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  1. #1
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    HP to begin blocking access to firmware updates

    Heads up to all who have HP servers not currently covered by warranty or support contract. Received from HP today:

    "...starting in February 2014, Hewlett-Packard Company will change the way firmware updates and Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) on HP ProLiant server products are accessed. Select server firmware and SPP on these products will only be accessed through the HP Support Center to customers with an active support agreement, HP CarePack, or warranty linked to their HP Support Center User ID and for the specific products being updated."
    (emphasis added)

    So if your HP server needs a piece of firmware flashed but it's slipped out of warranty, you're out of luck.

    FYI.

  2. #2
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    H-WHO? Just kidding. But closing off access to updates for ILO etc for old hardware doesn't sound like a good idea at all (assuming HP's implementation of ILO is affected by this). These big companies love to fail to innovate and instead restrict/charge for access to basic updates, shake that money tree!
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  3. #3
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    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12...ort_clampdown/ (HP clampdown on 'unauthorised' server fixing to start in January)

    They are not the first vendor that does that, but still wonder if it is actually allowed what they are doing in all countries in which they operate.
    E.g. I recall that car manufacturers are prevented by law here from requiring that you service your car at one of their official dealers, and are obligated to supply information and parts to independent ones.
    Wonder if that does not also apply to other goods.

  4. #4
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    Pay premium for server (vs supermicro for example) and dont have firmware updates....

  5. #5
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    HP is (was) a premium server provided. But they've just opened the door for Supermicro to come and eat up even more of the service provider rack server market.

    $100 says HP will reverse their decision within 2 years.
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  6. #6
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    All it means is that it'll be about as hard to get HP updates as say, a Cisco firmware update without a contract, i.e. a Google search away.
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  7. #7
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    >HP
    >2014


    Hahaha, no.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrussell View Post
    HP is (was) a premium server provided. But they've just opened the door for Supermicro to come and eat up even more of the service provider rack server market.

    $100 says HP will reverse their decision within 2 years.
    I'd agree.. but I'd also wager that by that time it will be too late and the damage will be done. Most likely wont affect large corporate clients though.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrussell View Post
    HP is (was) a premium server provided. But they've just opened the door for Supermicro to come and eat up even more of the service provider rack server market.

    $100 says HP will reverse their decision within 2 years.
    HP has a very large enterprise customer base compared to Supermicro, maybe its a marketing gimmick to have customers purchase new hardware?

  10. #10
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    If anything, this is purposely designed to push away the smaller and focus solely on larger customers. Wonder if Dell is next?
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  11. #11
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    I'm also curious how far this will go. I have a number of out-of-warranty HP servers, as well as a few that still are. I did log in and make sure to register my warranties as a result of this announcement to make sure I have access on my newer models.

    It does seem as though the firmwares will start leaking by grey markets (Google searches), which is obviously not preferred to HP direct. I don't like it, but it is their decision to make. Cisco made it this far without providing updates, I guess it didn't hurt them bad enough...

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ObjectZone View Post
    It does seem as though the firmwares will start leaking by grey markets (Google searches), which is obviously not preferred to HP direct.
    Yeah, and that really concerns me because you never know WHAT you're getting with gray market firmware. Malware infecting at the BIOS level is trending up, and that's something you never get rid of. Reinstalling the OS doesn't touch the BIOS, and the BIOS malware protects itself against being flashed over.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    Yeah, and that really concerns me because you never know WHAT you're getting with gray market firmware. Malware infecting at the BIOS level is trending up, and that's something you never get rid of. Reinstalling the OS doesn't touch the BIOS, and the BIOS malware protects itself against being flashed over.
    More and more BIOS/EFI images are digitally signed now, and systems won't accept the update if the signature doesn't match.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrussell View Post
    $100 says HP will reverse their decision within 2 years.
    If they make it that long. They've been bleeding long enough as it is.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastServ View Post
    If they make it that long. They've been bleeding long enough as it is.
    HP says this is to protect customers from low-quality repair shops, but this is just a money-grab. HP servers are already premium-priced. Now they are blocking us from firmware updates other vendors still give out for free. Those of us who want to self-support can no longer do it, unless we pay big $$ to HP for extended warranties which we don't want or need.

    Our SAN vendor gives free firmware updates for the life of the product.

    Cisco gives "free for life" firmware updates on our 2960G top-of-rack switches.

    Brand loyalty ends when "the brand" slams the door on its loyal customers. This gives us serious doubts how long we'll remain an all-HP company. For the first time in a decade, we're considering non-HP servers.

    It's fine that free HARDWARE replacement is limited to the warranty term. But FIRMWARE updates should be offered for the life of the product.

    Period.
    Last edited by Sekweta; 02-06-2014 at 02:16 PM.

  16. #16
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    As others mentioned they may be focusing on enterprise customers which will actual pay for updates etc..

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by NetDepot - Terrence View Post
    As others mentioned they may be focusing on enterprise customers which will actual pay for updates etc..
    That's a dangerous move when bleeding finances.

