The City of Hammond relied on an AlphaServer 2100 to issue business licenses and property taxes, but the age and reliability of the hardware was becoming a serious concern. After running smoothly for years, the Alpha was starting to deteriorate rapidly: back-ups had to be performed manually, complicating system administration, and hardware failure seemed imminent. When one of the drives failed, with no replacement parts to be found, it became clear that the system would need to be changed urgently.
One option was to migrate the system to a new platform; however, the fact that some of the source code for the custom-written COBOL application was unavailable complicated matters. This solution would also require significant time and money, both of which were in short supply. The department therefore contacted the VAX administrator for the Information Services Department at Southeastern Louisiana University for advice. He recommended they investigate the virtualization solution provided by Stromasys.