November, 2005

New rituals can reduce year-end stress

NewsWire Editorial

My wife Abby and I spent this Sunday morning enjoying a long bike ride through the Texas countryside near Austin. Then we sat down to find a beachside rental house, small enough to be inexpensive, for our Thanksgiving week. Neither these Sunday long rides or Turkey Day away from the house have been part of our rituals. We’re establishing new ones, especially around the end of year.

This is a time when many of us settle into habits. Some of it is healthy, like pulling away from the relentless work ethic; Americans take less vacation than anybody. The stress robs our lives of joy.

This time of year in 2006 could be notably different for some HP 3000 shops. By this month, those sites which need to stick with a vendor’s support will need to be in the home stretch of their migration. HP is likely to honor support contracts for anybody who’s closing in on a switch to other HP enterprise servers. How close you’ll need to be depends on how much extra support you can negotiate with HP.

Negotiating 3000 support terms might feel as different as spending every Sunday morning on the bike, wearing spandex shorts and negotiating a rising wind. We had little of that in our faces today, unlike yesterday’s ride with its 20 MPH gusts. You take whatever weather you get in order to maintain a practice of pedaling. Our 16 miles today were blissful, with partial clouds to keep it cool and the always-peaceful scenery of Brushy Creek.

It’s easy to expect what you’ve always experienced, especially around the end of the year. This is a time when we seem to permit each other a little time off. When HP announced the end of its 3000 business in 2001, the division decided to drop the axe in mid-November — knowing that the shock and turmoil would be capped, somewhat, by the holiday slowdown we all know.

That was four years ago this month, 80 percent of the time that HP figured it would take for the majority of customers to migrate. Like many forecasts, that prediction hasn’t worked out exactly as planned. We figure, by looking at the reports from the customers, close to half of everybody hasn’t begun to engineer their migrations. If you included planning, perhaps two-thirds are doing something about migration off the server HP won’t support in 2007.

But a good share of that planning involves running HP 3000s well past the vendor’s closing time. New rituals about 3000 support have already sprung up. Next year will mark a serious uptick for third party 3000 services, both in migration as well as homestead plans. After all, anybody who’s going to make that December deadline needs to arrange a new support tradition.

This kind of tradition might feel as different as the week at the beach we hope to arrange. For Abby and I, time away means either vistas, seashores, or shiny metropolis touring. Things have changed enough for us that we need to negotiate a good discount to enjoy our holiday responsibly. You might have to face a similar shift, arranging for use of a 3000 budget which up to now was either automatic or inconsequential in size.

You are likely to run up against significant demand for 3000 services during 2006, whether you are migrating or staying put as a homesteader. It might feel like what we’re encountering in our beach house search. We started late, maybe like you were forced to when your budgets weren’t ready for 2002 or 2003 migration work. HP has to take a black eye on its announcement schedule in 2001: The news didn’t surface until 2002’s money was already planned.

There are other delays you’ll need to plan for on the horizon. Intel hasn’t been able to meet its deadlines for delivering the Montecito version of its Itanium chips, the engine for HP’s Integrity servers. You can purchase the slower generation of chips and upgrade later, but it will cost you extra. An Integrity purchase is probably on your horizon if you’re moving to HP’s Unix. HP’s only going to sell its PA-RISC Unix servers another two years, if we’re to believe what we heard at the Technology Forum.

For the homesteader, networks become the primary project over the next year or so. Stepping away from HP’s ecosystem will demand a replacement, expanding your community activity to stay in touch with resources and solutions for problems. The Internet is a marvelous help in this networking, from the prospect for a virtual classroom I saw in the OpenMPE meeting this summer to the vast treasures available through Google’s search engine. We’ve had a marvelous time posting up on our blog every business day since the summer, and the community is talking back and among themselves at the blog, too.

Now we look into 2006 and see the potential for classic networking among 3000 sites. Face to face sharing is likely to become a reality someplace for MPE/iX users, either through user group Encompass and its plans to transfer the Interex SIG experience, or at a 3000-only event on a long weekend, probably out in the Bay Area. The timing for such a meeting might be a new tradition: A gathering to share reports on what’s worth adding to next year’s budget, held in the fall when the colors are crisp in Silicon Valley. So whether you travel to Houston for the next Encompass Technology Forum, to the Bay Area for a 3000 meeting, or just open your browsers to keep in touch, we hope networking in your community becomes a ritual for you. It’s easy to feel isolated using a classic server that’s not on the lips of every analyst and editor. It’s easy to lay out that spread for a dozen people on your dinner table, or go crazy over the holiday at the malls and Web sites.

Setting a course for less stressful year-end is a good practice to begin this year. Contact the 3000 expert of your choice and get a relationship set up now, before the stress of 2006 comes any closer. Have a stressless holiday with new rituals — like checking our blog on workdays for reports that can make your 2006 easier.

— Ron Seybold

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