HP abolishes software licensing for Wired Ethernet Switches

Great news from HP who apparently have been listening to customers and actually doing something about it. They  have abolished their software licensing for wired Ethernet switches. In a blog post: Say goodbye to firmware licenses in wired network switch products, HP Networking announced no more software licenses on their networking kit – one off license at purchase time.

I particularly liked this part:

Disadvantages of using firmware licenses

You told us that firmware licenses come with a host of costs and challenges. This creates more headaches instead of making life easier for network managers:

  1. Procurement cost – You need to pay a premium not only for a switch hardware that is capable of supporting feature expansion but also pay for the license when the procurement happens. The cost penalty is particularly acute when trying to stack a set of switches, as you have to procure a license for every switch in the stack in order for the stack to work as a single entity.
  2. Additional support costs – You need support contracts that are required to get support on the features that are included as part of these firmware licenses.
  3. The hassle and cost of auditing these licenses every year to meet regulatory requirements – You can easily see the direct and indirect costs can grow exponentially for auditing these licenses on a yearly basis for a large enterprise with thousands of branches and switches.

Any money that you might “save” is quickly spent on: (hah, it’s not saving it’s just way of hiding an increase in price)

  • managing license compliance, increased management time/cost.
  • transferring licenses between faulty switches, increasing engineer time/cost.
  • hiring staff to manage service contracts and license counts increasing opex
  • handling customers who complain about the crappy service contract platform that all vendors have.

If I was considering the purchase a few hundred edge switches, I would seriously consider HP Networking just for this feature alone. Spending time in Cisco IOS Service Contract Center trying to get Legal Software Downloads isn’t worth the time wasted since it will be broken again next week plus I’ll spend at least several tens of hours attempting to get Cisco to fix their crappy serial number management and “software entitlement” database.

Getting a hundred switches onto existing Cisco TAC service contract gives me the screaming heebies just thinking about it.

Well done HP.

  • http://twitter.com/cloudtoad Derick Winkworth

    HP just made my “awesome” list.  Thank you, HP!

  • Jeff McAdams

    Thank you HPN! I’ve griped at them about this before.  My beef as always been that every vendor seems to have 1 (sometimes more) feature in their “premium” feature set that, to me, seems really really fundamental/basic.  Consequently, it always seemed to me to be a way to hide a higher price for the switch.  For the HP Procurve that we use at our office edge, the feature was OSPF.

    We made the decision when we started buying them to just consider the price of the gear as including the price of the premium license because we would *always* need the license, to the point that I have had times when I was talking to people about the gear and quoted the ballpark price of the gear as the price of the gear + the premium license and hadn’t even realized that I had done it.  I had just mentally stored the price of the gear as the price of the gear + the license cost.

    So, yeah, good move HP. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/_N1x Rati Jokhadze

    respect hewlett

  • http://twitter.com/SebHaigh Seb Haigh 【ツ】

    Greg, thanks for writing about this.  Useful to hear your perspective.

  • IJdoD

    Seems only to apply to new switches. Our account manager was not aware of plans of extending this to older switches, unfortunately. It’s a start nonetheless.

  • ABCD

    We’re seriously considering HP for a new set of branch offices coming up. Can someone point me to any comparison sheets (price-wise)?