back to article HP clampdown on 'unauthorised' server fixing to start in January

Hewlett-Packard will start restricting who is allowed to fix its ProLiant servers starting in the new year. HP is changing the way it delivers firmware updates for ProLiant systems from January, The Reg had learned, so only HP or HP-authorised partners are allowed to receive and install the patches. According to a leaked …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. phil dude
    WTF?

    legal?

    I wonder if this is legal? I mean, firmware patches for faults are part of your "goods fit for purpose" rights.

    I must say HP have been quite good in the past for patches and Linux support, and it is a shame they are making themselves anti-consumer for the sake of short-term profits, or just plain protectionism.

    I guess that is one more make of hardware to be added to the pile of "is it worth the hassle?"

    P.

    1. LarsG

      Re: legal? We shall see

      So not only do they intend to make redundancies, they want to make sure that those who are made redundant can't set up their own business or work for someone providing a similar service and competition on cost.

      Protectionism I think they call it.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: legal? We shall see

        Limiting free fixes to products in-warranty or in a service contract is probably OK.

        You could argue that the firmware update is fixing a flaw in manufacturing and so is equivalent to a product recall - but you would have a job claiming that the server wasn't fit for purpose if you had used it for its entire warranty period.

        It is definitely illegal to prevent other people servicing your equipment or offering replacement parts. But the plug-compatible laws are a bit out of date when it comes to your firmware.

        I imagine Europe's car makers are watching the case with interest. If HP are allowed to block replacement parts which aren't recognised by HP firmware - yet you aren't allowed to modify HP's firmware - then I'm sure BMW/MB/VW are going to find a reason why their oil filters need to talk to their engine management system.

        1. thondwe

          Re: legal? We shall see

          Car makers can't enforce "only at authorised garages" for their servicing, and "servicing" of a server must include firmware updates when the service engineer installs new hardware??

          Having said that, HP could easily charge for the necessary firmware updates? But suspect they can't block it entirely?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: legal? We shall see

            >Car makers can't enforce "only at authorised garages" for their servicing

            No but they don't have to give away copies of their software. So if they decided that the engine management software needed to reside in the oil filter then anybody would be free to make and fit an oil filter - it's just that only theirs would allow the car to start. It would only be illegal if they did it deliberately to restrict servicing to them.

            >"servicing" of a server must include firmware updates when the service engineer installs new hardware??

            If HP claim that the updates are upgrades - ie a continuing process of improvement and support for new features then it's perfectly reasonable that they only give them to paying customers.

            Its like Microsoft giving you service packs but charging for new versions - there is no law saying what is a service pack vs. what is a new product

            1. Mark 65

              Re: legal? We shall see

              I'm sure the EU are watching with interest.

        2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

          Re: legal? We shall see

          HP and Dell (IBM too and others I'm sure) have long blocked 3rd party HDs from their servers via firmware.

          El reg had an article on it for Dell a few years back since they were a hold out.

          http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2010/02/10/dell_perc_11th_gen_qualified_hdds_only/

          A couple jobs ago we had a bunch of DL585s that were using entirely 3rd party memory(32x2GB chips each), the HP hardware fault light was lit up on all of them for years, though there was never an issue. Maybe coincidence or maybe not I don't know (the systems and memory was installed long before I started at the company).

          In my experience at least the # of times I *need* to upgrade system firmware is really, really rare (barring other changes like installing new cpu types or something that may trigger a supportability thing. I often upgrade firmware regardless if I haven't heard of any loud complaints - but rarely has it been something I've needed to do. My current production servers haven't seen a firmware update in 18 months, and I have no immediate plans to upgrade them further (the servers themselves are ~3.5 year old tech at this point so fairly mature). Oh and we will be renewing the 24x7 4 hour support contracts on these servers when they expire for at least another year regardless...first round expires next October.

          Most of HP's servers(all?) come with a 3 year warranty by default which should entitle you to firmware updates and stuff. Beyond that if there are still critical bugs being found after 3 years that's kind of sad.

