Check for HP's announcements today
Emulating the HP end-game

The HP that won’t go away

Hewlett-Packard has released its final advisories to the community members who will continue using the HP 3000 after HP’s support for the 3000 ends. A trio of HP documents are available today at the vendor's e3000 Web page. While HP's support ends Dec. 31, 2010, there are a few HP services that will continue well beyond that date.

Most important to the community is the CPU and system rescue service, that software-to-hardware blessing which can change HPCPUNAME and HPSUSUAN numbers for replacement 3000s. When a CPU board dies, or a system needs to be updated at a fundamental level, Hewlett-Packard still owns the only software that can transform replacement hardware into your hardware, complete with reinstated numbers that allow third-party programs to run unfettered.

This use of SS_CONFIG (for the system up to 900 Series vintage) or SS_UPDATE (for the ultimate models of 3000s) will cost a customer on a time and materials basis, but HP plans to offer these reconfigurations of stable storage for an undetermined period. The services will be performed by HP Support. No pricing has been announced for this effort that keeps a 3000 running after a failure.

HP now considers its customer communication to the post-2010 community complete. "We at HP believe we have responded to and addressed all of the HP e3000 end-of-life requests our customers and partners have made in recent years," one document states.

The other portion of HP which will touch the 3000 community in perpetuity is licensing operations. Software License Transfers between 3000 systems sold on the used market will still be offered through HP’s SLT organization. This SLT operation serves all of HP’s licensed products, not just the HP 3000.

HP was candid enough to admit that only a portion of its customers will make the effort to have 3000 software licenses transferred in 2011 and beyond. HP made no references to what it could offer in exchange for a complying with license requirements.

Mike Paivinen, the former HP 3000 project manager who’s been brought in to assist with these end-game projects, said customers who have a requirement to operate business on a correct basis will be transferring software licenses.

HP will also provide the MPE/iX RTU license for any 3000 hardware emulators which emerge, although the emulator vendors won’t be issuing certificates. “The emulator vendors can’t distribute MPE/iX RTU licenses, but we expect them to assist the customers with the license purchases if needed,” said Jennie Hou, the outgoing business manager for HP's e3000 operations.

The licenses will cost $500 for any customer who doesn’t have a running MPE/iX system transferred to an emulated hardware platform. Moving licensed MPE/iX through the Software License Transfer (SLT) process to an emulator will incur no charge for the license. However, “if the SLT process is used, while there is no licensing cost incurred, the standard SLT administration fee will apply,” Hou said. HP charges customers a flat $400 fee to move licenses when 3000s are sold.

Finally, HP will continue to recognize the MPE/iX licenses as a valid document, with no end of term, regardless of whether HP still builds, sells or maintains a particular version of MPE/iX or a model of the 3000. These licenses protect intellectual property in perpetuity, HP said — a duration that might describe some of the 3000 lifespans that will go beyond 2010.

There's more online, in brief, about HP's final decisions — the vendor says it believe it's responded to all outstanding issues about using the platform after HP ends its support. We'll have an analysis and more details about the 3000 hardware emulator decisons tomorrow.