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Upgrade sales bypass extra HP licenses

Right To Use fees are rarely being paid by customers upgrading 3000 systems. HP 3000 customers continue to upgrade their systems, even while some make progress toward migrating off the server. But the upgrade sales scheduled for next year and beyond, when HP ends all of its 3000 operations, don’t include a new license payment for most sites, according to resellers in the community.

HP developed the Right To Use (RTU) license in 2007 to cut off an end run to PA-RISC hardware not configured by HP for MPE/iX use. The RTU also included fees, ranging as high as $80,000, for upgrading older 9x8 systems to the ultimate generation of 3000s.

Upgrade customers are choosing not to pay the HP fee, a tax that the vendor doubted it would collect very often by now.

“With HP basically turning the switch off at midnight December 31, 2010, it looks to me that the RTU fee will be a non issue,” said Bob Sigworth, president of reseller Bay Pointe Technology. “HP will officially be out of the 3000 business, so I do not believe they will be trying to collect RTU fees.”

There are few places remaining where a customer could purchase an RTU license, and a dwindling number of days to do so. HP ends all sales of any 3000-related products Dec. 31. Client Systems, which served as North American distributor of 3000s until 2003 and still sells HP software and licenses, reminded customers on a newsgroup about the coming deadline.

But another reseller in the community, one who says they’ve got good relations with HP and “are its biggest fan,” can’t see any reason for a customer to spend anything on any license, unless the customer insists.

“We recommend that if customers are comfortable not purchasing the MPE RTUs for their systems, then don’t,” said BlueLine Services president Bill Towe. “As for MPE as a whole, I find it hard to understand why customers continue to spend money directly with HP on a line of equipment HP has been trying to put in the grave for the past eight years.”

Like Towe, Sigworth believes HP is finished with the 3000 business. “I do not believe that HP wants any revenue stream from the 3000 world,” he said. “They simply want to be done with all aspects of the 3000.”

One aspect of HP’s licensing scheme that the vendor is expected to continue is license transfers for MPE/ iX. A Software License Transfer operation verifies a valid license based on ownership documents, then issues a new license to the new owners for a $400 fee. HP used to have leverage to control the SLT process because HP support required a current license. Since HP’s support ends Dec. 31, there are far fewer scenarios to require even an SLT payment.

“There have been a number of end users that did want the license transferred into their name, even if they were totally using third party providers for all aspects of their support,” said Sigworth. “These end users wanted to be compliant and wanted to make sure they had a legal HP 3000 server. Is there really a reason to transfer a license in 2011? BayPointe will continue to do so, but I am not sure HP really cares.”

Towe believes that HP’s dwindling 3000 resources show that a customer can better spend their budget than on RTU licenses. “They no longer employ or foster the expertise to service or support MPE except in very isolated cases,” he said, “and their primary plan for the future is to get customers off of MPE and migrated to another Business Critical Systems platform, Integrity or otherwise.”

Sigworth said HP needs to clarify its rules for 2011 about the RTUs, even while customers are skipping them. “All end users and resellers want to know what HP expects regarding RTUs and license transfers in 2011 and beyond. The last thing any reseller or end user wants is to have HP send a letter in the future saying ‘you owe HP X dollars because you did this.’ ”

Towe added that 3000 customers should be “spending hard-earned money on creative, smart MPE environment preservation concepts rather than manufacturer RTU licensing. The systems will operate and be cared for by very capable companies other than HP for years to come.”