Just as we said it would: HP clamps down on server fixers

Well, IBM, Cisco and Sun are doing it too...

Exclusive Hewlett-Packard’s policy of clamping down on third-party and budget server support has swung into effect.

According to a message sent to HP Proliant customers and seen by The Reg:

Starting February 2014, an active warranty or contract is required to access HP ProLiant Server firmware updates. View your existing contracts & warranties or get help linking contracts or warranties to your HP Support Center user profile.”

The policy also applies to those receiving Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP).

Customers are asked to contact HP or an HP representative to obtain “additional coverage.

ProLiant customers have been told by HP to check their existing support agreements to ensure they are entitled to updates under the new policy.

The Reg broke the news in December HP would only give ProLiant firmware updates to those with an in-warranty product serial number or active Service Agreement ID.

According to a leaked internal memo seen by The Reg, the policy was to have started in January with notifications being sent to customers in “early” 2014.

Also, it was understood it would only apply to firmware, not to SPPs.

In an HP web page here says the change would mean customers receive “the highest-quality resources and information specific to the HP products in their environment” and a “differentiated experience tailored to their needs and enabling a proactive support experience through the HP Insight Online portal.”

The company also justified the restriction as bringing the company in line with industry practices. Cisco Systems, IBM and Oracle also restrict access to server updates.

By clamping down on access to ProLiant firmware and SPPs, though, the company is controlling who can support its servers and is eliminating a tranche of third parties.

HP’s pre-Christmas leaked memo said customers had routinely received unsolicited proposals from unauthorised maintainers to support HP kit at discounted rates.

HP wrote: “This type of support provider may appeal to budget-conscious procurement managers, but the support doesn’t match the breadth and depth of HP’s support expertise or global parts supply chain nor does it give our sales reps and partners the added loyalty that comes from an ongoing relationship built over time between HP and the customer, an attribute which often goes unrecognized.”

In a statement for The Register on Tuesday, HP said the change is a commitment to support entitled customers, whether directly or through authorised partners and follows industry practices of "protecting HP’s firmware and software updates".

"Our competitors have entitlement controls on their downloads and our strategy to protect the firmware aligns us with the industry," HP said. ®

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