HP 3000 system upgrades have become genuine bargains by this year, with prices for things like extra CPUs and memory well below $1,000 from some sources. But purchases of full systems can still bring a five-figure price tag for the newest models of the 3000 -- even those servers that don't qualify for HP MPE licensing. What's more, HP's support teams still hold a critical outpost on the 3000 upgrade path.
Bob Sigworth of Bay Pointe Technology writes to remind us that HP's technical blessing is required to add CPU units for the 9x9 models of 3000s, as well as N-Class and A-Class servers. "When adding a CPU to any HP 3000, 9x9 or N4000 you are going to have some costs from HP," he said. "The first cost will be to have HP activate the CPU. MPE is not like Unix where you just plug in the CPU and off you go."
It gets more pricey depending on how much upgrade you've purchased, he adds. Although the Software Tier rating for a Series 979 is the same for 1-CPU through 4-CPU units, HP's crafted its "Right To Use" changes over the last three years to collect money for improving a system, if you're paying HP anything at all these days for your 3000s.
"If you go beyond the 979/200 to a third or fourth CPU, you could possibly have RTU charges from HP," Sigworth says. "The 979/100 and 200 are Level 2 RTU servers, whereas the 979/300 or 400 are Level 3 CPUs. You get the 'ability' to pay HP money just because you have extra CPUs."
HP doesn't have to be involved on one front of a system upgrade, advises Craig Lalley of EchoTech. The vendor won't have to bless a 9x9 just adding CPUs by using SS_UPDATE on system-specific IDs. Our article about the interim upgrade at Gilbarco Veeder-Root prompted Lalley to verify our figuring of costs.
"It is possible to add CPUs and memory to a 979 without changing the HPCPUNAME or HPSUSAN," he says, "The system will recognize the processors and run.They can effectively quadruple the system plus add memory up to 8GB for probably less than $1,000 and certainly less than $2,000."
The hidden costs that Lalley referenced in our original article came up for Sigworth during customer upgrades. "The really big costs are with the third party software products," he said. "I have had end users that simply could not afford the cost of these software products, thus not allowing them to add a single CPU."
Sigworth, who said he continues to sell 9x9s and N4000s worldwide, suggests that a customer check on the software licensing costs first. "Before you even get excited about a possible server upgrade or replacement machine, call all your third party software providers and get their costs first. If the third party software is affordable, then you will find the hardware to be fairly inexpensive."