Thursday, February 6, 2014

Read all about it! HP charges - Cisco UCS updates remain FREE

It was an interesting night last night. I'm sitting in my normal poker game downtown. Between hands I always "check the streams" to see what's happening in the world. I look down and don't see pocket AA, but I do see a tweet that HP is going to start charging their server customers for firmware updates! Whoa, seriously, how can I not jump all over this. Being in the x86 server world my whole life, it was just a given that shit breaks and you can always go to the vendor's support site and download a fix. Support contract or not.

It's just the world we live in. When I worked at IBM, a wise man told me, "All hardware eventually fails ... and all software eventually works" ... if you deliver that line with perfect timing, you always get smiles. We all know this, we have to patch, maintain, fix all the time. We simply go to the Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Cisco, etc support sites and download the updates we need.

Well apparently not anymore for HP. This is good for us (Cisco) as most customers evaluate a new purchase when their support contracts run out. Well the one's in my segment sometimes push it a little longer. But now they are forced to renew contracts or look to a new vendor. It's good for me, so hell yeah I sent a tweet pointing this fact out.

I knew I would get a few replies to the tweet of the nature, "But yeah, Cisco has contracts, entitlements, SmartNet, etc that have to be in place to download your software". You're likely coming from the router/switch world of Cisco, in which that statement is absolutely true.

It is NOT TRUE FOR CISCO UCS. You can use any ID that you registered fresh off the street to download Cisco UCS firmware and software updates. 

Now I wouldn't be a proper geek if i didn't prove it. You have to show your work. Which is a problem with the other interesting thing that popped up in the streams last night. Go read Tony's great post on the report that shows how awesome FC is compared to FCoE. Seriously great read, you don't want to have this man pick apart your technical "marketing" whitepaper.

So here's my work.

First, create a gmail account from a computer on a public network.
 Next, create a free account.

Check that I don't have Service Contracts Associated.

Check I have no serial numbers attached to my account

Download any Cisco UCS updates I need

Anything I can't DL is marked with a "lock" icon - Router, switch, etc
Lock icon highlighted

All my freshly downloaded Cisco UCS updates - no registration, free account, wide open.

1 comment:

  1. I think many people are thinking, "no big deal, my servers will always be under warranty". But this change speaks more to the ease of use of actually getting the updates. HP customers already hate the convoluted HP way of updating firmware and matrices of things they have to check and do things in the correct order. I have several customers that have said they switched to UCS once I showed them how we did updates.

    This will be the scenario in most customer sites. They have a team of people that each have their own IDs to login to HP support. If any one of them needs to download a package, no problem. With the change, now the userid must be connected to the support contract.

    Bob – "Hey Sally, I need you to update FW on that HP Server"
    Sally - "No problem Bob, I'll do it this afternoon"

    Later in afternoon Sally goes to download the update

    Sally - "What?! My id is not authorized to download this update?"
    HP Website - "Please contact your authorized HP person to update your information, or please update your profile with the contract ID"
    Sally - "BOB! .. Hey, do you have the contract ID for those servers? My ID's not letting me download the files."
    Bob - "I don’t have it, maybe Tim's got it."
    Tim - "I have no idea, it was in the paperwork when we bought the servers last year. Let's call the HP rep"
    HP Rep - "Ok, I'll have to dig into that, I'll get back to you later."

    Get the drift?

    So what other teams do is create a "master ID" that everyone shares. Then it becomes a different problem. "Hey who's got the password for that ID?" … "I did a password reset, but I think it's linked to Tim's email. Tim quit, so I don't know where the email's going".

    It's just not making life easier for their customers.