Allegro: Answers When You Need Them

By Neil Armstrong, Robelle Suprtool Architect

Since fall 2001, Robelle has been phasing in Allegro Consultants of San Jose, California (www.allegro.com) as a technical support resource for our customers. We are very pleased with the results. Now they are handling all the initial support contacts, with our in-house programming team which is, as always, still available as backup for difficult and perplexing issues.

allegro web site

Allegro has the strongest team of technical expertise in the HP 3000 area, plus years of experience in HP-UX as well. This is the reason we selected them to assist us. With the prospect of declining volume in the future, it made sense to outsource the first line of support to a firm that already has an MPE/HP-UX staff in place, already knows our products from using them, and already provides technical support for other firms. By sharing these great people, we can ensure economical and knowledgeable support for our customers for years ahead.

Allegro currently provides support for a myriad of companies and products. Not only do they provide support for Robelle and all of our products, but they also support Express and Librarian from Tidal, SAFE/3000 from Monterey software, NFS/iX from Quest AND GCC, the Gnu Compiler Collection.

Allegro are the authors of, and provide backend support for, DeFrag/X and the various Toolboxes from Lund. They also sell, distrubute and maintain their own products, such as SPLash!, HourGlass and DiskPerf. Not to mention, they provide and maintain one of the largest collections of freeware outside of Interex, with dozens of helpful utilities on MPE, HP-UX, Linux and even AIX.

Allegro is currently working on their latest product, "Rosetta Store", which is being developed and marketed in conjunction with Orbit Software. Rosetta is a ":RESTORE" program that runs on non-MPE systems and allows the user to extract their files and databases from HP and 3rd-party MPE backup tapes. For example it can restore an MPE TurboImage database onto HP-UX or x86 Linux directly into an Eloquence database or into SQL, CSV, XML, text, binary, and RAW format files. Rosetta is designed to help people who are migrating data from MPE to new platforms and as a tool to get at archival data on old MPE backup tapes without the need for an HP 3000 system. Not only can it extract the files from tape, but it presents the extracted data in a form that is immediately useful on the new platform.

Allegro has the internal skills to support MPE and HP-UX as well. They are the Software Escalation Center for ICS in the US, as well as Eurodata in Canada. And they support a number of 3000 end-user sites directly for system software issues. They always have someone readily available and have the ability to read dump tapes.

One nice experience I have had with Allegro is that when they find third-party software running in privileged mode as the root cause for a system abort, they keep reading through the dump to help isolate the problem. Allegro has excellent relationships with many third-party software companies and have certainly helped many to diagnose and fix some of their more complex problems. In fact, Allegro often partners with these companies, taking over or assisting R&D efforts at companies like Adager, TidalSoft, HP and even Robelle.

Allegro is truly a customer-based and customer-focused company. In fact, the decision to take on NFS/iX from Quest and SAFE/3000 from Monterey Software was based on providing support for the customers after the original providers had announced the were no longer supporting the products.

A further example of their commitment to customers was that after the November 2001 announcement from HP, many of Allegro's customers voiced that they did not want to hear how to leave the 3000, but rather how they could stay on the 3000. With this information, Allegro committed to supporting their customers through to 2011. So if your intention is to stay on MPE, Allegro is a good firm to connect with.

If your choice is to leave the 3000, Allegro certainly has the expertise in migrating to Linux, HP-UX and AIX.

The strength of any software company lies in the people who work there. Allegro has one of the strongest technical teams assembled, as well as some excellent, and patient, front-line technical support people.

Start with Barry "Mr. Patient" Durand. He is the front-line support person for the Robelle products and a long time MPE and Robelle user. And, he is backed up by Michael Hensley and Barry Lake, who have over 30 years combined MPE experience as end users in real production environments.

This is not to mention the back end developers and key gurus at Allegro, Gavin Scott, Steve Cooper and Stan Sieler, who frequently contribute to HP3000-L and to the 3000 community at large, and have worked with and on many key pieces of software in the 3000 community including TurboIMAGE.

The office is run by Cindy Scott, who answers the phone in her friendly manner and keeps the fridge stocked with various caffeinated products, ice cream bars and my personal favorite - Red Vines.

All in all, Allegro is one of the key HP 3000 software companies and this is why we have chosen them to help with our front-line support and why we continue to work with them on various R&D projects.