2009 predictions stock up 2010's to-dos
What HP should bring to Identity Solutions

Any HP service to survive to 2011 for 3000s?

In this month we recall the last official communique from HP about its 3000 support roadmap, issued during January 2009. These choices are determined by the Worldwide Support Manager for Business Critical Systems, Bernard Detreme. (The last time we made contact with the group to ask questions like this, in 2008, Detreme was in charge. You can ping him with 2011 support questions at [email protected].)

2011 support for the 3000? It's easy to find among independent suppliers, but there is no such thing available from Hewlett-Packard, right? On a few important and pointed issues, that remains to be seen. HP's not showing up with answers yet to the two following questions.

First, when a 3000 owner transfers a licensed CPU board into a 3000, to replace a failed component, who's going to transfer HPCPUNAME and HPSUSAN numbers to the board? Last January HP said this process would be delivered on a time and materials basis by HP Support. It's not clear to the customers or the independent support teams if HP will bless replacement boards in 2011. Time and materials projects behave differently than other HP support.

This might not matter so much if the independent support teams in your community had a way of blessing the replacement boards. They don't today.

Then there's Question 2, one that HP has answered -- but perhaps not well enough to satisfy its own liability needs. Let us suggest a rally cry to Hewlett-Packard support: "Free the MPE media!"

The question seems simple enough: How do I get MPE/iX 7.5 software (the OS), patches to the OS, and HP's subsystem software during 2011? Today the answer is, "You can't." At least not from HP. You cannot even get that software media after Q3 of this year.

The issue rose up today when Cypress Technology, a vendor of 3000 hardware, asked in an Internet post if anyone had a MPE/iX 6.0 release tape to swap, complete with PowerPatch 2 patches. Cypress offered to trade something of value in exchange for the use of the tape.

So the 3000 community has been presented with an opportunity to help itself out, simply by offering a DAT tape with a copy of the OS, assuming it's a fully-licensed MPE/iX release. HP won't be shipping any such media to its support customers after September. Yes, this September, less than nine months away.

The community has asked, and HP has answered: No 3000 software media. But it remains to be seen if legal issues may alter that answer. Back during the Y2K days, when crisis and panic were on the minds of the customers, HP made Y2K-ready versions of the OS and subsystems available to the world. You needed a license to run the software legally. But liability issues were on HP's mind in 1999 and 2000 when for a short time, anyone could get updated MPE/iX software.

We've observed extraordinary caution from HP on 3000 liability issues during the last year. The Jazz software, created for free for the community, got a 40-page end user license agreement yoked onto it in 2009. Nobody wants to suggest a suit, but it doesn't take a wild imagination to see an attorney for a 3000 user alleging that HP's liable for replacing licensed software that might have had a bit drop off during a backup. DAT tapes, the typical backup media for a lot of customers and the means of delivery for official HP MPE/iX releases, don't have a stellar record of durability over multiple years.

Right now, Store-To-Disk backups are looking like the only stopgap for tape backups. This doesn't solve the larger problem. It could turn out that an official HP SLT tape becomes a valuable commodity. Maybe even something valuable enough to swap.

Wouldn't it be easy for HP to make the 7.5 MPE/iX release available on software.hp.com as a download? As easy as the attorneys at the HP Development Co. make it. Someone in HP can help lift this rally cry. Right now it looks like Bernard is the best candidate. Again, that e-mail address is [email protected]. We'd be glad if you would CC: us on the request, but it's a lot more important to send the message to HP officials.