back to article HPcom spells 'IT disaster,' says UK firm

A UK-based IT service company is warning that HP's acquisition of 3com could "spell IT disaster" for existing 3com customers. Comtek Network Systems, self-described as "Europe's Largest IT Hardware Repair Service," issued a media alert Thursday to sound the alarm. According to the release, many of 3com's products could be …

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Joke

This won't be an issue...

It's not like 3com has any customers anymore...

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Compaq

I didn't have a single issue with any of my old Compaq products when HP acquired them back in the day. They handled it all pretty well in my opinion. I think this hype is way overrated.

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Pint

Procurve

It's also not like 3com kit is any good any more either. Bought a ton(ne) of HP Procurve chassis switches after a 3-way Ci$co/3com/Procurve punch-up, because the big C was megabuck$, 3Com were cheap and utterly crap, but HP proved they meant lifetime warranty by buying back our seven year old Procurves for their stock of spares.

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WTF?

Strange combination

Both companies seem to have an extensive range of cheap switches that lack management/advanced software features in the low to mid-range where they are cheap compared to Cisco and Juniper but neither have competitive high-end products.

If the intention is for HP services to only quote/supply their own equipment as revenge for Cisco entering into the server market, I can't see how this purchase would strengthen their offerings against a competitor supplying either of the big names.

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Thumb Up

Virtually complete

@AC "Strange Combination": HP has some good stuff in ProCurve. Adding 3COM adds customers and high speed core switching, and some valuable IP.

HP has an interesting "whole stack" solution from the netbook to the server to storage to the core of the network, integrated with a unified management architecture solution called "Insight Control" They need a compelling software virtuallization story and a database to complete the set. They don't have the cheapest solutions, but what they do have is some solid stuff. They sell more computers than anybody. Some think that Citrix, with its XenServer environment is the last piece, but the price of Citrix is high and it's a delicate dance to provide complete solutions for every customer and yet provide a fair platform for every external partner. Maybe HP would acquire Citrix to get XenServer and spin off the rest. If Sun should have to spin off MySQL in order to merge with Oracle and HP took it up, that would complete their quest. HP would still need to spin up some systems analysts to fit it all together but they would have a complete offer from your pocket to the top500. They would be in the position Steve Jobs would kill for.

In my mind Oracle is taking entirely the wrong tack here. They're ticking off every partner they have to acquire and offer a complete product line. EMC and Cisco are doing it better by accentuating their "best together but first-in-class alone" message. I don't know what IBM is doing here -- probably watching the whole thing play out from their Olympian view.

HP might buy Citrix and spin off the other products to get XenServer. Alternatively Mark Hurd just might call up Tom Bogan and Mark Templeton and explain to them how they don't need the virtualiztion piece that they're not using to its full effectiveness, and how powerful a full partnership with HP can be in the current environment. HP might get the virtualization piece of the puzzle for a song and a dance if they take care and sell it.

Regardless of how these giants dance to own their whole set each will do some things better than others. The best answer for each customer will be different.

/I don't work for any of these people, nor own stock in any of them.

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@Mikel "Virtually complete"

This is going off on a bit of a tangent, but HP buying Citrix would be an expensive mistake. Xen - as a linux hypervisor technology - is in a cul-de-sac. KVM is the rising star in that space. It would be cheaper and smarter for HP to do a deal with Redhat where by they take the source code to RHEV-H (Redhat's KVM hypervisor) and re-sell it as an HP branded product (Insight Control Hypervisor) with Redhat's backing to provide 3rd level support and development.

Instead of using RHEV-M (Redhat's hypervisor manager) they would need to roll that functionality into Insight Control to include IC-H management and give their customers a seamless management experience along with the technologies Insight Control already covers.

RHEV-H is open source of course, so that would give HP protection and the option to in-house development and support should anything untoward happen to Redhat in the future. Redhat would make some money out of this and HP plug another hole in their stack.

I've no idea what HP will do about getting a database. Developing their own would take to long so that's out of the picture. Perhaps they could buy EnterpriseDB. That would give PostgreSQL a shot in the arm and give HP a well developed and supported tool to do battle with. They need to do something though if the Oracle/Sun deal goes through as Sunacle will be a direct competitor instead of a neutral partner.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mikel

HP would be very ill advised to buy MySQL, their non Wintel server line basically exits as a platform for running Oracle.

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Bronze badge

3com still bother?

