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CAMUS invites managers of 3000 sites

Third parties: Fact of life for Windows support

HP's sold a lot of systems, and prodded many customers to migrate, on the benefit of its support. Even while a steady stream of 3000 sites say they get spotty HP support, it's apparently still miles ahead of Microsoft's help.

Our Google trawling software dug up a user report from Karl Palachuk, a consultant and author, which compared HP 3000 support back in the day with the current Microsoft disappointments. Palachuck supported 3000s in the early 1990s. On a blog which which covers his consulting practice, Palachuk says you'd better get a North American superstar at Microsoft on the support call, or look elsewhere:

Microsoft's support of Small Business Server is deplorable. Until you can escalate your call to one of the superstars in North America, you are just as likely to have them burn your server to the ground as to get a solution.

How does he solve his problem? The same way many 3000 sites have today: get a third party. Just like the 3000 community's economics, the third party's support is inexpensive. Like $37 a month per Small Business Server.

We mention this because Windows is the leading choice for 3000 sites making a migration. They often go to the Microsoft solution on price, plus the choice of a replacement application. These sites might not know a third party is often essential to uptime.

Zenith Infotech provides outsourced helpdesk and managed services for Palachuk's client base now. It's not a matter of dismay about overseas tech reps, either.

So when a partner works on a problem in-house for the allotted period of time, they don't escalate to Microsoft's incompetent tech support and hope to talk their way up to the competent technicians. They call Zenith. And the very competent technicians in India "Just solve the problem."

In your community, you have the same experience in many third party support companies. HP no longer takes a key spot in the problem resolution process. That's why the end of support date has been such a weak motivation for making a migration. The companies who need vendor-based support must move.

By all reports, many 3000 support suppliers also do Windows, along with the floors of the MPE/iX service. You should check to see how much of the total support package you can get. The price might differ from Zenith's. But then, they don't know anything about MPE/iX.

So choosing Windows as the new environment doesn't demand vendor-based support, for most companies migrating. Ever wonder why things are so different for this new platform than the old 3000? It's not as if the Windows Server is going to less mission critical than that 3000, after all. Palachuk's report illustrates another cost of migration: third-party support.