At the recent meeting of Charon HPA/3000 experts, prospects, and allies, a question emerged from Steve Cooper of Allegro, who wanted an update on the cloud-based capabilities of Charon for 3000s. “Technologically it’s a slam dunk,” said Stromasys General Manager Bill Driest (above), adding that the implementation on Charon VAX and Alpha versions has been tested and implemented for about eight customers so far. Others have been working with a perpetual license for the product in their private clouds.
"We know some customers who have bought a perpetual license are running it in a private cloud environment," Driest said at the recent HP 3000 Training and Social Event. "How we're going to monetize that market is something I think the people in this room can help us with."
The company was represented at last year's VM World virtualization conference. "Cloud is a growing part of our business," Driest said. "We had a full cloud demonstration, live, and up and running. We're able to provision a machine on the fly. We had two different sized VAXes, two different sized Alphas. We're trying to assess the market for this. How big is that subset?"
For manufacturing applications, "You need to be close to the wire, and you're not close to being in the cloud. For certain HIPAA data [in healthcare], it would need to be a private cloud without a public cloud. We've tested, we've sized, we've done some of the cost models. Today, if we want to sell a perpetual unlimited license we get the money up front. In a cloud model it might be a 3-year, $1,000 a month kind of thing."
Stromasys is looking at how cloud implementations of its product change the dynamics of how the company goes to market. "We are very interested in the conversation, but not from the technology perspective. It works and the customers are starting to ask questions about the cloud for certain sets of apps. They say 'I don't want an emulator, I want you to take the whole thing.' But we're not sure from a business side where we divert some of our resources -- on how we market it, how we price it, and how we sell it."
Is an HP 3000 customer more applicable to this kind of virtualization, where a customer only wants to run an application, without datacenter investment or on-site IT management? "I don't think we have a clear understanding of that yet," Driest said. "From the technology side we're there. But is the world ready for emulation and the cloud on legacy systems all at once?"
Today, Stromasys sales are 40 percent direct to customers, and 60 percent through a reseller channel that includes HP. Some "boutique VARs" know niche products. "Someone's in the MANMAN market with a 3000, and these VARs focus on that," Driest said. "The emulator comes as part of their normal work."
An HP 3000 support provider asked about how that channel could help him help his customers, 135 sites running HP 3000s. "So they don't keep dropping off every July fiscal cycle."
"Well, we could start with my card," Driest said, drawing a gust of laughter from the support company as well as the room full of the 3000 ecosystem players.