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Software Repairs vs. Upgrade Budgets

Fram now or laterHP 3000s around the world are running with old fashioned releases of software. Until a problem arises with those tools, platforms, or applications, it's not a problem. At least, it's not one to bother the budget officers at the users' organization. It's also an education in paying now, or paying later.

But come up with something odd, and a user might get an solution for a problem that will ripple the waters of IT budgets. On the PowerHouse user group mailing list, an enterprise server manager asked about an issue with subfiles. In time, the solution seemed to be adopting the newest version of PowerHouse.

Oops. Whether that version would repair the trouble or not, making a move to PowerHouse 8.40G wasn't going to fit on the manager's workbench budget. This wasn't the challenge of paying for a user license upgrade. The expense for this enterprise HP server site would be all in the testing.

Truth is, using a more current version is not really an option. PowerHouse is only used for our legacy apps, and management will never expend the time and effort to do all the testing we would have to do to install a new version. 

This kind of support solution can be a signal for starting a migration in earnest. If you've got a bug that only a new version of the software can fix, and there's a testing budget to approve, an IT manager can figure out which battle to fight. Neither is without costs. But one of the solutions is long-term. The homesteader just watches for the next bug to fix.

There's always the pragmatism of IT operations to consider. "Pay me now, or pay me later," said an old-fashioned advertisement for oil filters from Fram. You could change the filter, or you could pay for a rebuild on the engine later on.

It would be tricky to say that the latest 8.40G release runs on MPE/iX. It doesn't. This manager's repair problem was on an HP VMS system. But the concept is completely applicable to 3000 computing. A PowerHouse consultant couldn't be sure that the latest version would fix the problem.

But the bigger problem is a lack of upgrade budgets for what that manager called a legacy system. If you can't upgrade to resolve legacy problems, there's a bigger problem coming. Later.