          I'm sure people looking to run their servers on the cheap will have no trouble finding copies of the latest HP firmware DVD ISO images if they wanted to regardless.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Tom 13

          Re: server wasn't fit for purpose

          In a proper judicial system that argument would get laughed out of court. To return to the over-used car example, when the manufacturer issues a recall, they can't claim the car was fit for purpose because you've been driving it to the point at which they issued the recall. Granted that means there is a fair amount of uncertainty on that point in US courts.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth
      Holmes

      Re: legal?

      I have think sinking feeling the law in most countries will allow this. Hail to the Microsoft of hardware.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: legal?

        "Hail to the Microsoft of hardware."

        Surely you mean the Oracle of hardware? Last time I checked, anyone can download Microsoft updates and service packs.

        1. Ancientbr IT

          Re: legal?

          To download such updates you have to have satisfied Microsoft's Genuine Advantage requirements, which most systems probably do by communicating with MS in the background.

          I have two different installations of an MS OS and both reside in the same box (dual boot); both had to go through Genuine Advantage registration (to prove they were legitimate and not pirated) in order for me to download any patches or updates, or register for Automatic Updates.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: legal?

      I guess it's dependant on what you expect from HP in terms of warranty.

      It's already the case that a manufacturers warranty requires you to have your car serviced and maintained to their standards.

    4. Long John Brass
      Facepalm

      Re: legal?

      I remember years ago I actually sat down an read the hardware "contract" that came with some very expensive kit from a vendor who shall remain nameless

      The thing that made me laugh was a line in the small print, right at the bottom of the document it said something along the lines of (I can't remember the exact wording)

      "This device(computer) is sold on the understanding that it may or may not function as a computing device"

    5. Delbert

      Re: legal?

      I think you are correct in consumer law , holding a customer to ransom when you have supplied goods with a fault is not going to fly and is likely to get you dragged into court for failing to comply with the law,. Persue this in the local small claims court and send in the bailiffs to HP for reparations and siezures when they try to ignore it!

    6. Inachu

      Re: legal?

      THey want to be like geeksquad and charge extra no matter what even if a part is replaced and only costs $7 but charges the customer over $400.

      The honest tech will charge the customer $7 and perhaps just $100 per incident.

  2. Erik4872

    Wow

    First legacy stuff, now current stuff? That was fast...

    I wonder how this is going to be implemented. HP was always helpful in that you could browse their website and pull down individual updates or the entire SPP (or what used to be called SmartStart/PSP) for free. I guess this explains the little cautionary messages I've seen popping up when downloading drivers saying that they're provided only for registered owners with valid warranties.

    I guess we're going to have to keep maintenance contracts in force for our hodgepodge lab or just go without updates...

    It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. AFAIK Dell and IBM still give out updates to anyone. I didn't know there was a huge gray market repair business...I use the free access to drivers/firmware just because our company has a "diverse" set of equipment that our group ends up supporting whether we like it or not.

  3. Jon Green
    Facepalm

    Apparently, when you buy an HP server, you don't own it.

    I guess the last ProLiant server we bought just became the very last ProLiant server we bought.

    I've no interest in being railroaded into HP's choice of maintainer, or forced to pay for a rolling contract for the privilege of actually getting patches.

    Memo to HP: HP Is Not Apple.

  4. Darryl

    Good news for Dell's server sales division?

    1. Jon Green
      Facepalm

      I should say so!

      I was speccing out a ProLiant only last night, for ordering in the New Year. Funnily enough, I find myself on the Dell site today. We're moving towards fully cloud, so this was likely to be one of the last, probably the last, server hardware we buy before that transition.

      As far as I'm concerned, when I buy hardware, patches and provisioned software updates are part of the deal; part of what I'm paying for with the purchase price. They're not a value-add that goes with a service contract we don't need (we're fully capable of servicing our own equipment, thanks). If that's what HP's doing with their systems now, they just substantially devalued the hardware compared to Dell's et al - but without a corresponding price drop, of course.

