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HP's support data for 3000 cut to manuals

UselessHandle As promised, the HP support knowledge base, as well as the ability to download patches for the HP 3000 server, has been restricted behind a paywall this month. HP warned the community of a change by Sept. 18, but didn't have the barriers to support data in place until early October. As of this morning, all the gates are up. The key to enter is an HP support contract.

Still open, for the moment, is HP's documentation and manuals for the servers. The old doc.hp.com website requires a special suffix to find the documentation for HP 3000 servers and HP's software. You'll need to move to docs.hp.com/en/mpeixall.html to find the last of HP's online information about the server.

Another good 3000 resource remains alive at HP for a moment, but you'll need to bookmark the link that HP has well-buried. The IT Resource Center Forums are still alive and getting a little traffic and some answers. forums11.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/familyhome.do?familyId=119 takes you to the MPE/iX section of the Forum. There's a lot less help here than on the HP 3000 newsgroup (available in its easiest searching and reading format via Google's Groups MPE section.) But at least HP's ITRC Forum is still being operated by HP for free, even if the advice is supplied by the users rather than HP engineers in most cases.

NoAccessHP continues to send notices of its recommended and critical patch updates for the HP-UX servers via email. But even with an access handle which used to work on the HP support site, there's no information at the end of the web links in the emails -- just the "additional authorization" message shown above. The exception: HP's Security Bulletins, whose email links still deliver data if you've got an existing HP ITRC handle. To establish a support contract relationship, HP recommends a generic "Contact HP" link. Be ready to explain that you're not looking for support on the other HP 3000 products, an inkjet printer or a digital camera.

There's an extra level of older HP 3000 documentation still online at HP's website. Older, non-supported products can be found at docs.hp.com/en/archive.html#HP%20e3000%20Servers. (But then, all the HP 3000 elements will be non-supported by HP in two-plus months, right?) Some of these older HP online manuals will be useful for self-maintainers of 3000s, such as the HP PA-RISC Computer Systems Integrated Cabinet Installation Guide or the 9x9 Computer Systems System Upgrade Guide.

Customers are looking for this information, which might have only existed in paper when their servers were delivered 7 to 10 years ago or more. Even the MPE/iX System Software Maintenance Manual for release 7.5 is a treasure being hunted -- although the document was written more than eight years ago.

"Can someone quickly point me to the manual to upgrade to 7.5, the workbook?" asked Kim Borgman of National Wine and Spirits about two weeks ago. Mark Ranft, who runs the independent Pro3k support service as well as maintaining a large cluster of HP 3000 N-Class servers, supplied the link:


The independent repositories of HP's 3000 tools and documentation, Client Systems and Speedware, open up access to the HP 3000 manuals until January 1. HP included these documents from the licensing agreements which the independent companies got from HP. Both sites point to HP's main web page for the 3000 documentation today.

Customers who are serious about self-maintaining probably have downloaded everything HP's still hosting at its website by now. But watching helpful information like knowledge bases fall behind HP's support paywall, along with the patches, should motivate everybody to get the manuals HP is still distributing.