| Front Page | News Headlines | Technical Headlines | Planning Features | Advanced Search |
Click for Ordina-Denkart Sponsor Page News Icon

September 2004

Migration panel speaks to curious users

HP presents managers from first completed projects

HP provided evidence that migrations from the 3000 are possible by presenting several completed case studies during HP World 2004 in Chicago. A room with almost 50 attendees asked detailed questions of a handful of customer managers, some of whom had recently finished their migrations from the 3000.

One attendee, Gary Paveza of insurance giant AIG, had said at last year’s HP World he’d only come back if his project was successful. Paveza, wearing an Interex 30-year anniversary ballcap, connected with the crowd’s curiousity about migration’s lessons and pitfalls.

The multiple-year project at AIG took the resources of 100 staffers, Paveza said. His company purchased migration services from HP to complete the task of moving COBOL applications to HP 9000 servers. When the panel asked him what prompted his migration, Paveza said their Series 997 server was running out of horsepower.

“We’d reached the top of the highest-performing models at the time,” Paveza said. “We were already making the analysis to leave when HP announced it would stop support of the 3000.” AIG had split its application across four 3000s, tied together with NetBase, to meet performance needs. “It became very unwieldy. HP’s announcement speeded up the migration process very much.”

Other panel members said HP’s 2001 announcement sparked their departure. Bob Lewandowski, who also provided a testimonial as part of HP’s update talk at the conference, said that at reseller ASAP Software the news from HP started his company’s project. ASAP’s $2.5 million effort, which includes a services contract with HP, isn’t complete, but the company expects to begin testing this fall. The spending, across two continents, gives ASAP an improved system.

“We had to keep the business running on the 3000, so we’re making changes to the 3000 the whole time we’re doing this migration,” he said. Migration code is frozen, and “then when it’s finally moved over, we have to incorporate all those changes we’ve made on the 3000.” HP is moving the company’s code to Windows and .NET. “That’s on a fixed bid,” he said, when asked how close he was to budget, “so that one’s right on.”

Customers in the room wanted to know about the financial impact of migration. Lewandowski had a budget figure and estimate of completion. Paveza didn’t know how much his company’s migration cost, but said that AIG has benefited from more uptime now that it doesn’t have to split its app across four servers — and suffer the impact of network outages.

Lewandowski was moving ASAP away from the 3000 by 2001. “I had positioned us to minimize the impact on the business when HP’s announcement came,” he said. He developed applications in Microsoft’s tools — ASAP resells Microsoft products, among other PC solutions — “and did not develop them on the 3000, fearing that one day HP would make that announcement.”

ASAP did have “the heart and soul of our business applications on the 3000” on that day in November, though. Inventory management and revenue processing took place on the 3000 in COBOL, and the company is moving to a Windows .NET environment using Fujitsu’s COBOL environment.

Of the customers on the panel, only the City of Houston’s Ken Taylor appeared to start moving away from the 3000 on the day HP’s news arrived. Taylor was the only panelist not purchasing HP’s Services or running a business built around delivering IT Services (Oy Porasto AB, an IT services company with large insurers as clients, sent director Matti Merilainen to speak on the panel.)

Most migration managers on the panel appeared to have started to move away from the 3000 in some measure at the time HP delivered its 2001 news. Merilainen said that when Compuware declined to revise its Uniface software tool for MPE/iX, Porasto got a little earlier jump on the migration task.

The challenge of migration also presented some opportunities for the panelists. Lewandowski said ASAP will be standardizing on its new app in both the US and Europe. Taylor said his migration will help the City of Houston clean up old programming.

“In our migration project, we’ve taken this opportunity to resolve all the ills we’ve had for years and years,” Taylor said. “This is going to be our one shot.” The city is creating a new report generator and re-engineering its entire application. “When we finish, there’s going to be less maintenance in the end.”

After HP’s Alvina Nishimoto said customers are re-approaching HP about migrations after failing at rewrites, Merilainen said there were two things his company had learned.

“Migration is much cheaper than a rewrite,” he said. “We have no time to rewrite all our applications. But the second thing is that migration will cost a lot more than we thought one year ago.”

Taylor said he’s learned that the new A-Class servers “are considerably more powerful than the huge servers we had. I’m going to save $100,000 in maintenance as soon as I can retire those [Series 960 and 959-400] HP 3000s. I just can’t get off of them fast enough.”

Next time: Replacement solutions for JCL, false starts, choosing a database and departmental printing solutions.


Copyright The 3000 NewsWire. All rights reserved.