HP sounds off on new 3000 licenses
Alliance proves migration pace picks up

HP Explains its RTU, Part Two

HP unveiled a new Right to Use license for HP 3000 customers this month, a program the vendor will use to ensure customers have a way to upgrade systems with legal MPE/iX licenses. HP will sell a customer a new Right to Use license during an upgrade, discounting the "delta" between the new license cost and the value of the customer's existing MPE/iX license.

The program is arriving as news to some resellers of HP 3000 systems and processors for the server. One reseller reported hearing nothing from HP about the RTU program until his February NewsWire arrived.

While we aim to break news first, it's surprising to learn some resellers have been left out of HP's pre-briefing loop. Client Systems, HP's only "authorized" 3000 reseller in North America, got full notice of the program in advance. (Good thing, too, since HP mentioned the reseller several times during a pre-briefing interview with us.)

Here then is the second part of our 30-minute Q&A with HP's Jennie Hou and Ross McDonald — explaining how the RTU works, what it might cost, and who will need to deal with it. On that last note, it seems that dealers of HP 3000 systems and parts, at least those who are doing upgrades, will be dealing with the RTU. (If you've missed the Q&A's first part, you can find it here.)

How will a customer determine what their upgrade path is for this RTU? A Web site page with tables and graphics?
    Hou: It’s all posted on our Web site. Several pages talk about our hardware upgrade program. There is a matrix that tells about permissible upgrade paths.

So what are the limitations in upgrades?
    Hou: No cross platform or cross chassis upgrades, like from a 9x8 to a 9x9.

What is the range of deltas a customer can get for their existing MPE/iX license?
    McDonald: The deltas vary between levels. $62,000 is the biggest delta between two license levels. For example, if a customer goes from a N-class 500 3-way to a N-class 750 4-way [list price of $89,500], the customer will get a $62,000 credit when purchasing a $89,600 license. The customer pays the license price, which is the delta of those two price points.

Who needs to pay attention to this new Right to Use license?
    McDonald: People who want to upgrade their systems to get more performance. If your existing system has a valid license and it’s meeting your needs, you can run on that license forever.

Is there any supplemental fee with the RTU license?
    McDonald: There is a fee if the HP CE comes out to do the validation; there’s no extra fee if the validation is done remotely. When they come out to modify the stable storage, there is a fee to do that.
    Hou: They will charge you on an hourly basis, and the fee for this varies.

What does the RTU have to do with Advant or Ideal offering what they call Generic Replacement Boxes?
    McDonald: I don’t want to comment on any specific company or people who may be doing something in this space at this time. That’s something HP will address on a case-by-case basis.
    Our current focus is to clarify what it takes to have a valid system, so that customers can ensure they have a valid license and the right to run MPE/iX on the systems they are using.

What other changes does the RTU bring to the 3000 community?
    McDonald: With this policy statement we are actually relaxing some of our requirements on the hardware that can be put into a system. The policy doesn’t talk about whether the CPU boards that you’d put into a 3000 have to be original 3000 parts.

So these once had to be original 3000 CPU boards, and now they don’t have to be?
    McDonald: Yes.
    Hou: We relaxed that part because we feel it will offer our customers more flexibility. Availability of CPU boards will be key, because customers are asking for them.

As part of HP’s policy statement, I see this sentence: “Using MPE/iX on original, upgraded, or modified hardware systems without the appropriate right-to-use license and/or software license upgrade from HP is prohibited.” Is that language in the original MPE/iX license that most customers hold now, or has HP added the right-to-use language to the existing license?
    Hou: No, but it is implied. We’re trying to cover various scenarios, but the bottom line says that the system that you are upgrading has to be an original e3000 system.

Would it be going too far to say the RTU is once again a revenue stream for HP from the 3000 community, now that HP has made this announcement?
    McDonald: Theoretically it is; however, this was not an objective and we are not looking to make money on this.   
    Hou: The main driver is what we can do to help our customers, to enable them to continue to do upgrades in the used system market.

So HP’s motivation is to help customers adhere to HP’s licenses?
    McDonald: For the customer who cares about software licensing, and wants to do the right thing, I think it really helps them. And those are lots of good customers that we want to keep. This was not an easy activity to go through on a product that we’re winding down. The partners we have discussed this with also really appreciate that we are trying to ensure clarity and consistency in terms of licensing in the HP e3000 community.