In the early response from the community, it looks like HP is continuing to ask customers to keep their 3000 support deals with the vendor. But in many cases, HP is learning that the support business has already moved on to independent providers. In some cases, third party companies have partnered to provide both hardware and software ends of support.
Customers are still reluctant to identify themselves by name, but the reports of HP extensions are consistent. "Our HP 3000 System Manager got a renewal notice this week for HP 3000 support," a contractor said today, working at a Georgia-based manufacturer. "The System Manager called the HP sales office, who confirmed they are still offering HP 3000 support though 2011. Unfortunately, they gave no advance notice, and our company had to make other arrangements."
HP's support levels haven't been uniform enough to retain some customers who would prefer to stay with the vendor. In one case, a snarl in getting a part reconfigured led to more than a week of downtime.
Until an incident last year when HP took over a week to fix a hardware issue on a corporate critical system, HP would have been the preferred vendor. HP’s problem at that time was in getting parts -- a lack of willingness to modify an in-stock backplane to our needs. After that incident, it was perceived that we can’t do much worse.
After that case, a backup hardware onsite was negotiated with a new hardware support vendor. A separate company is working with the hardware firm for that site. Meanwhile, some HP support customers just want to know how they can ensure they've got the final HP MPE/iX release tape before Dec. 31.
If a customer hasn't maintained an HP support contract, they will need to set one up. "The only thing I know to do is to call HP," said Donna Garverick of Allegro Consultants. "They’ll have to establish a (software-only) contract to get the tape."
Third party suppliers of support have raised their profiles in the last six months, presenting cases on how to step in and take over HP support duties. Source Direct and SMS are a pair that have cruised across our radar recently. In the meantime, HP's official notice of 2011 efforts for the 3000 sounds different than the vendor's repeated "end of life." One engineer in HP Support passed along this language.
Worldwide MPE/iX support will not be extended past December 31, 2010. Customers that cannot migrate to other HP supported solutions by the announced December 31, 2010 End Of Support Life date are encouraged to contact their HP representatives to discuss potential local support solutions that might be available, such as local Mature Hardware and limited Mature Software Support.
So not worldwide, but not an isolated offer to continue support next year, either. We'll keep listening for your reports on what the end of this year means for your support plans.