      My guess is that they're trying to maximise their incomes, in the face of sales slumps due to substantial and increasing rates of cloud adoption. Make the maintenance contract an unavoidable part of the sale, in other words. It makes me wonder how many 12-bore rounds they're going to fire at their own lower limbs before they find themselves without a remaining leg to stand on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I should say so!

        Out of the frying pan and into the fire

        It’s a policy that’s already been introduced by Cisco Systems, IBM, Dell and Oracle – a fact highlighted by HP as an attempt to pass off the change as nothing extraordinary.

        So jumping to Dell isn't going to help much.

        Going to make it interesting to see what they do about just using rsync to mirror the SDR.

        1. jabuzz

          Re: I should say so!

          Except it does not appear to have been adopted by Dell in the slightest. I have for example just downloaded a BIOS update for a PowerEdge R810 released less than two months ago.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: I should say so!

        Lower limbs? I suspect they haven't quite realized their aim is a bit higher than that, maybe even much higher.

        On the bright side, since El Reg got a copy of the secret memo before the policy is officially announced, maybe someone will be able to point out their mistake to them before they pull the trigger on this one.

    2. MacGyver

      And they're still up for the Dell 1850s and 2950s. You can't get much more "Out of warranty" than a 1850. (except for maybe 6600s)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > We are implementing changes in firmware and Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) access for ProLiant Servers that will protect them from being downloaded by unauthorized maintainers. This is in line with our commitment to support entitled customers, whether directly or through authorized partners, and follows industry practices of protecting HP’s firmware and software updates.

    So, they don't attempt to justify it at all. This is just a re-statement of what they're doing, other than "everyone else does it so we are now", which of course is not actually true.

    1. MacGyver

      "That's a real nice server you got there, it'd be a shame if something was to happen to it."

      If they make a fix because the hardware needs it, then they need to make it available to all the owners of that same hardware. To do otherwise is simply extortion.

      So if I bought it myself, and I'm my own tech support, am I now the unauthorized maintainer owner?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another stunning decision...

    Autonomy

    Palm/webos

    Leaving hardware business..

    HP. The way things are not meant to be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet another stunning decision...

      You forgot:

      Moving sauce production from the UK to overseas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yet another stunning decision...

        At the present rate of progress, in 20 years the sauce will be the only HP branded product left. But by then it will probably be made in a cheap offshore operation of a Chinese company - in UKIP England.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Yet another stunning decision...

          HP Sauce is made in Poland these days.

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    That settles it. HP is in deep do-do

    They will find that this stunt backfires on them big time.

    Carly, sorry Meg is busy pulling up the drawbridge while inside Fort HP the flames are out of control.

    1. Erik4872

      Re: That settles it. HP is in deep do-do

      > They will find that this stunt backfires on them big time.

      I suspect you're right, but we'll see how badly customers react to it. In my opinion, even if I didn't need firmware updates for a product, just knowing HP wasn't going to lock me into a support contract the way Oracle, IBM, etc. do would probably add another checkbox on the "pro" side when considering what hardware vendor to go with.

      .

      Problem is that HP knows big enterprisey customers do one of two things with hardware when the warranty expires:

      - Call the scrap dealer and roll in new hardware

      - If you can't replace it, extend the warranty until you can't, then call the scrap dealer.

      If they're nice about it and just let you enter any ProLiant serial number to pull down any update you need, then this may be no big deal. But, if you have to leave your server connected to the Internet all the time to phone home to HP's hardware monitoring service, or you need to know the exact serial number of the P420 array controller installed in one of your servers to get an upgrade for it, that's just going to piss people off.

      The funny thing is that this goes in cycles with proprietary hardware and software vendors. Big software shops are a mixed bag. Microsoft Office and Windows are heavily policed license wise while their server products are open. Oracle basically says, "Here, have full point releases of our products. Patches aren't free, and God help you if we find you're running underlicensed in production." CA does a mix in all their hodgepodge of products. Cisco just recently got tougher on IOS entitlements but was previously pretty open. SAP is insanely fortressed off -- I have to beg customers our company does integration work for to collect SAP support notes and software from the support site because we can't get access. So HP isn't alone on the "we don't give anything for free" front, but it's not universal.

