What'll you do if they bring their own?
Where they've gone: TV George, on from HP

Our Chain of Succession, and Yours

Early last week I fell victim to a brief bout of flu, but the fever was intense. It kept me away from the newswriting screen for the Newswire, and so we appeared to be off the air and away from our regular schedule.

There is a way to prepare for something like that outage, by simply banking stories in the CMS engine that powers the Newswire. I say simply with a little shudder, because writing ahead of developments is the heavy lifting that goes into sustaining the only HP 3000 news information resource.

A genuine chain of succession, in a pinch, would be to have another writer-editor at the ready to call or text and say, "take the helm for today, Brian." And Mr. Edminster, who's written and researched articles, would kick into gear. But that's still in the planning stages, as people like to say who don't have a plan finalized. There used to be other news resources for the 3000 world. But the likes of Interex, HP Professional, HP User and other former competitors has vanished. A lot like the raft of companies who wanted to help you migrate in 2003.

To draw the focus away from this weathered keyboard artist, a chain of succession works well if you have people in your network who could do your job. At least half as well for a little while, or a team of them to call upon serially, until you're back in the saddle. Your special knowledge of your company's business operations? Probably close to impossible to succeed, unless you work in a team where tribal knowledge is shared religiously.

The MPE-style backstop is an independent support company. In time, this sort of resource could even learn your business practices. We just got a request from a long-time 3000 customer who's started to look around for this help. Things as basic as "where in the world do I get patches" come up on the succession to-do list.

I am instructed to learn what kind of  software support is available for MPE. We are on 7.5 already. What this means is how we get important patches, especially network subsystem patches. This is to try to prevent systems being penetrated. Is anything available from HP, for fee or for free? Can third parties obtain and provide these to us?

It might not be a news flash to hear that support companies can ensure your 3000's reliability. But for a customer who's never used anything but HP -- and maybe not even them, recently -- relying on outside help is a good answer. To answer those questions from the customer, you can get patches from HP, given enough wait time with support, even though you have no 3000 contract with HP. And third parties are a great way to manage that kind of patch advice.

The providers of this sort of service sponsor the Newswire, so you could look around our webpages to find the likes of Pivital Solutions, The Support Group, the MPE Support Group, and more. There's also the host of contractors who could step in on quick notice. John Stevens of Take Care of IT comes to mind, as do Mark Ranft of Pro3K and Keven Miller of 3K Ranger.

There's a healthy list of contractor help up on the OpenMPE News website, one that we recently updated. If I've overlooked you, please let me know and we'll bring the world up to date.

In the meantime, I'm taking up offers for anyone who'd like to write a Newswire article in a pinch, or a fever. A little list of these stalwarts could forestall an outage like last Monday's -- along with a few more articles banked away.

The truth of it, in our case as well as yours, is that nobody could do our jobs in place of us. As one of our writers just said today, "You're planning for the unexpected. Not the apocalypse."