On February 4, 2014, HP announced changes to the firmware access policy for HP ProLiant Servers. It is important to understand that safety and security firmware updates will continue to be available to all customers, regardless of their warranty status. As is commonplace in the industry, HP products include a warranty that customers pay for as part of the product. The warranty is our promise to correct issues for some period of time, including those that can be addressed with new firmware. Enabling this promise includes ongoing investments in HP intellectual property, including firmware updates.
Service can be purchased both during and after the warranty period. Firmware update access is a feature of both our standard support service and warranty and is a key component of our effort to help customers get the most value from their HP systems for the long-term. We understand that firmware updates addressing security and safety are important, and will continue to provide those firmware updates to all server users. In addition, we provide our HP authorized service partners and HP service delivery teams’ firmware and Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) access so they can continue to offer excellent service to our HP customers.
- Beginning February 19, 2014 — HP Support Center (HPSC) will require entitlement for ProLiant system ROM and complex programming logic devices (CPLD) firmware. We are not putting entitlement requirements on iLO, I/O, or controller firmware. “Entitlement” refers to the credentials a customer provides before gaining access to service. Example: A customer with a server under warranty only needs to provide a serial number.
- Safety and security firmware updates are available to all customers— irrespective of their warranty status.
- Customers with a valid warranty will continue to have access to ALL firmware and software updates as usual.
- Customers must conduct a one-time linking of the serial number or Support Agreement ID (SAID) to their HP Passport account to obtain access to the entitled firmware.
- Nothing has changed for our HP authorized partners. This includes resellers and OEMs. This policy should not impact the terms of any of your existing contracts with HP – if you think it does, please reach out to your partner business manager or account manager.
- HP channel partners have reacted positively and see an opportunity to offer differentiated new services.
This program is part of a larger program focused on firmware updates. HP EVA, Integrity and Alpha products have already successfully implemented this program.
Impacts and recommended strategies for different customer scenarios
- Customers with a warranty or a valid HP branded Care Pack or support contract
- Impact: None – Complete Access is still available
- Strategy: Continue to position HP Support Services as the best alternative to keeping infrastructure in good order
- Customers with older products out of warranty or out of support
- Impact: Access to all safety and security-related firmware
- Strategy: Use the opportunity to discuss infrastructure refresh or returning older products to HP contractual Support
What Competitors May Be Telling Your Customers
- Be aware that competitor’s policies change often, so we recommend you do not talk to customers about how our competitors implement their firmware update policies.
- All suppliers in the enterprise space who provide firmware updates require a means of investing to create the updates.
- Dell puts technical restrictions on access to updates for certain product lines, such as storage. Currently there are no access restrictions on server firmware updates.
- Cisco is responding through social media with cases where they highlight entitlement is not needed. It is important to point out that many Cisco UCS systems are still within warranty period so the entitlement program Cisco has in place is not yet visible to customers.
- Concerns about Lenovo are premature; the transaction with IBM hasn’t closed. IBM currently has strict entitlement controls on their firmware updates.
This program ensures the best experience for customers with reliable services across the globe including access to HP’s tools, trained engineers, authorized service partners and genuine HP certified parts.
- Internal webcast replay (13 minutes)— explaining how to discuss with customers and partners
- Internal firmware resources webpage — directory of where to find the latest information
- Internal FAQs — detailed information including addressing competitive FUD
- External FAQs — customer and partner facing FAQs
- HP Blog post: More Information on HP Firmware Availability