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Re: That settles it. HP is in deep do-do

      Exactly.

      Dear HP:- IT peeps are smart and have memories like elephants. Servers like yours are not sold to dummies.

  8. Don Quioxte

    There is established case law on this...

    From the LAST time HP tried this, at least in California.

    1. Jon Green

      Re: There is established case law on this...

      Ohhhh, I hadn't heard about that - do say more! Links?

      1. Don Quioxte

        Re: There is established case law on this...

        Apologies for not having the legal citation, however I worked in the 3rd party maintainer biz in California a couple of decades back (Abtech Systems) and it was a story told to all new employees (back when paper was the preferred medium of communication) about how HP tried to freeze out 3rd party maintainers, how the maintainers went to court and won big time all down the line.

        This legal decision is reflected in the "HP Americas Self-Maintainer Program"

        http://h20375.www2.hp.com/portal/site/publicpartner-portal/?page=General+Document+Display+Public+NA&javax.portlet.tpst=GeneralContentDisplayPortletPublicNA&javax.portlet.prp_GeneralContentDisplayPortletPublicNA_wsrp-navigationalState=rO0ABXNyABFqYXZhLnV0aWwuSGFzaE1hcAUH2sHDFmDRAwACRgAKbG9hZEZhY3RvckkACXRocmVzaG9sZHhwP0AAAAAAAAx3CAAAABAAAAABdAADZG9jdXIAE1tMamF2YS5sYW5nLlN0cmluZzut0lbn6R17RwIAAHhwAAAAAXQABzEyODQxMzl4&javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken

        Which is the latest version of the implementation of that legal decision from 2 to 3 decades ago.

        Perhaps a lawyer (or a 3rd party maintainer) with a long institutional memory has a California legal citation?

  9. admiraljkb

    The unexpected consequence?

    More HP server crashes and/or data corruption due to firmware not being updated, and HP getting a very dirty name inside HP shops because the internal support guys that used to "just handle" the firmware updates (without the upper mgt involved), weren't the guys named in the contracts for having access to the firmware updates. Larger orgs might now be impacted since they have major league change control processes in place already, but smal/medium orgs will definitely get impacted.

    What happens outside the HP Ivory Tower? Back out here in the real world many companies, with service contracts or not, will slow down and possibly stop the firmware updates. A few crashes later and/or a major data loss, and you'll have Dell, Cisco, IBM, etc with a foot in the door.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: The unexpected consequence?

      Excellent.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Enter the clown with transferred embigenned relationship loyalty

    "but the support doesn’t match the breadth and depth of HP’s support expertise"

    Currently being rightsized, apparently, so there might be a match soon (unsure whether from top or bottoms).

    "nor does it give our partners the added loyalty from an ongoing relationship built over time between HP and the customer" (shortened for sematic clarity)

    So there is a relationship between HP and the customer, which somehow adds loyalty, which is then given to partners?

    What the hell does that mean?

    1. Fatman

      Re: Enter the clown with transferred embigenned relationship loyalty

      "nor does it give our partners the added loyalty from an ongoing relationship built over time between HP and the customer" (shortened for sematic clarity)

      So there is a relationship between HP and the customer, which somehow adds loyalty, which is then given to partners?

      What the hell does that mean?

      It means: "Bend over, grab your ankles, and pray that they use plenty of lube!!!!!

  11. Corporate Scum
    Coffee/keyboard

    Great, there went my plans for the Xmas Break

    I was really, really hoping I'd get to finish my winter break Todo list early enough to take a couple of well deserved days off. Instead, with no prior warning, I find out the the storage array I just bought THIS YEAR, will need to be recommissioned because HP changed the terms after they sold it to me. Now all I can do is hook it up to our old cold storage server and use it for a secondary storage target.