3com kit. Ah yes, the pile of rubbish that that has always been. I don't think I ever used or owned a 3com bit of kit that was any good.

Meanwhile over in HP land, the Elitebook I own is rock solid, the Procurves haven't let me down yet, and I see no reason to look elsewhere.

Let's hope HP don't learn any lessons from 3com and just nuke a (poor) competitior.

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FAIL

Remember HP's contempt for old drivers...

IIRC HP is the company that gloriously removed EVERY SINGLE windows driver for EVERY SINGLE product for EVERY version of Windows that went past end-of-life.

So the moment M$oft gave up support of those versions so did HP - but not just going forward, oh no that would be too easy, they actually deleted every single driver from their (online?) systems.

So you go to reinstall an old machine (cos it blew a disk) and lo you cannot download a driver from HP for anything that's officially "old". Notice you were not asking for a fix or a "security patch" no you were asking for the same driver you had last time. You cannot rely on HP to resupply any driver!

An AMAZING example of customer support.

So I'd suggest all you 3com users download ALL the drivers, firmware and upgrades that you might EVER NEED. Do it soon. Do it now. Back them up to optical disks (2 copies) incase your disk goes too!

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@AC 11:02 GMT

Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but Oracle has their own hardware platform now. Oracle is not being shy about their intent to build optimization in both code and hardware to tailor their products to work better together. If HP wants to compete, they need to play hardball.

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Happy

Who?

Comtek? Never heard of 'em. Quick scan of their website is revealing though:

"....Our packages can be supplied with a variety of different wired or wireless hardware to suit your needs and for heavy internet users we can also supply bonded ADSL circuits using Cisco routers...."

So, we have a tiny Northern CISCO reseller thanking the Reg for a chance to diss the competition and get a little free publicity.

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FAIL

@Kevin Reader, re: HP's old drivers

Lad, you remember things VERY WRONG there!

HP and IBM are the paragons in supporting drivers for truly obsolete stuff. Even drivers for pre-merger Compaq 386 products are still available there with complete set of Wintendo 3.11 or NT3.5 drivers, thus proving you wrong.

3Com on the other hand... Not developing 64-bit drivers for their Fast Ethernet products was the last drop for me. (I lost my faith way back when they released a laughable set of Bluetooth products that never got working drivers)

Like Vince, I hope that HP makes a complete hash of 3Com merger and the brand and equipment with it goes the way of dodo.

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@Ville Hietarinta

I'm listening intently to your argument, but what I was *really* looking for in your reply was a couple of links, to said HP and IBM drivers.

More to the point, are these drivers available to the general public? Or do you have to shell out a few hundred quid for a support contract, so you can download an old 386 driver?

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Anonymous Coward

@Oliver Jones - HP drivers

Here is a link to Windows NT 3.51 drivers for a Compaq Proliant 6500 Server - so they do keep old(ish) drivers on the support web site

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=uk&prodNameId=257759&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=254864&swLang=8&taskId=135&swEnvOID=23

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Boffin

@Oliver Jones re CPQ/HP drivers

You could try starting at www.hp.com/support.

Starting there it took me about 30 seconds to find Windows 98 drivers for a Compaq Deskpro PIII/500 (I still have one). It's not a 386 but it's not far off. Loads of drivers appear to be available.

As that's a business product I thought perhaps I'd try a consumer product as well. It took me a similar length of time to find W98 drivers for an HP Pavilion 8690 (AMD Athlon 700MHz) though there aren't nearly as many drivers to pick from. I still have one of those too.

Maybe there are instances where they've withdrawn all drivers, but I've got or had a variety of HP Pavilion boxes and never seen it happen.

No I'm not Matt Bryant.

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mournful

oh how I mourn for the days when the 3c509 NIC ruled supreme and those things Just Worked and I still have one running on a 486DX NT4 based server. Yeah, honestly. Why? Just for fun.

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Alert

@mournful

Funny how things work out in IT. Having been around a bit a rembering how good those 3com NICs were. We had few ISA cards with BNC, AUI, 10 base t connectors - lovely.

Then there was the issue around 98-99 when aload of 3Com boards got shipped all burned with the same MAC address and unfortunately a lot landed in the hands of Compaq. And to make matters worse sold a big batch of machines with these cards to a customer who was less than enthused when only one machine would stay up on his network.

Hmmm HP buy Compaq and then obtain 3Com - weird world

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