Autopilot and mission-critical legacy don’t mix

Some legacy system pros manage at companies that have set IT shops on autopilot. Legacy is devoted to the success of the past, the right answers which continue being correct years later. Everything cannot remain static, though. There are crack legacy managers, looking for work, who can help a company that’s lost its experience.

First these autopilot companies’ demands to upgrade and develop disappear. Then the installed systems, MPE, OpenVMS, or even Solaris, still serving their owners, don’t appear to need professional service. At least not in the opinion of senior IT management, or in some cases, top corporate management.

So DIY maintenance rules the day. The administrative tasks might fall in the laps of staffers that are better at websites than enterprise database schemas. Nuances like recovering STDLISTs from jobs sent to printers — these skills are beyond the fill-in tech employees.

The installed legacy applications care about those skills, though. A legacy server should never be on autopilot and mission-critical duty at the same time. Even if an archival system is what’s breaking down, you can hire somebody to get it running.

That task might be an opportunity for semi-retired experts. “Will Maintain Archival Systems” is something of a new offer. Support suppliers are doing just that, and sometimes more. Archive Support could turn out to be a thing.

Tim O’Neill, whose pondering and good questions ripple through the HP 3000 community, wants to know where such work lives. “Can you speak to where the jobs might be and who the talent searchers are?”

The jobs are at the companies still managing 3000 activity on the behalf of 3000 owners. Few of the owners seem to be hiring now. Fresche Legacy was running a big bench for 3000 talent, but it is a backbench. An expert like O’Neill can contact the support companies. Few jobs, though, with actual employment. Lots of contracts, and maybe that’s what Tim meant.

The truth is that there’s a genuine limit on how much work remains to cover the care of HP’s MPE hardware. People will pay for the help. The question becomes — is the pay enough for these pros to avoid needing to build other IT skills up?

One factor that’s going to change things in a legacy shop is who remains to work there. Age was always a factor in the exit of legacy expertise. The pandemic and the financial downturn have collaborated to amp up the change. We’ve never faced a pandemic, but we’ve sure gotten though hard fiscal times before now.

A lack of money can do more than eliminate jobs. It freezes spending, which helps things as classic as the OpenVMS or MPE stay in place. Anything new will have to prove itself more completely when the budgets lock up.

Support assistance can show up to help with departed legacy expertise. The challenge might be like people who are stuck on an island with no way to maintain their solar panels. Except those panels power the island’s hospital. When they go down, it’s time get in touch with a company that maintains a legacy OS.

Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

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