    So now, two days before Xmas, I have to re-provision the storage pools for my Virtual Servers, Two iSCSI Servers, redo their LUNS, Redo the start-up targets on everything pointed at the old array... Then there is the little problem of procuring and installing new drives in the main cluster to cover the loss of space...

    Burn in test it all... Redo all the backup scripts...

    Ok, anyone want to go in on the 800$/Ton to send Meg a nice post XMAS Coal shipment?

    In the end we will have this fixed, tested and working before the rest of staff get back from the New Years holiday. The only ones who will know be the people who sign off on my overtime, my girlfriend who may be spending the week of new years by herself and anyone who mentions HP to me in the next couple of years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Go throw your tanty somewhere else please

      Tsk. Enough with the melodrama please. I get enough of that from the family this time of year.

      If you bought the array this year it'll be under warranty. You're not going to change the array usage. You bought it for a reason and you still need it. You can use it without a service contract - you just won't be able to update drivers, so unless you intend to use it in an unusual configuration that you don't plan on testing until the warranty runs out - you'll be fine.

      So chill, OK ? - oh and buy your girlfriend something nice, she deserves it, you sound like hard work.

      1. asdf

        Re: Go throw your tanty somewhere else please

        I down voted both of you because you both sound like whiny douche bags.

    2. hmas

      Re: Great, there went my plans for the Xmas Break

      You bought an EVA this year? Hahaha.

  12. Gabe

    Submit post: HP clampdown on 'unauthorised' server fixing to start in January

    Stop buying HP servers. There are a lot of other companies that will supply better, cheaper servers, like Dell and Supermicro. I've used them and never had any problems. I've even used HP servers that I purchased used. I sometimes build my own servers and I can put anything on it and it blows away HP servers.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: better, how?

      Please enlighten, how are the Dells and Supermicros better?

      Do their warranty services work faster and better than what HP can offer?

      Do they have better software update system than HP?

      Do they support more Windows/Linux distros than HP?

      Do the offer better education courses than HP?

      Do you get better telephone support?

      Is the HP lights-out system weaker than competition?

      Do answer, because I'm not that familiar with recent Dells and have never seen Supermicro servers. HP servers just tend to do what I expect them to do: serve well until decommisioned due to obsolescence.

      For the record, if HP stops servicing out of warranty servers I'll be pissed as well.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: better, how?

        Over the past year we've inherited a lot of HP kit, and we're mainly a Dell shop. So I've got to see things from both sides. We have 3rd party hardware support, so I can't comment on any differences there.

        We run a mish-mash of RHEL/CentOS and both Dell and HP provide firrmware updates for (Enterprise) Linux distros. I would say that HP's SPP/MCP is probably a bit more distro-friendly than Dell's OMSA, but they will both do RHEL and SUSE based distros.

        From a firmware point of view getting hold it it (via the web) is easier for the Dell kit, as getting any info out of HPs website can be hit and miss. I also prefer the Dell OMSA method of getting a running server to update itself, rather than HP's SUM (I think) where you have to register a server and push it out. On a brief play with the latest version of SUM I found it to be quite dumbed-down and not as forthcoming with information on what you're pushing out to where.

        For a one-off (ISO) boot firmware update I much prefer HP's Smart Update DVD than anything from Dell. Mainly as the HP method actually manages to update the lights out card you're probably using, whereas the Dell versions don't.

        Which brings me on to lights out cards. Dell's DRAC offerings have improved quite a bit over the years, and iDRAC7 is pretty good. They must have been looking at HP, as now for the 'Enterprise' version where you can use the dedicated LOM port, a license is needed. Though I'm pretty sure you can still use the console, unlike HP's iLO3 where that's what you need the license for. With the iDRAC7 I'll say that it seems to have a better awareness of the other hardware in the server. So before you might have to run up the OMSA front end to see what was going on, but this (or a lot of it) now seems to be integrated into the DRAC, whereas as far as I know you'd have to fire up HP SMH separately.

