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1997-12-31 18:39:32


Excess Capacity for 1999 Testing; Hence, No Parallel Testing



The standard press release promises completion of repairs by December 31, 1998, with a year for testing. I ask: What kind of testing? Not parallel testing, which requires a doubling of capacity.

To test with confidence, the organization requires parallel testing: two separate machines and operating teams. The two must run the same data, side by side, in order for programmers to locate errors in the repaired system's code.

There can be no excess world capacity of 100% if every organization reaches the deadline for parallel testing. Mainframes are too expensive. Organizations run them at over 80% capacity. So, where will the excess capacity come from? It won't be there.

Companies with excess capacity are now selling "rental futures" for 1999. If most firms really planned to be ready for testing in early 1999, there would be no mainframe rental space available today. But this article says that there is.

Notice the estimate that most organizations will need only an extra 9% capacity. This means that the mainframe world has decided to skip full parallel testing. If the whole world really is ready to test in early 1999, it will not be ready to test fully. We will be flying blind into 2000.

This is from COMPUTERWORLD (Dec. 15).

* * * * * * *

Big iron vendors are rolling out more flexible mainframe purchase options so users can ramp up their capacity for testing changed code without breaking the bank.

Amdahl Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif., last week announced plans to offer users short-term rental deals on new mainframe systems that are dedicated to testing converted year 2000 code. . . .

That means users can isolate and test their code on the latest mainframe technology without locking themselves in to long-term hardware leases if they don't want to own another system. . . .

To handle the extra load for year 2000 testing, the average data center will need to increase mainframe processing capacity in MIPS by 9% and disk storage by 13%, according to estimates by International Data Corp. (IDC) in Framingham, Mass. . . .

Since August, IBM has offered monthly rentals on used S/390 machines for year 2000 testing.

And Hitachi Data Systems Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif., plans to announce a program similar to Amdahl's, but will add a year 2000 testing methodology to the package, officials at the company said.


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