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Is 2010 really HP's end?

HP extends 3000 support through 2010

Tell us what you think of the limited support extension

Hewlett-Packard announced today that it is extending its HP 3000 support once again, setting the end date for manufacturer support at December 2010. But the new HP support which begins in January 2009 will include no new patches, and the fate of untested HP patches as of December 31, 2008 remains unclear.

e3000 Business Manager Jennie Hou and 3000 community liaison Craig Fairchild briefed the NewsWire about the extension five todays before today's announcement. As they have stated in the past, Hou said the extra two years of HP phone-in, online and fax support doesn't change HP's recommendation to customers: Proceed with migration plans to other HP platforms as quickly as possible.

But the extension will carry on HP's 3000 business, however limited, to a full four years beyond its initial 2006 end of support deadline. Hou said this summer that some migrations, especially the more complex projects, are taking longer than planned. Customers asked for the extra time to count on HP.

"We are going to extend the e3000 support to the end of 2010," Hou said. "What we will be offering will not be at the same level as [the Basic Support] we have been doing in the past. We continue to work with customers, evaluating how they're doing with their migrations, and understanding their current support needs that we're hearing from customers. We've also looked internally at HP in terms of our ability to continue providing the right level of support to our customers."

"The intent of this program is to provide customers who still need support on the 3000 that extra time to complete and finalize their migrations," Fairchild said.

Fairchild said the new support level is being called Mature Product Support without Sustaining Engineering. This "MPS w/o SE" will end HP's creation of all patches for the HP 3000's MPE/iX operating environment. This mature support offering will also drop any lab work for the 3000 on future security patches. The extended service has new limits, he said, but hardware system support will remain unchanged.

"We're calling this a limited support extension," Fairchild said. "Hardware support will be unaffected. It will be the same level of support we're providing today — with the caveat of potential regional differences, where HP may have to discontinue [some hardware] support earlier than December, 2010."

HP posted its announcement to its e3000 Web site this morning, as well as an FAQ document and a data sheet for the '09-'10 support offering.

The HP patches carry enhancements to the platform, even in this year, the fourth decade of HP 3000 service. More than 80 beta-test patches, some repairing critical bugs, remain available only to HP support customers — without a general release to the 3000 community. Since HP's lab services manage this general release of these patches, the fate of dozens of engineering projects since 2002 remains uncertain. Some patches may remain in beta-test status indefinitely, unless customers can test and report to HP.

HP will continue to do "complex problem isolation" for its 3000 customers throughout 2009 and 2010, Fairchild added. "[HP support] customers can continue to access HP technical experts for assistance with software operation and implementation problems [through the extended period]."

HP can find and apply it software solutions already available, and do workarounds through the support of the system. "We'll no longer provide the Software Update Service," he said. "That implies that there will be no new releases, no new PowerPatches, no new [software] replacement products.

"There will be no new patches, including for newly-discovered security vulnerabilities that may arise beyond December, 2008."

HP's main target of the extended 3000 support is its existing support customers, but any customer using a 3000 can qualify for the new MPS without SE.