HP’s legacy OS, not legacy hardware, serves IT center

IT manager Warren Dawson says his decision to keep MPE/iX running was not the first choice for his company in Australia. Migration away from the legacy OS was a prospective strategy at the insurer. But walking away was not the best choice for a proven application.

“We were rewriting our software in a VB and .NET version, but in the end, it turned out to be taking too long and being too costly,” Dawson says. “In the meantime, we’d tied down the migration of the databases into SQL databases, so that was already running smoothly. Now, they use those databases for other applications. We’d done that database migration, but our main system is still the TurboIMAGE/SQL system.” A nightly extract through Minisoft’s ODBC drivers creates a mirrored version of the database in SQL Server.

Even while the company has eliminated the risk of hardware failures, the challenge of finding replacements for its 3000-savvy talents remains the same. “COBOL programmers here are few and far between,” Dawson said. “In terms of my own job security, it’s cemented that somewhat — great for me, but from the company’s point of view, it’s an issue. It will be an issue to get someone to replace the skills in COBOL, because that’s what we mainly use.”

The parent company of Dawson’s firm has been talking about enforcing adoption of the corporate system. That target date was years away, though. Replacing its Series 947 and its failing hardware, the datacenter employed the emulator from Stromasys.

By making the Charon solution a keystone in the company, Dawson feels like he’s retained the best part of the 3000 computing experience. “I’ve found that it’s not the hardware that I liked, it’s the operating system.”

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay

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