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<p>COLUMBIA, S.C. – When Hewlett-Packard announced the end of the line for the senior citizen of its business-computing line, users likely took notice. After nearly 30 years of service, HP says it will quit selling its workhorse e3000 systems in 2003 and end full support of them in 2006. In the computer industry, where three decades for one machine is very long time indeed, that’s known as orphaning, but HP is making it clear that no one will be abandoned, which is good news to the hundreds of credit unions that rely on the e3000 for core-processing needs. Besides a long window of notice (two years more of selling the system and five more years of complete support), HP has launched a comprehensive effort to migrate users to HP 9000 computers and to convert existing e3000 boxes to new operating systems, in effect making them a 9000-series computer that can run on UNIX, Linux or Windows. One major vendor with a big-time commitment to the e3000 says the hardware giant already is sticking to its word. “It’s been a great box, and HP has been absolutely wonderful,” says Steve Jost, senior vice president of business development at Summit Information Systems Inc. in Corvallis, Ore., a company that has about 310 good reasons to be concerned about what happens with the venerable e3000 series. The Fiserv subsidiary has 186 credit union clients currently running one or more of the systems onsite, and another 124 CU’s depend on the e3000′s in use at Summit’s service bureau. “HP has said it is going to protect its customers, that it wants to keep its business relationships, and it’s doing whatever it can to make sure that happens,” Jost says. “They’ve gone far beyond what hardware companies typically offer during a system transition.” Because of that, what could have been a crisis announcement has instead become a bit of a non-issue for e3000 users, Jost says. For instance, investments in the e3000 systems are being protected through continuing enhancements and “when you’re ready to migrate to UNIX, HP will provide a conversion kit with unlimited user licenses at no cost,” Jost says. As for Summit, Jost says its Spectrum customers using the MPE/iX system will be supported throughout the conversion process, and he expects the change to be transparent to end users, including the interfaces with third-party applications such as ATM’s and shared branches. “We expect one or several Summit clients to have the Summit Spectrum HP-UX operating in a beta test environment at their site during the second quarter of 2002, with a full rollout to follow,” Jost says. As for why this is all happening, HP said this in its announcement: “For almost 30 years the HP e3000 has been a robust, reliable platform for the IT industry worldwide. But today’s environment is changing rapidly, and going forward, looks different from the one that has sustained and nourished the e3000 platform. “Projecting ahead five years, we think the infrastructure and ecosystem may not be in place for customers to successfully run their businesses on the platform. . “During this time, HP will make good on its promise of protecting your investments in the HP e3000. HP has assembled a comprehensive suite of programs, tools and migration services to assist you in every way, and HP and its partners will be steadily adding more capabilities over time.” -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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