        One thing that HP iLO is still better than Dell iDRAC is the actual console. They both use Java to do all the hard work, but the iLO console is pretty rock solid. The iDRAC is still very flakey and will freeze/dropout at the most inopportune of times, usually on CentOS when the kernel selection screen kicks in...

        On reflection, I think I slightly prefer HP kit but Dell isn't that far behind.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: better, how?

          "From a firmware point of view getting hold it it (via the web) is easier for the Dell kit, as getting any info out of HPs website can be hit and miss."

          HP has a poorly performing website (404's and timeouts) and slow download speeds (probably runs on Itanic,,,), but I haven't had any problem finding drivers/firmware for any HP kit from the driver download section. (other than the timeouts of course)

          The latest SUM v5 puzzles me, but the earlier versions did pretty well. It updates all firmware, software and drivers in one go, although most firmware updates require a reboot and some firmware updates are done while the server is POSTing, eg. HDD fw. Quite buggy software still.

          Gen8 servers have built-in fw update, "Intelligent Provisioning". Practically replaces the SmartStart and FW Update DVD's.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: better, how?

          One thing that HP iLO is still better than Dell iDRAC is the actual console. They both use Java to do all the hard work, but the iLO console is pretty rock solid.

          Since you're running Linux, why would you want to handle the console that way?

          Just set the console to ttyS1 and ssh into the iLO and run the VSP command. Can't see why anyone would want to run a graphics head as console on a Linux server. You can always run the GUI over VNC even during the installs. Hundreds of times quicker than the Java based web consoles.

          1. The First Dave

            Re: better, how?

            Because iLO runs during boot up, so you don't have to sit there wondering if the system is stuck at a BIOS prompt/failure.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: better, how?

              Sure but the Proliant bios outputs to the vsp too. Just because its got an x86 and can run windows doesn't mean it has to act like a pc.

              The only pita is the rhel install dvd uses vesamenu.c32 from isolinux so that only displays on the dumb graphics head. Not that I often install straight from dvd, network installs are so much faster and easier.

              The Proliant bios copies the console text output to the serial port too so straight isolinux or pxelinux configs work without needing to select serial output.

              Try it

              You'll like it.

              Saves the cost of the advanced ilo licence too.

              Oh you might want to add rd_NO_PLYMOUTH to the kernels boot string.

    2. MacGyver

      DRACs

      Dell iDRACs work great, when they work. It used to be that if an iDRAC4 didn't work, you're taking a drive to location, just to pull the DRAC so it could boot again. The newer iDRAC5 failed a lot but at least the device would still function. I have yet to see an iDRAC6 fail, but it's only been a few years.

      Dell has always let me pull down any firmware update I needed though. I wouldn't buy an older server from them, but newer 610s and 710s seem fine.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "added loyalty"

    Glad to hear that loyalty can be created by forcing people to abandon their existing business relationships and working practices; and instead of supporting themselves for free they have to pay for the privilege.

  14. SVV

    There might be some method in this madness

    My first reaction was that this was maybe just an attempt to squeeze a little more out of their main cash cow, whilst they get hammered by Dell on the lower end commodity server box side and IBM on the high end integrated "don't open the box yourself" fully supported side.

    However, having had a quick look at their site to see how they're promoting this, it seems like the pitch is very much for the guarantee of stability (well, as much as you ever can) combined with added value "intelligent" power management and efficiency........ in other words, cloud providers please fill your cloud datacentre with lots of these for these reasons, which sort of makes sense as a stategic decision.

  15. Craig Foster

    Dumb move.

    a) I have gone through the rigmarole of the blue-screening firmware on DL360 G4's. Those clients had issues with customers buying bare minimum support, so they wouldn't have been covered, even though the unit was running faulty firmware out of the box.

    b) My Dell PE2950 II can get firmware updates. Ditto for the IBM X-3550M2. Don't need a contract for support of those...

