Migration testimony charts meticulous
HPs examples at conference outline projects
spanning years, costing millions
As HP and its migration partners tour the US this
fall, the customer reports HP presented in an HP World migration
roundtable show that moves off the system are likely to cover many
Customers from a software and service bureau vendor,
a tax services subsidiary, and a busy seaport all described their
migrations away from HP 3000s. Only one of the three customers began
its migration from the system since HPs announcement of the end
of its support, while the other two customers migrated during the
HPs George Stachnik hosted the meeting of about
60 people at HP World, describing the customer base as still deciding
how to handle the transition era.
My sense of it is that most people are still in
the planning process, Stachnik said. Only two hands went up
when Stachnik asked if any customers were farther along than
trying to see if you can do this, and what your options
are regarding migration.
All three of HPs testimonial customers
Ceridian Tax Services, CT3, and Virginia International Terminals
(VIT) reported they are satisfied with their choices to phase
out their HP 3000s. VITs assistant IT director Clark Farabaugh,
who just began his quest toward a new server this summer, said the
decision to shift to HPs Unix servers has changed our
shop, for better or worse.
VIT took delivery of a Unix-based rp8400 server in
July to replace its HP 3000s, and Farabaugh said we were the
first ones on board. The applications running at VIT handle
shipments through a terminal with 7,000 international longshoremen at
work, and a desire to Web-enable the apps led VIT away from the 3000.
The project will take 12 to 18 months to complete in the 45-person IT
staff, taking apps from Speedware on the 3000 to Speedware on
Even though Farabaugh described TurboIMAGE as
the fastest database Ive ever seen, the
organization is moving toward using Oracle on its migrated system.
Three IT staffers VIT is doing all the work in-house
are being trained in database admin for Oracle.
Speedware did do the conversion of the VIT database,
part of a six-week engagement that Speedwares Professional
Services did for VIT. Theres a lot of care and feeding
youve got to do to keep the Oracle performance up,
Testimony from CT3s president Steve Hall
verified that the actual transition from the 3000 to the 9000 was the
toughest part of the project. CT3 made its shift in the early 1990s
when it pursued a customer which was already using HP-UX.
Speedwares code ported over no problem, Hall said.
The president of the company, which sells its timber
tracking solution to forestry companies, said that implementing a
Unix application for customers was easier than explaining why they
were using the HP 3000.
Its been an advantage in getting the
deals, Hall said. Its easier for a mediocre
salesman like me to sell something with name recognition.
The largest migration project that was outlined at
the one-hour session came out of Ceridians tax service
subsidiary. David Goodman, who worked on the project during its
1996-1999 timespan, said his transition was budgeted for $10 million
and ultimately cost $20 million. Much of the initial cost came in
learning about the companys applications, and paying an outside
firm to lead the project.
One of the things we discovered is how much you
dont know about your application, Goodman said.
Once everybody forgot about the pain its kind of
like childbirth after the initial hookups, I think everybody
was pleased. Ceridian had a 170 people including some from the
user community working on the project at its peak, including a
development group of 50 to 60 engineers. HPs Professional
Services group assisted in the project with outside consulting.
CT3s migration appeared to take the shortest
amount of time, producing an app with the same functionality in a
project that ran from August of 1994 to January of 1995. The company
ported 3,000 programs totaling 1 million lines of source code,
applications written entirely in Speedware.
Hall said that CT3 has been happy with the
reliability of the HP-UX hardware, saying that the HP 9000s which it
operates havent needed a reboot in three years. He
added that CT3 ended up using Oracle like it was an IMAGE
database at first.
Goodmans experience with getting Ceridian onto
Unix came at a much higher cost because of the projects
complexity. It was a very large project, and very large
projects get very complex, he said. After several years when
the company planned the move, the one-year project ultimately took
two years, finishing just a few months before the Y2K deadlines
kicked in around the worlds IT shops.
Workload on the companys operations staff
during the migration was a whole lot more than under HP
3000 operations. Three servers running MPE/iX became six servers
running HP-UX, including three V-Class servers, the largest HP 9000
boxes at the time.
Ceridians move was prompted by a choice to use
Oracle on the HP 3000 well before the company committed to a
migration. When Oracles support staff knowledgeable in HP 3000s
dwindled to less than a handful of engineers, the company chose to
move to the Unix platform and keep Oracle. COBOL applications
totaling several million lines of code had to be converted to
MicroFocus environment for Unix.
We found a lot of the debugging tools to be
much better, and more robust Goodman said, and it was
painful at first for the programmers. But from a long-term
perspective it was good for their careers. Very little of the
$20 million expense came from training users, because they got
the same application they had before.
Like CT3, VITs Clark said he didnt plan
to get much extra use of Oracles advantages when migrating the
ports applications at first. VIT has licensed DISCs
OmniAccess to replace the indexing functionality of Omnidex, which
has been powering the HP 3000 apps.
VITs decision came from hearing HPs
briefings about the 3000 at this years e3000 Solutions
Symposium. He advised customers who are migrating to do your
homework up front, and prepare an adequate budget.
Advice from Hall and Goodman on how they would do
things differently today covered both technical nuance and political
processes. Hall said his IT team learned that MPEs batch job
management was more straightforward, and that its not as easy
to run jobs in a particular order under a Unix environment.
Goodman said customers looking at a migration would
be well-served to ensure you get buy-in on the project from
management and from users. That was important when we ran into