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Alternate universe spins support, system supply

HP's exit from the 3000 market has been pushed back at least two years, but that doesn't mean that a customer's non-HP universe got stalled in response. Third parties have been building toward a close of HP's 3000 business in 2006. The vendor's extension of its support, on a limited basis, just puts HP among the realm of aftermarket alternatives for 3000 and MPE/iX support and system supply.

Some third party suppliers have been preparing for this year ever since HP's last year of 3000 sales. In 2003 Pivital Solutions became an official HP 3000 reseller. The company remains in the market as a supplier of remarketed systems (the only kind available anywhere today) as well as support plans. Back in 2003, Pivital's CEO Steve Surcaci announced the vendor's long-term goals for joining HP's sales network with less than six months of selling time left on HP's calendar.

"We’re trying to position ourselves not just as a reseller between now and Oct. 31, but we want to make sure HP understands we want to play a long term role with these homesteading customers — and support is a major portion of that. If and when the opportunity ever presents itself from HP to authorize a select group of companies to manage support for them, we want to make sure they understand we want to play a major role in that."

In that realm of official resale outlets, Pivital sourced its 3000 stock from North American distributor Client Systems during 2003. Now Client Systems has become a direct-to-customer outlet in its own right, joining the HP Renew program to offer used 3000s.

"The great thing about the Renew program is that all [of the equipment] has been reworked and is warranteed as new," said CEO Casey Crellin of Client Systems. Crellin, who was the CFO of Client Systems during its HP distributor days, bought out partner Mike Murphy last year and has expanded the company's dealings with HP Renew.

Client Systems is now handling integrations and system upgrades of 3000s for HP Renew, after a couple of years of work delivering PA-RISC HP workstations through the program. HP takes in 3000s as customers trade them in to get credits toward Integrity or other HP Itanium-based servers. Warranty support comes from HP for the Client Systems remarketed servers.

While Client Systems and its used equipment arm Phoenix 3000 are listed on HP's limited Where to Buy 3000s Web page, right now the 3000 products are not listed on the HP Renew Web pages. But Crellin says the 3000s are available from his company. Resellers and HP sales personnel in Europe and Asia-Pacific can also use Client Systems as a 3000 channel, he added. "There's not much over there in the way of systems," he said. "It's mostly Stateside."