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Oracle Sun Microsystems

Oracle Restricts Access To Sun Firmware Downloads 202

Posted by kdawson
from the where-the-bits-did-once-freely-roam dept.
boer lee writes with the news that you can expect trouble in downloading firmware updates for your Sun server if you purchased it before March 16, 2010. "In a somewhat surprising move (and without any notification to customers), Oracle shut down public access to firmware downloads. I learned this the hard way when I contacted Oracle customer service almost two weeks ago. Yes, it took 13 days for me to get access to the firmware download for systems under the standard warranty (i.e. less than a year old)."
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Oracle Restricts Access To Sun Firmware Downloads

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  • by Too Much Noise (755847) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @04:17PM (#32091082) Journal

    Purchased Before March 16, 2010? Doesn't that exclude, like, almost all purchases of Sun hardware?

    No 'almost' about it. According to TFA, systems sold before that date come with the 'old' Sun warranty, while the ones after have the 'Oracle Global Warranty'. The two don't mix and the old systems require 'opening a formal service case' to get the firmware that they're entitled to.

  • by homer_ca (144738) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @04:18PM (#32091094)

    You need a maintenance contract to download software patches now, including security patches. Not that they were good with security patches before, they were months behind the Linux distros on releasing them.

  • I just tested this and I was able to download firmware for some of our x86 servers with no issues.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @04:26PM (#32091192)

    "support contracts". making people pay for critical security patches. It's like a virus writer holding your machine for ransom until you pay up, and then your machine is "secure" again. This is nothing more than legalized extortion.

    Fuck Oracle, and Fuck Sun.

  • by Too Much Noise (755847) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @04:40PM (#32091342) Journal

    Then maybe TFA is wrong - or at least in part. However, March 16th was the date Oracle changed its hardware support policy [cio.com]. Seeing that the Sun acquisition was concluded at the end of January, any new changes of policy most definitely do not include old Sun kit.

  • jonbenson (Score:4, Informative)

    by jonbenson (748756) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @04:45PM (#32091374) Journal
    I am downloading the firmware for my Sparc T5520 server right now. This sounds like a personal problem.
  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @04:48PM (#32091418)

    In my first hand experience, here is what is happening:

    Dell, HP, and to a lesser extent IBM are gaining with servers. HP is viewed by a lot of people as being more of a server-grade company, but both Dell and HP have mature products for the server rack.

    Oddly enough, Cisco is getting a boost too. Since Cisco sells rackable x64 servers, businesses who buy a lot of hardware from Cisco find it easy to just buy the PCs from them too for a better deal.

    OS-wise, RedHat is the platform of choice that is being moved to from Solaris. This is boosting RedHat's sales, as well as use of CentOS for non-production testing and staging. Windows is also getting a boost. Since a lot of Sun installs are islands in a Windows-based sea, sometimes companies make sure their applications run well on Windows, then just wholesale migrate that direction.

    In general, the sea change is from Solaris -> RHEL in the big data centers. There is a lot of concern about Sun's direction these days.

  • Confirmed (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @04:52PM (#32091462)

    I've just confirmed this with my Sun account (that doesn't have our contract attached.) At my day job we've purchased over mid-six figures worth of Sun hardware (retail over $1M) in the last two years; this and other Oracle-ization has nearly guaranteed that it's the last that we'll ever buy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:36PM (#32091904)

    No 'almost' about it. According to TFA, systems sold before that date come with the 'old' Sun warranty, while the ones after have the 'Oracle Global Warranty'. The two don't mix and the old systems require 'opening a formal service case' to get the firmware that they're entitled to.

    Cisco does that crap too.

    Cisco has a policy of giving away free IOS firmware for security problems, even without a support contract. They've had this policy for years.

    But you can't just download the firmware. You have to call Cisco and open a case. And most of their staff have never heard of this policy, so you spend 15 minutes telling them that Cisco does actually have this policy, and even telling them where on Cisco's website it explicitly says Cisco does have this policy.

    Then they assign you to an engineer who will work with you to resolve the case. The engineer will call you back.

    Then the engineer asks what is the problem, you explain, and they give you a special time-limited url to download the firmware.

    Then you download the firmware and upgrade your router. Then they close the case and send you a survey.

    I estimate it costs Cisco $50 to handle each "free" download.

    If Cisco wasn't so paranoid, it would cost them next to nothing for a simple webapp where you create an account, select your router model & serial number, and click on the generated link to download the firmware.

  • by borcharc (56372) * on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:41PM (#32091964)

    Its not a glitch, I received this email from sun after submitting a ticket that i was unable to download the firmware for my workstation on 04/09/2010:

    Hello,

    As of April 5th customers now need either hardware warranty or a 'system' level contract to download firmware, drivers, etc from either SunSolve or the Download Center.

    Sincerely,

    Sun Web Team
    Sun Microsystems, Inc.

    -

    When trying to download the current bios and driver iso for my Sun Ultra 24 it says i am not authorized. Please advise.

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robertNO@SPAMchromablue.net> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @08:43PM (#32093276)

    VMWare Fusion to replace aging PC servers. They do this for services that can't be moved to OS X like Active Directory and Exchange. This is a completely supported way to run production systems

    Cite please. Really? Microsoft complete supports running EXCHANGE, and DOMAIN CONTROLLERS, on a virtual machine (I know they 'allow' some virtualization, through their VPC solution only, and with the caveat that 'in some cases we may not be able to support you if the problem cannot be tested on bare hardware'), on OS X?!?

    No, really, it's not completely supported. Not at all.

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr. Foogle (253554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (rabnud.nairb)> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @01:14AM (#32094702) Homepage

    Like Mr. AC said, it's yet another sign that Solaris is a doomed operating system. I don't work at a Swiss Bank, just a middlin' sized company. I owe it to my employer to consider alternatives.

    One of the big reasons - not mentioned by AC - is that I already deal with Oracle for app, db and more apps. We spend a lot of money _on_ Oracle but from Oracle's POV we're nobody special and their level of customer support shows it. I never got that feeling from Sun.

    So. Time to consider alternatives. On my short list is FreeBSD. The big reason for FreeBSD is a) I've used it before and b) ZFS.

  • I met an employee of a storage company whose name I could swear started with "storage" when I was in vacation in Panama. She told me that Sun had fired almost everyone who knew anything after the acquisition because they were the best-paid, and that Oracle had canned everyone who was left; she wasn't even a tech lead, but she had been there longer than almost any other technical employee, so she had become the go-to girl. Assuming we're talking about the same company (are there any other candidates?) there is no one in support at StorageTek who truly understands the product any more and only one person who really knows how to fix problems with old kit like yours. Naturally they are not interested in supporting it.

    Next time, buy from someone less likely to be bought out...

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:11AM (#32096886)

    Even though my preference is IBM or HP for servers (mainly out of old time's sake), Dell's offerings are just as good,

    ...

    NOT

    Try adding a NIC or HBA to a Dell server more than a month old. You will likely NOT get the same model as shipped on the original. Different firmware, different vendor, whatever. It won't be the same.

    And every now and then, that MATTERS. Big time. Especially for complex enterprise systems.

    Whether or not you need to pay more for that is up to you. But Dell servers are NOT in the same league as IBM and HP.

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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