    HP has decided protectionism will save it's bacon, while offering voluntary redundancies to all the capable people - during Christmas. This smacks of corporate whitewashing of it's issues purely for a temporary share price hike.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Dumb move.

      Indeed so. I wonder who is planning on unloading their shares soon.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some misinformation about Dell there - They don't block access to firmware updates for out of warranty systems. Check the firmware and drivers page for Poweredge, you can still pull down updates for pretty much every server they've ever produced.

    http://www.dell.com/support/my-support/uk/en/ukdhs1/Products/ser_stor_net/poweredge

    Ditto for Dell hard disks. Yes, Dell discs have custom Dell firmware, but this isn't a requirement, a vendors stock retail firmware will (nine times out of ten), work fine. There were plans to only allow Dell certified drives on a new model of RAID controller a couple of generations back, but the outcry was so immense that the plan got pulled within days of being announced.

    I'd be surprised if HP didn't face the same issue - Acount directors screaming blue bloody murder that their customers are all cancelling order and abandoning a ship over this crazy policy. How can they be so short sighted that they can't see that the miserly gains from a couple of years of extended warranty will be nothing, compared to the tens of millions in lost business from their customers going to ANY competitor who doesn't do this?

  17. John Tserkezis

    Legal Shemgal: Like that makes a difference.

    Back when I used to work in the CCTV sector, anyone could inspect your tapes, even the owners of the tapes, namely because they were the owners of the tapes. Duh.

    Along comes a little company called Chubb (yeah, I'm naming names, so bite me) who wanted to pass "law", that only an appropriately appointed and authorised security tape viewing agent (of which presumably Chubb would be self-appointed) could access the tapes, sort out the video and construct smaller sections of the event in question (previously what the owners would do themselves). For a "small" fee of course.

    The moral of the story is, if there is an avenue of money to be made, the law (or good sense) will prove no obstacle. To try at least, there's no law against trying.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy? Can't have that!

    It seems that you'd want a reputation for selling servers that are easy to maintain. A system that can't have simple problems fixed without expensive contracts, long phone calls, scheduled service visits, and authorized suppliers is the stuff of IT nightmares. Some staff might rather be fired than be constantly blamed for slow fixes.

    I see the same thing in the software industry. Some of the biggest contributors to open source projects are making sure that the project becomes so bloated and complicated that you'll never get it working properly without buying their support or training. Engineers would rather get in trouble for not using it than get in trouble for it never working right. It's abandoned much faster than it it was a simple commercial product.

  19. Fuzz

    reinstall

    Quite often after the warrant on a server has expired I will re-purpose that server, either for lab work or for some non critical task. Does this change me I know have to make sure I've got a copy of all the drivers for the server whilst it was still in support and saved them? Currently I would just download the latest DVD from the HP site as required.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about OS Upgrades

    So, went through this with IBM as a reseller and we jumped that ship, who knows I think they reversed course but it was a PITA to prove logon etc every time you wanted firmware/drivers etc.

    What no one has mentioned is that HP seem to have regular trouble with new Operating Systems which the ProLiant servers need new firmware to be able to run.

    Imagine buying a server which you couldn't bump from 2008 to 2012 Windows because the hardware warranty ran out... off to the hppiratebay.org?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glad we ignore HP and buy Dell

    We have never liked HP servers and have always purchased DELL

    This does nothing to make us think we were wrong

  22. phil dude
    Pint

    coreboot anyone...?

    I recently had a look at coreboot since my current HP p7-1414 has a POS bios in it.

    If enough bioses become open, it would change the landscape. We can dream...

    Of course, I am betting the enterprise hardware has all sorts of hidden stuff in it, that only "magic pokes" reveal...

    P.

  23. Chris Huys

    Pfff

    Hp(-ux) support engineer.