    Hardware has hard costs per-item, so warranty periods exist for a reason.

    Firmware has hard costs for development, but the incremental costs of distributing to paid-support customers, versus all HP server owners, is negligible.

    The "bad will" this will earn them, makes this a tragically stupid move for HP, at a time when they need every marketing advantage they can get.

  18. #18
    If we had HP products, and we were effected I suppose my reaction would depend on why, the firmware update was being released. If it was for a security fix, or to fix a known issue, and we were blocked I'd probably be raising hell. If it was to add features, and we didn't have a service plan, i wouldn't mind so much.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by inerail-chris View Post
    More and more BIOS/EFI images are digitally signed now, and systems won't accept the update if the signature doesn't match.
    You're missing the point. New servers that would have digital signature verification would still be under warranty. The servers that would be out of warranty are old enough to not have such capability.

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  20. #20
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    I would be mighty pissed if I wasn't able to download the (years late) firmware updates for HP MicroServer Remote Access Cards. They are useless without the recent update (keep crashing). I grabbed a copy before they brought this into effect. Why the hell should I purchase a support contract for something that was broken from day 1?
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  21. #21
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    I like HP Servers any day, if needed HP would block access, this will effect price of all those servers in used market.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB789 View Post
    I like HP Servers any day, if needed HP would block access, this will effect price of all those servers in used market.
    Which I'm sure HP does not care about. They don't make any money on the sale of used servers.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    Which I'm sure HP does not care about. They don't make any money on the sale of used servers.
    They could though -- if the user was happy enough with their experience with a used machine, they may choose to begin buying new models or even recommend them to larger customers who are willing to pay new price for warranty, etc.

    It's certainly more a "scraping the bottom" policy as those things are much less likely to result in big income versus say a top paid executive saying, "Weta Digital uses them, so they should work good for us..."

    *sigh*

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  24. I guess that upon hearing the uproars from HP users, HP has "adjusted" their policy regarding the upcoming "no contract, no firmware update!":
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/02...ontract_rules/

    namely,
    Quote Originally Posted by HP FAQ
    Q:Which products are affected?
    A: Only ProLiant servers, and only system ROM and complex programming logic device (CPLD) firmware is affected. “Entitlement requirements” won't apply to iLO, I/O or controller firmware.

    Q:What about warranty?
    A:Firmware is covered under warranty, but to get full coverage post-warranty, a service contract will be required.

    Q:What about security?
    A: "Security and safety” patches will be provided to all server users for free.
    so, you still would get your firmware updates for ILO (an IPMI variant), RAID card...etc for free as well as any "security" related updates.

    HP sees "firmware updates" as part of warranty provision so that "out of warranty" equals "no updates" squarely bears in their minds.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I guess that upon hearing the uproars from HP users, HP has "adjusted" their policy regarding the upcoming "no contract, no firmware update!":
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/02...ontract_rules/

    namely,

    so, you still would get your firmware updates for ILO (an IPMI variant), RAID card...etc for free as well as any "security" related updates.

    HP sees "firmware updates" as part of warranty provision so that "out of warranty" equals "no updates" squarely bears in their minds.
    Is that not in effect giving access to nearly all the firmware if you jump through hoops. It's pretty rare to have a new firmware update that does not include a security fix or twelve. Sure there is the corner case but for must this just makes getting the update a PITA and time consuming.

  26. #26
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    Still going to be a major PITA... even Cisco gives out 'free' security updates, but you'll need to go round and round with TAC for a week or two before a download link is provided (if you're lucky).
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  27. #27
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    The best I can figure, I'll just have to see how things go. Honestly, I've rarely had a situation where the firmware update really fixed any specific issue I had, as firmware was pretty rock solid.

    Thinking about how things have changed at HP (and the industry as a whole) over recent years, I wonder if the issue surrounds the break-neck speed that new software is released to keep up with moving demands of datacenters and/or customers. For example, I've updated my Gen8 box twice since I got it just three months ago -- the change log actually revealed some fairly serious bugs, but they were only for very specific scenarios or configurations that did not affect me. I don't recall as many of those sort of issues in older change logs.

    Along that line of thought, I have to think if the box is still being updated for serious bugs more than 3 years after it was released, it's probably a good idea to look elsewhere. They really should have the thing running solid by the time it's out of warranty. Just make sure to get your last firmware update before the warranty runs out. :-)

    It seems I've convinced myself the threat of no firmware updates is probably more bark than bite...

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  28. #28
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    It means people selling HP servers are going to struggle. Because people will want ones with warranty. I used to have a HP printer but moved to Espon because they are better. But again HP has been going downhill and this is just a microsoft xbox style marketing, which will fail soon.
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  29. #29
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    I had a dell server that was in production like 9 months, then abruptly started crashing and/or locking up every 2-3 days. Dell made me do a bunch of firmware upgrades and system been rock solid since..
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