Foul weather in fair climate
The atmosphere in HP environments is in turmoil this year. Fear,
uncertainty and doubt are everywhere, as the winds of change blow
constantly around desktops, networks and servers. But as an HP 3000
customer, you shouldn't confuse foul weather with your fair climate. One is
the state of the atmosphere at the moment. The other is the average
condition of the weather over a period of years.
Weather is what we all talk about. It's in our face, outside our
windows. Climate is what we accept and live with, because our perception of
it comes from a broader viewpoint.
Out on the Internet, some of the most dedicated HP 3000 customer
have been talking about the weather in the MPE marketplace. There's a lot
of discussion about the HP 3000's future in the face of HP's Unix sales
tsunami. It's raining promises out there, a deluge of hype from trade
magazines and marketing departments. It's a hard rain, and some people are
worried the water might strand their investment in the HP 3000.
Some people even see the desktop storms over market share as a
barometer of the coming weather in the server atmosphere. Windows 95, they
say, will kill the Macintosh. Microsoft is raining on the Mac's innovation,
catching up. We hear the same things said about HP-UX and MPE/iX. You
should not they are often said by the people who have wrapped themselves
around a new technology, considering it as the silver lining in their storm
clouds of change.
Here's a tip: weather doesn't matter, unless you're stuck in it.
Last night was one of the most pleasant we've had in Austin. Dry, cool,
with a teasing breeze. But just outside Montgomery, Ala., a hurricane sank
my friend's boat, and nearly drowned him along with it. He lost his wallet
and escaped with his life.
Did I worry about the weather here in Austin? No, I knew the
climate. Hurricanes at their worst bring rain here, 150 miles inland from
the Gulf, and little else. The climate for HP 3000 customers is far better
than the weather they face from the doubters. You bring to your atmosphere
what you perceive. If all the news tells you that the Unix lunacy will pull
the tide over your position, it probably will. If you look over the
atmosphere and believe some rain must fall before the sun gleams the next
day, that's likely to happen too.
Nothing in a trade magazine or a marketing sheet can change what
working in your HP 3000 environment. The only thing which that weather can
change is your perception. There will always be a place for innovative,
reliable, easily maintained computer products. Only when the HP 3000 loses
its characteristic traits will HP-UX usurp it. Maybe when the sun comes up
in the east...
Some people who fret about HP 3000 market share do so thinking
their concern will change it. They don't want to be stranded, watching
their vendor abandon them for a newer opportunity. They want confidence,
and they look to their vendor to supply it via advertising and promises.
The confidence they need must come from inside them, from the success they
show with their HP 3000 systems. There are no magic slickers to waterproof
your environment. It takes work and experience to succeed. Wearing what's
working instead of the latest resume-building fashion isn't hip, but it is
responsible computing. This is what companies should invest in.
Marketing matters, more than it ever has. But it still doesn't
mean more than how well something works. Look at everthing that's being
promised. Look harder at how well it really works, and its actual costs.
Don't confuse promises with performance. And consider the climate that you
live with the next time you see foul weather blow around your desktop or
- Ron Seybold