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April 2002

HP extends one deadline on Transition offer

Reports to partners it won’t hurry customers

The first deadline in the HP campaign to move customers off the 3000 slipped here in California, when attendees at the Interex e3000 Solutions Symposium learned they now have three extra years to purchase 3000-to-HP 9000 conversion kits for their N-Class and A-Class 3000s.

The announcement was one of several designed to motivate more customer acceptance of HP-UX platforms. Separately, channel partners at the conference reported HP has told them it will not be hurrying its customers to migrate.

Loretta Li-Sevilla — representing the HP 3000 division (CSY) marketing department since CSY worldwide marketing manager Christine Martino chose not to attend — told a packed house that the HP-UX conversion kits will now be available through 2006, not until October of next year as originally announced.

HP also took steps to beef up its offering to customers in the hopes that more of them will choose to migrate. The majority of the 300 conference attendants were hungry for migration information — plenty of seats were available in sessions built around 3000 fundamentals. But few attendees had actually begun migrations.

HP used its three hours of presentation on the first day to entice more customers to move. CSY announced “substantial revamping” of trade-in credits for the 3000s, a 12-month zero percent leased HP-UX equipment financing offer, and a new half-off discount on the cost of mission-critical and enterprise class HP-UX licenses.

The discount uncovers the limited functionality of the Basic HP-UX license in the conversion kit. HP had begun its migration program with an offer of a free, basic level HP-UX license when customers converted their 3000s — something of a migration toy, compared to the typical 3000 operating environment that runs mission-critical applications and needs features such as a Journaled File System unavailable in the Basic HP-UX license. HP's Symposium announcement was the first discount off the thousands of dollars these required, production-grade HP-UX licenses will cost.

HP also sweetened the pot with trade-in credits for HP and non-HP storage devices when customers move to HP-UX. A loaner program — six months of free HP 9000 use in exchange for a contracted promise to shift to HP-UX, with an discounted option to buy after the six months — was also extended for HP-UX systems. Li-Sevilla did not know if storage devices could be included in the loaner program. A customer in the audience pointed out that migrating sites would need loans of HP-UX storage to replace their HP 3000 peripherals.

One peripherals bright spot appeared for HP 3000 homesteaders, those sticking with the 3000. R&D manager Dave Wilde confirmed the 5300 tape array is shipping for the platform. The CSY division is also “in the process of evaluating the feasibility of adding Ultrium tape library, to come after the DLT 7000-8000 family,” Wilde said.

The R&D manager also announced the possibility of another MPE/iX release, number 8.0, appearing from HP sometime next year. The 7.5 release is expected to ship around September of 2002, or a bit earlier, he said.

Still hoping for migration

Despite its increased incentives extended during its Symposium presentations, CSY continued to cling to its ideal that four of every five customers will be leaving the platform. The estimate appeared to spring from an Interex Web survey, one which Li-Sevilla cited several times during her talk.

The survey results showed that more customers began migration planning after HP’s Nov. 14 announcement saying it will leave the 3000 platform at the end of 2006. The Interex survey also showed that customers were unsatisfied with the clarity of HP’s plan for migration. CSY General Manager Winston Prather told attendees “I hope after today, people will feel better about that plan.”

HP’s business efforts, Prather added, are aimed at the segment of the 3000 community that is making plans to leave. After citing Interex figures that show 23 percent of companies had no plans to leave the platform, Prather let his estimates of those migrating creep upward by 17 percent during his 15-minute speech. By the close of his remarks, Prather was saying 90 percent of 3000 customers will migrate.

The general manager said that Homesteading firms appear to be staying “for whatever reason — either they can’t, or they won’t. Roughly 80 percent of the customers are going to leave the platform, and our top priority has really been around helping those customers to migrate.”

HP officials reported that their work on concocting better migration offers has prevented them from serious study of the OpenMPE opportunities to extend the platform’s lifespan. Prather acknowledged that a share of the 3000 customers are “an audience that will need additional help, beyond what HP’s currently committed to.” Such help could run to a port of IMAGE to HP-UX, or HP’s support for projects such as an emulator that mimics 3000 hardware on Intel PC processors.

Prather preferred to think of the target audience for such extra help as “customers who may need more than five years to migrate” rather than those who plan to stay on the system indefinitely. “We are very committed to understanding how to help you,” he said to this homesteading contingent. “There are lots of very good ideas, and my message to you today is that I still don’t know which ideas are right yet.”

The general manager said he doesn’t know the answers yet, because “roughly 85 percent of the customers are focused on migration.” Interex’s survey showed the number at 77 percent. “That’s where our priority has been — we’re focused on the 85 percent.”

Prather also wanted attendees to believe the emulator engineering project — proposed by a firm HP has subcontracted to help build parts of MPE and with 14 years of PA-RISC hardware experience — “is not as straightforward and simple as it may sound.”

The HP GM said he also has heard from third parties who have told him an open source, OpenMPE movement “would absolutely destroy the ability of the ecosystem to go forward, because there will not be a critical mass of any one company to provide support services, and that will absolutely kill the life of the 3000.”

HP has been asked to consider whether too many 3000 support options will keep third-party support providers from succeeding, according to one channel partner. This ample group of third-party support providers will be competing directly with HP for support business until at least 2006.

“For every one of these great ideas that someone thinks there’s a lot of potential in, there’s someone who thinks it’s a bad idea,” Prather said in explaining his lack of decision on OpenMPE initiatives. Customers voted to empower OpenMPE initiatives as their top two requests in a recent Interex System Improvement Ballot.

Despite the lack of action, Prather said CSY is doing a lot of talking about OpenMPE. “We are engaged and actively talking to companies who want to build emulators, we’re involved in OpenMPE Inc., and we are plugged in to all of these,” he said. “I believe a lot of these are really great ideas, and I believe a lot of them, if not many or most of them, will come to fruition.”

HP just can’t help OpenMPE while it’s fleshing out a migration strategy that most customers found incomplete. “We had to focus on migration,” he said, “because that’s what the majority of our customers are going to be doing.”

When those customers will actually be doing the moving remained far less clear. In a packed afternoon session led by Birket Foster, he polled the audience attending “MPE — The Transition” how many planned to migrate. When the majority of hands went up, Foster added, “How many have budget to migrate this year?” Only a few hands remained raised.

Foster’s final question showed even more restraint among the customer base. He asked how many attendees had even asked their management for budget for 2003 to begin planning migration. Fewer than half had asked for money to plan next year.

“That’s really scary,” Foster said. “We believe the migration isn’t going to begin before 2004.”


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