Large-scale HP 3000 sites are preparing for continued use of the systems in the year to come, the first one in four decades when HP won't support the system. Except that HP will still be supporting some 3000 systems, including a few the vendor itself has sold during the last year.
We've heard one recent report from a reseller about a rare HP sale of 3000s into a customer site. According to this story, the customer got a handful of N-Class servers directly from HP to replace older systems, cutting an independent reseller out of the deal. The reseller even said the systems had been transformed from HP 9000s N-Class systems. This transformation was a service HP offered a few years ago on customer request, if a customer couldn't find systems.
HP selling used 3000s, which were once 9000s, in 2010. We await the profuse denials from HP this ever happened. It only matters if you hear this platform is dead, or that this year is the End of Life. Maybe life as as HP knows it. HP once sent people to jail for turning 9000s into 3000s. HP has also left the door open for post-2010 support on a case by case basis. Here's language from this month's e3000 web page update:
Post 2010 e3000 Support
As always, customers that cannot migrate to other HP supported solutions by the announced December 31, 2010 End of Support Life date should feel free to contact their HP representative to discuss alternatives or potential local custom support solutions that might be made available.
Then there's a very public request for a quote to support a large 3000 installation during 2011. Mark Ranft posted the invitation to bid on the 3000 newsgroup. It's the first one we've seen so public, an RFQ that follows the trend of getting an independent company to take over for HP. Ranft is managing a network of more than 20 HP 3000s, and they're not small, old ones, either.
Last week, Ranft was looking for support on three continents' worth of 3000s and XP disk arrays.
Eighteen of them are the largest, fully loaded N4000-4-750 systems you can get. We have migrations to Windows in various stages, but there is also a very real need for legacy data access after the migration. The alternative is to migrate all the data and all the archival history, and that can be costly.
Since HP won’t be doing contractual hardware support after December 2010, we are looking for a company that can provide worldwide hardware support for our N-Class systems and XP disk arrays. The systems and arrays are located in Minneapolis, London and Sydney. We are not sure that one company will be able to provide support for all three of these locations; as a result we are willing to accept quotations from companies that can support any of these locations.
HP still provides support for the XP128 disk arrays, but we do have an XP48 disk array in Minneapolis that we may want under support. Later on, when HP drops support on the XP128, we will want the vendor to be able to pick up that support in addition to the HP 3000 servers.
Please reply if you are interested, or know of a vendor that you would recommend (or ask us to avoid.) Depending on the number and kinds or responses I receive, I may post the results on my website for others' benefit.
Vendor sales of N-Class servers, multiple-continent support contracts: If these are the signs of a dead server at the end of its life, perhaps the afterlife will be livelier than expected. 2011 is shaping up to be a year of the unexpected.