Emulated 3000s are the cream of this crop

The Dairylea Cooperative was among the first of the North American 3000 emulator users to testify about making the choice to drop its HP hardware but keep MPE/iX. The organization covers seven US states with sales, distribution and marketing for dairy farmers. There’s a long history of Dairylea success, as well as success with the 3000. Dairylea merged with Dairy Farmers of America in 2014.

Here’s a peek at what everyday life with Linux, MPE and the Charon emulator looks like. The IT director Jeff Elmer notes that he’s making good use of VMware, so in that he’s right in step with modern virtualization strategy. Dairylea merged with 

By Jeff Elmer

We started with the 3000 emulator in December 2013 and never looked back.  We always loved the HP 3000 hardware, but with the emulator we no longer have any significant concerns about hardware failure since we aren’t dependent on a RAID array consisting of disk drives built when some of our web developers were small children.

Even if we did encounter a hardware issue with the HP Proliant server that hosts the emulator, we could just fail over to an instance of the emulator we have standing by to run under our VMware environment in our business continuity site. We can “power up” that emulator in another city without getting out of our chairs.  We would then restore from our most recent full backup (we do a full every day of the week which is written to disk and copied to the business continuity site) and then tell people to use the Reflection shortcut that points them to the emulator in the business continuity site.

Our users never saw a difference between the “real” HP 3000 and the emulator. Performance has been equivalent and it has also emulated that legendary HP 3000 reliability since we have had no downtime. The worst experience we have had with the emulator is a couple of instances when the system time got out of whack.

While we would prefer that something like that never happen (and recognize that it could be a disaster in some shops), having it occur roughly once a year isn’t much more than an inconvenience to us. Stromasys let us know that this is corrected in the latest version; I’m assuming it was pretty difficult to track down since it was an intermittent problem.

It has been business as usual for us in the years we have been using the emulator, and our expectation is that it will be business as usual as long as the organization needs the systems that run on it.

I would recommend the product to anyone who wants to use their HP 3000 indefinitely.

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