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June 2004

Finding a channel to float forward

NewsWire Editorial

Riding the river in the summertime seemed so easy. Too easy, for some of the people floating the San Marcos River with me. I just took my first float on the river of my second city, right down the street from our retreat bungalow, and I watched two kinds of floaters. Some felt like they had to do a lot of steering, splashing and paddling toward the faster current. Others let the slow river do the steering, while they stared at the massive elephant ear plants, the posing turtles and the treetops of oaks that swayed in the breeze.

That second kind of floater felt like a serious part of the HP 3000 community. They ride the steady current of more than 30 years of MPE engineering. They paddle very little, and let their IT routine carry their companies. Many of these floaters haven’t changed much about their HP 3000s, even more than two years after HP said it’s leaving.

The first kind of floater is busy. They know they need to stay out of the shoals they see, so they paddle toward Unix, or kick to Windows. A few of them are angling toward IBM’s offerings. More might follow now. They see a branch off the 3000 river, one that looks like its current is as sure as any HP promises, built on integration and inclusion. That latter element deserves a closer look.

One channel in the IBM river now appears even stronger than HP’s. New virtualization technology, built right into IBM’s CPU, will let its eServers run any operating system. HP wanted to offer such a marvel to 3000 users — 10 years ago. The company dropped the project. When HP revived virtualization, MPE and the 3000 couldn’t find a berth on the cruise ship Superdome.

People have been floating on the San Marcos River for 12,000 years, according to local lore. It bubbles from a spring that never runs dry — at least not yet. People here count on the river for commerce and satisfaction. Yes, that all sounds like your 3000’s legacy.

A river’s nature is to include anyone who stands on its banks. People float, ducks drink, kids snorkel, and swans fish. If you’re there, you can partake. IBM’s new virtualization not only included the 3000-like iSeries, but even let that system’s users get their feet wet first. If you’re the easy floater, then choosing a river channel won’t matter. If you’re splashing for a new course, then paddling toward the most inclusive vendor is a natural course, to avoid getting beached later.

— Ron Seybold 

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