    A proliant server is not a consumer product, its a x86 server with intel xeons cpu or amd opteron cpu found mostly back in datacenters. And thinking that hp is doing this for the money. Not really. Engineers to create those firmware updates cost money. Its the enterprise customers who pay , through their support contracts, for these hp engineers. Why would these enterprise customers subsidise also customers to have access to the same firmware updates who doesn't pay for anything ? Restricting firmware access also has the added benifit of not supporting the sometimes "shady" "intermediaries" who sell "second hand" proliants.

    Oh yeah, itanium ftw.

    1. Jay108
      Flame

      Re: Pfff

      It's a bit strange HP is making a somewhat backward step. If you ask those with purchasing power if they want to go with a hardware supplier that cuts them loose as soon as they buy a server without a support contract then the answer will usually be no.

      Most SME companies have their own internal IT department rather than outsourced, the second you ask a company to pay for fixes to physical hardware they've bought is suicide. What happens if there is a significant data corruption bug like there was in the P2xx, P4xx and P8xx series when it was released? You are effectively asking a company to pay for something that should of been provided in fully working order. Value-add features, yes you can charge for. But not bug fixes.

      Second order is if an internal IT department cannot update firmwares anymore without a support contract, the purchaser will either be forced to buy one or the IT department might "acquire" a copy from somewhere else. What happens to security of the firmware? Security fixes? In effect creating an HP Pirate Bay until maybe Genuine Advantage for HP firmware with serial solutions like the original iLO?

      This seems like a disastrous idea with massive implications. Even the sound of this is making me question if we should purchase anymore HP kit purely on the security standpoint. We have labs, clients (who we supply) and other smaller groups. If we can't get updates in future for our labs and clients then why would we bank on and recommend HP as a hardware supplier? This also raises the issue of their current certified suppliers, what happens to them?

      Worms, worms everywhere!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What???

    Anyone using storage array or server in production without valid support contract is complete idiot that should be fired asap. What are you people talking about. The only thing I'm a bit surprised is that by now they offered free upgrades to people without support, I don't know any other HW supplier who would be so nice. But also no one expects that, as it's obvious for everyone that if you're using HW in prod, you pay for HW support too. Period

    1. Jay108

      Re: What???

      Take it you've not read the comments properly. Either a company will have an internal IT department which covers support with a third party support supplier which is usually ALOT cheaper than HP and supports more than just HP hardware (i.e. Dell switches, Cisco gear etc) or an outsourced company which handles the support contract and IT operations (usually the same companies which CANNOT afford HP support). If you look at the cost of officially "supporting" an HP server from HP directly you are left with:

      A) Support is ONLY valid with the server or component with A VALID serial number under warranty - i.e. they do not support any other equipment other than what is listed and manufactured by them.

      B) HP callout is atrocious - i.e. there is no single point of contact for companies to go to with issues (unlike Dell, Dell Solutions, Dell Managed services etc). In between contracts I've worked on sometimes the HP "contract manager" has changed a multitude of times and they keep on asking the same questions on the same business over and over again. It's like they don't have notes anywhere. Everytime someone new enters, they don't understand the business, the customer or contract with their company.

      C) Competitors such as Dell do provide free firmware upgrades, drivers and with some of their higher end gear DO provide upgrades within the lifecycle of the hardware (i.e. Windows Server 2012 support for some of their slightly older servers) so I'm not sure where you are getting other HW suppliers are not so "nice". Thought it was standard policy to provide support within the lifecycle of the physical hardware (i.e. bug and security fixes).

      Compared to Dell Managed services who do provide solutions who do on occasion scope third party equipment (only where Dell does not supply and cannot supply), compared to HP they offer a MUCH better deal. HP seems to not understand managed services which it seems to be trying to get into. Walk before you can run comes to mind. It feels as if each CEO seems to steer in the complete opposite direction to the last. It's a chaotic affair.

  25. NogginTheNog

    FleaBay

    Well bang goes the secondhand ProLiant market on eBay et al, so useful for home labs and geek fiddlers on a budget...

  26. Duffaboy

    Suicide is 'nt painless

    Shot themselves in the foot again. Personally working in the industry for 20yrs i can't remember a firmware update fixing anything.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022