Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






November 17, 1993




November 30, 1994











Unemployment Insurance Service




Upgrades to the SESAs' Unemployment Insurance (UI) Computer Systems Used for Required Reporting and Quality Control (QC) Programs

  1. Purpose. To advise States that replacement Central Processing Units (CPUs) have been ordered for the SESAs' UI computer systems used for Required Reporting and to run QC applications, and that associated software will be upgraded.

  2. Background. In 1988, the Unemployment Insurance Service (UIS) signed a contract with Artecon, Inc., to purchase computer systems for the SESAs and the National Office. These systems replaced the older Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Pro 380 super-microcomputers running the Benefits Quality Control program. Artecon's replacement computer systems were based on Sun 3/60 CPUs, and were configured as multi-user systems. These computers are currently installed in the SESAs and at the National Office, and currently support various QC applications, the UI Required Reporting (UIRR) system, and the Performance Measurement Review (PMR) pilot.

    The Artecon systems have already become obsolete in today's rapidly changing computer marketplace. The vendors that provide the commercial software and the operating system have effectively abandoned the Artecon platform, and no longer provide new releases or upgrades for these systems. In recognition of the necessity to strategically plan the next migration of the State UI systems, the National Office, together with representatives from the Regions and States, formed a Vision Group that met in July, 1992, to decide on the best course of action for upgrading the Artecon computers.

    The Vision Group consensus was to upgrade the old equipment with current technology, continuing to run under a UNIX-based operating system capable of supporting Informix. This strategy would allow the National Office and the States to port existing UIS applications onto the new computers with a minimum amount of time and effort.

  3. Changes. After researching the marketplace, and developing a Requirements Analysis and Cost Comparison document, the National Office was able to take advantage of an existing contract available to Federal agencies through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to order replacement equipment. Sun Microsystems SPARCstation 10 Model 40 computers were ordered to replace the Artecon computers in the SESAs. The new computers will be integrated into the current system and all existing peripherals (modems, tape drives, terminals, printers, and annex boxes) will continue to be used. Both the Sun SPARCstation and the older Sun 3/60 computers will initially be attached to the system, with all UI applications running solely on the SPARCstation machine. The 3/60 connectivity will provide States the opportunity to move their applications over to the new machine.

    The UI State Support and Data Processing teams were recently combined to form the UIS Operations and Support (UISOPS) group. This group provides technical support to both States and Regions, and is responsible for system administration of the UI data processing network. They are actively working on porting existing programs and applications from the 3/60 platform to the new machines. They will be available to provide technical assistance to any State requesting help in moving their products onto the new computers. To obtain technical assistance, State System Administrators may contact the Hotline at 1-800-473-0188.


    Manual are currently being prepared and will be distributed to the UI State System Administrators upon completion. The National UI QC Training Center will also be offering a training course on the new system, to include any upgraded commercial software packages. Training should roughly coincide with delivery of the new systems.

    The National Office also purchased Hewlett Packard Laserjet Model 4SI laser printers off the same contract, to be added as an additional system printer to all State UI systems.

  4. Disposal Instructions. Maintenance will be carried on the Artecon computers for approximately 60 days after delivery of the new SPARCstations; after that all support for the 3/60s will end. At that time, in accordance with CFR 29, Part 97.32(g), the equipment may be retained, sold or otherwise disposed of with no further obligation to the Federal Government.

  5. New Equipment. Following is a description of the new computers and the additional laser printer ordered for the SESAs:

    1. Sun SPARCstation 10 Model 40 servers

      48 MB Memory
      2 x 1.05 GB internal disk drives
      16" color monitor
      1.44 MB 3.5" floppy drive
      644 MB compact disk drive
      Serial/Parallel controller

    2. HP Laserjet 4SI Laser Printer

      2 MBytes RAM
      17 pages per minute
      600 x 600 dpi print quality
      Dual-bin paper handling

    The new computers are projected to be capable of supporting between 20 to 60 concurrent users and will run at a speed of about 105 MIPS (millions of instructions per second). They will provide between 15-20 times the processing power of the older 3/60 models, at about one-third the cost. A schematic of the new system, with the integrated SPARCstation computer, is attached.

  6. Action Required. Administrators are to provide the above information to all appropriate State staff (including all State System Administrators for the SESA UI automated systems).

  7. Inquiries. Direct inquiries to the appropriate Regional Office.