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Tech Forum serves two 3000 talks

Matching HP's 3000 support bit for bit

Hewlett-Packard drags along its support business as the last car in the company's long train of HP 3000 products. 2010 might be the deadline for HP's 3000 hardware support, or it might not. In the meantime, third parties replicate more and more of what the vendor still sells to the community.

Companies hesitate to go third party on their 3000 support when they think of a system needing low-level service. 3000 hardware doesn't go bad often, but the most essential component, the CPU board, is supposed to need HP's intervention to get replaced.

But more third parties are doing this hardware recovery, the rescue of processor boards gone bad. HP's service reps do this for a fee, in due time. Software vendor IRS wrote a program that can service another support company's customer, if the customer needs an HPSUSAN identity number restored on a 3000. Adjusting SUSANs, part of a 3000's fingerprint, is a process that can invite illicit conversions. The key to staying legal is "like to like" replacements, according to support provider CTS's owner Brett Forsyth. At CTS, an HPSUSAN number is just another part of servicing a 3000.

Why not have HP do this work? Forsyth reports that the vendor's 3000 service to third party supported clients "on these issues is both slow and extremely expensive — plus very few of the HP CEs these days are experienced in these matters."

Addressing the identity of an HP 3000 at this bit level is supposed to be one of the things Hewlett-Packard has left to itself as a unique service. Not so unique, Forsyth says. HPSUSAN numbers won't hold up around-the-clock support while a third party waits for HP to adjust those bits.

The recent issues caused by HP’s lack of response to these issues have caused us to promote this service to all who need it, but as you can well imagine, some try to abuse the process. Like-to-like replacement is what we offer. Show me a Mapper or SYSINFO listing, or a photocopy/picture of the HP label containing the requisite information, or we do not have a deal. Our desire is not to defraud or infringe on anyone or anything, just to provide a service for those who wish to continue to use their HP 3000s until the system clock grinds to a halt.

As a support company, we cannot rely on HP to provide timely support to our clients, therefore we have always had to provide our own parts inventory and utilities to circumvent this.

Support from third parties has become a collaborative effort in 2008 according to Forsyth, who adds that he's been in the CE business for 27 years on HP 3000s.

We also provide e3000s and their peripherals for sale/lease/rental — both licensed or not. We really try hard to be the 3000 total support solution, and for what we don’t know, we know the people who do.  Better yet — they know us.