-user license. It's not fair to say the company's creators misunderstood the 3000 community. I dreamed right alongside them in a Skype call a couple of years ago, when they thought there might be as many as 20,000 systems running worldwide.

Since it's a number a lot lower than that -- and the homesteading sites are running on must-need budgets --prices have come down while the prouduct has matured. This week the vendor held a meeting to brief partners sitting beside some prospects about the tech marvel which wants to play a role in stabilizing the future of the un-migrated sites. Or at least slow the exodus considerably.

ScreenJet's Alan Yeo was part of that meeting this week, and he's preparing a report on what was said and promised and how it might affect customers in your market. He called the product a disruptor in December, but now also sees that it might have wheels, ones that even migration partners could ride for the customer's benefit. However, the emulator is no different from any migration project in a crucial way. Emulation is going to demand genuine planning on the part of the customer installing it.

Not to crib too much from Yeo's report showing up here soon, but he noted that to start, a customer is making the move up to MPE/iX 7.5 by taking on the Stromasys solution.

A change to the emulator requires some serious plan, and knowledge of what you're going to be moving. What you're going to need to reinstall. Don't take it for granted that the third party apps that you haven't paid support on for a long time won't just move -- and that you will have to get in touch with the supplier. Just so you can reinstall them on 7.5.

There are many frozen HP 3000s out there which would not consider a MPE version change from a stable environment. On the other hand, going to MPE/iX  7.5 and dragging along your vendor's license and a fresh  support agreement to an emulator -- that's going to be a lot less expensive than a migration. Just be sure you either have great help in your company, or are willing to hire companies to assist in the success.

It reminds me of a talk I had with Birket Foster this week. "It you're still on the 3000, it always starts with an inventory of what you have on the server," he said. Foster, just like his cohort Yeo, knows customers make these migration choices in thier own timeframe.

Yeo pointed to all work that's waiting for every in-house expert, some who won't admit to rusty 3000 skills. "it's not for people who don't want to spend any money, or who don't want to assign good people from the outside." he said. "It's not a $500 get out of jail free card."

Are you using DTCs? Or have a significant reliance on tape drives? Plan for a future without them, because they are not the stuff which Linux and modern Intel hardware live alongside. Carrying a 3000 virtualization engine into the next decade is going to require savvy people. Look to the migration partners to make an emulator a success at your company. By now you can look over this blog and see who they are: many of our sponsors, making the best of a tiime of change.