IT managers could abandon HP if it pushes ahead with plans to scrap the HP e3000 server line, warned its distributors.
HP said it will continue to enhance the product until 31 October 2003 and will support the system until 31 December 2006, but claims it will provide a comprehensive migration package.
Ian Kilpatrick, group-managing director at distributor Wick Hill, said many IT managers have championed HP for so long because the HP3000 has been used by many large companies for 25 to 30 years.
"This product has had no problems for years and businesses have spent money on year 2000 compliance, so the decision to drop the product could cost HP some support within these companies," said Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick added that the HP e3000 system was deeply embedded in company IT infrastructures so it will be difficult to change. Many users went through the trouble of making the product Year 2000 compliant to avoid having to make changes.
"HP should have told users earlier because the Year 2000 compliance issue created a choice time for businesses to change systems if they could see savings. Because HP didn't tell them, they invested in making the products compliant and now HP has said the product is toast."
But Steve Walker, chairman of the HP users' association in the UK, believes the news was disappointing for users but was not a major surprise.
"The HP 3000 users are obviously not happy because it is their persistence that has kept the product on HP's price list for so long. We are now seeking to ensure that the transition offerings are as cost effective as the HP 3000 and that people have somewhere to go for them."
HP said its consulting arm as well as its channel partners have the expertise to help customers plan migration strategies. The company said its HP-UX and HP IA-32 servers will be possible replacements.
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