September 19, 2016
Re-SUSAN services: off-label, or standard
As the 3000 servers age, their components are failing. It may not be a common event yet, but when it happens, getting an HPSUSAN number transferred to new iron has some options. One of the alternatives is a mighty fan to forestall the re-SUSAN processes.
Pivital Solutions' Steve Suraci reports that HP's still servicing 3000 owners who need an older HPSUSAN moved to replacement hardware after a failure. "In our area HP still provides the service to officially update the SUSAN. That's how we'd deal with it, but I'm sure other providers would differ."
When a 3000 manager has no provider anymore, they're likely to look for an off-label solution. In the drug industry, off-label is a use of a drug for which it was not intended. HP never intended to give independent companies the ability to change an HPSUSAN. That's why its tools were protected with a lockword. Then again, HP intended to move MPE/iX to Itanium, and to serve 3000 owners with no end date for support. Everybody knows about intentions can turn out.
Enter Immediate Recovery Solutions. The Bay Area company's history is using software that gives one key HP support capability to owners of 3000s. The Immediate in the company's name refers to intent: To get a 3000 back online, if HPSUSAN is standing in your way, as soon as they can get access to your console,
If that seems rather intimate for a first encounter—saying here's my console on the Internet, and now do your best — then the value of a relationship with an ongoing support provider becomes plain to you. So on the first day a 3000 needs to be replaced, but keep its original HPSUSAN to preserve booting up old vendor software, the choices are three. Call your support company for standard service. Call Immediate Recovery and go all the way on your first date. Or look around for a hefty fan, if you're lucky.The fan story comes courtesy of The Support Group, where MANMAN customers go for their custom treatment. One server in the MANMAN world had its A-Class box begin to go out when it got warm in the computer room. That's the moment when a server replacement is on the decision tree.
With luck, calling a support company or taking that big plunge on a first date might be delayed by a fan. As with other older 3000 hardware, sometimes putting a big fan in front of the back of the server reduces the heat and eliminates the failures. Older hardware can develop problems when it overheats. We've been told that doing a vacuum of the server's case can cut down the overheating, too.
Immediate Recovery, for the record, is doing what it's done out in the open since 2006. Its SSPWD takes an HP lockword — designed to limit use of ss_update to HP’s support personnel — and delivers the corresponding password to let a support provider start and use ss_update. It's helpful to recall that ss_update, which lives on every HP 3000 still in use, does what HP used to do with SS_CONFIG. The HP of 1999 got very litigious about unauthorized use of SS_CONFIG.
“We’ve seen copies of SS_CONFIG which had a disclaimer, but it just so happens that ss_update doesn’t, or HP didn’t really care,” said Steve Pirie of Advant, a company that identified Immediate Recovery as a "software partner." That HP ss_update program reconfigures HP 3000 SPU boards.
We got a message from "Captain GREB," as the Immediate Recovery owner calls himself. "In reference to having HP come out and change the HPSUSAN on a replacement box to match the original box, we can do that for clients — and we can do it remotely if the client will temporarily connect the remote LAN console port to the Internet. We did one in Germany last month."
The GREB stands for Generic Replacement Box, although anything with an HPSUSAN isn't generic, since the U there stands for Unique.
As Suraci said, there are other companies who use non-HP means to reconfigure 3000s. "Give us a shout if you don't like HP's price for this service," said the Captain. We'd add that while it seems unfair to give HP the business to re-license 3000 hardware, nobody will ever ask for an explanation of that service in case of any audit. We're pretty sure that HP Enterprise knows its way around a license.
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