When asked why it is creating a new Right To Use license for 3000 upgrades now, more than five years after it announced the end of HP's support for the system, HP said its customers have lost the ability to license an upgrade to their HP 3000s. Such an upgrade has been unavailable since 2004, however, when the vendor took 3000 upgrade kits off the Corporate Price List. McDonald also said that HP has observed confusion among its customers about upgrading processes.
“There seemed to be confusion in the marketplace on how customers could ensure they had valid e3000 systems [after an upgrade],” McDonald said.
Neither McDonald or Hou would comment on the timing of the RTU announcement versus the Generic Replacement Box (GREB) program. That program, offered by Ideal Computer and Advant starting last summer, uses a third-party SSEDIT program to upgrade PA-RISC computers.
“I don’t want to comment on any specific company or people who may be doing something in this space at this time,” McDonald said. “That’s something HP will address on a case-by-case basis.”
Project manager Hou said HP’s focus is a message to customers about how to upgrade legally, inside their agreement with HP.
“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.”
HP’s documents which explain the RTU policies, available at the HP Web page www.hp.com/products1/evolution/e3000/products.html, include a statement which warns customers about using non-HP tools to upgrade PA-RISC servers.
“If a system is configured with a non-HP hardware configuration tool, then that system is not authorized to run MPE/iX. Any system that is running MPE/iX will need to meet strict HP-defined operational parameters in order to be considered a valid system.
Tiers, upgrade paths
HP defined the pricing in seven tiers for the RTU license. The tiers, also available on the HP Web site, follow processor power rather than product line. But the vendor also has product-line rules for how an HP-authorized upgrade must proceed.
Upgrade licenses are only sold within model lines, such as inside a 9x9 family or within the N-Class servers. HP’s RTU covers the 9x8, 9x9, 99x, A-Class and N-Class models. HP is also requiring a system to have “a genuine HP e3000 chassis with an HP 3000 bezel (nameplate)” to qualify for an RTU.
HP, or its authorized resellers, will contact a customer to conduct “a remote verification of the system before finalizing the license order.” If HP can’t complete the remote verification, the vendor requires a customer to pay for an HP onsite verification.
Only HP Customer Engineers can modify the HP 3000 stable storage under the RTU program. Customers will be billed for HP time and materials for this modification.
Opening up some choices
While HP steps back into the 3000 revenue business, it is also freeing choices for customers about installing HP-authorized processor boards. Non-3000 boards from other PA-RISC servers will now qualify. Up to this year, HP required such a board to be original HP 3000 equipment.
“We relaxed that part because we feel it will offer our customers more flexibility,” Hou said. “Availability of CPU boards will be key, because customers are asking for them.”
The new RTU license uses language which states, in part, that all 3000 systems — original, upgraded or modified — must have “the appropriate right-to-use license and/or software license upgrade from HP,” and that other use is prohibited. The new license has not been in force among the 3000 customer base, however. But HP’s Hou said its meaning “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.”
As for the possible return of HP 3000 revenues to HP — other than support monies and parts sales — McDonald minimized its impact on HP and its 3000 plans.
The RTU program returns 3000 revenues to HP “theoretically,” he said. “However, this was not an objective and we are not looking to make money on this.
Hou added, “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.”