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Oracle Restricts Access To Sun Firmware Downloads 202

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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  • Find the users... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OMA1981 ( 706426 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:19PM (#32091112)
    What's the easiest way to find out who/what is using an a network port? Disable/unplug the port and wait for someone to call in and complain. This might be the same mentality at work, just a little larger scale.
  • by cruff ( 171569 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:20PM (#32091116) Homepage

    Sun's service has been sliding for some time now. Oracle appears to be accelerating that decline. We had some RAIDs, originally purchased from StorageTek before the Sun acquisition, come off of the three year warranty they were purchased with. We've been unable to get Sun (now Oracle) to recognize the RAID's serial numbers to get them on the maintenance contract for quite some time now. You'd think Oracle would want our money?

  • by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:42PM (#32091354)
    I mean, come on. This is firmware which ONLY WORKS on your Sun/Oracle hardware. If you own the hardware, you should be able to get the latest system firmware. This might be the final straw in terms of me recommending Sun/Oracle hardware anymore. Personally, I loved them. My work loved them as well. But this is getting ridiculous. Ok, I can understand closing off downloads of different patches to the OS. You want updates, get a service contract because the OS was free. But to cut off firmware updates to their hardware? No one does this. You can freely download the firmware from the manufacturer of everything out there for free, because, to use that firmware, you needed to OWN the hardware which means, the company received their money for it... We have thousands of Sun desktops and servers (no exaggeration, literally, thousands) at work. I have been a very happy Sun Unix Administrator for the last 12 years, but I have to say anymore, I can't recommend we keep buying these things (especially as the majority of the codebase has been slowly ported from SPARC to x86 over the last 5 years). I have still been recommending Sun x86 hardware for their ALOM/ILOM interface and very well engineered gear which tends to last for many years longer than a Dell or HP... But the nickle/dimming to death is starting to make it so that it is not worth it to purchase a Sun box with the extra premium when I similar spec'ed Dell for 30% less, and take that extra 30% savings knowing that about 20% of it will be used in needing to replace the box a few years sooner due to hardware failure.
  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:57PM (#32091526)
    Don't discount CentOS. My organization just did some consulting work with a Fortune 500 company that has several thousand CentOS boxes. They just couldn't justify the cost to run RHEL when they had enough in-house talent to fix problems when they came up (it being open source and all).
  • Re:If (Score:1, Interesting)

    by chibiace ( 898665 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @06:17PM (#32091726) Journal

    If they are dead, is it necrophilia?

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @06:17PM (#32091736) Homepage Journal

    If you've been running Sun systems for that long, you know what a pain it is to navigate Sun's absolute mess of customer web sites. I used to have a hell of a time finding the download I needed — and I was a Sun employee. That's one reason other server vendors (like Dell) have cleaning Sun's clock for a long time.

    I wrote technical docs for Sun, some of which appeared on the web. One of the least favorite parts of my job was dealing with the company's web bureaucrats. They were in denial about the many problems with their tech, knew jack about clean web design, and had way too many processes that should have been automated but weren't. Worst of all, Sun's politics and organizational dysfunction meant that web content was generated by a half dozen different groups with overlapping and conflicting responsibilities.

    Naturally, Oracle is trying to clean up this mess. And it's predictable that whoever is reworking Sun's web presence is going to screw up now and then — something that complicated is Murphy's Law waiting to happen. It's still a step in the right direction.

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

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @06:19PM (#32091754)

    Even though my preference is IBM or HP for servers (mainly out of old time's sake), Dell's offerings are just as good, and they support RedHat as a server OS. Dell knows where their bread is buttered, and if their products do not do well in the data center, companies will change to HP, IBM, or Cisco brands in the next hardware upgrade cycle. With modern virtualization technology, it is not difficult to change out the hardware without much production impact [1][2].

    There is a BIG quality and service level difference between stuff that goes in a server rack, and a bargain basement PC bought from a big box store. As always, you get what you pay for.

    [1]: Install the OS/VM server on the new hardware and get it up to date with patches, power off the VMs in production, swap hardware, import the VMs, power them back on. Of course, it never goes this easy in reality, but this is a LOT easier than replacing a physical machine, rebuilding the OS, apps, paths to data, and other stuff.

    [2]: As an alternative, I've seen some companies that are Mac based use XServes and 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, especially if a company has a great deal for hardware with Apple.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @06:30PM (#32091860)

    Huh? Don't get the relevance of BSD to this discussion. We're talking firmware, not OSs.

    Yes, it's quite obvious you don't get it.

    Well, let me clarify that for you:

    this is the beginning of the end for Snoracle hardware, because unless you are a Swiss bank so deeply entrenched in SPARC and Solaris, nobody in their right mind will go along with this bullshit, when they can get cheap-ass generic hardware off of avadirect, siliconmechanics or whoever the next reasonable volume discounter is.

    Unfortunately, that also means the beginning of the end of Solaris.

    It's about getting to be that time to say "goodbye dear Solaris, trusty companion, the best operating system on the planet. You'll continue live in my memory."

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

    by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @06:31PM (#32091874) Homepage

    In my experience, both Dell and Sun are about equal as x86 server suppliers, on quality of hardware, price and quality of service. They were quite good to play off against each other too.

    (Dell's desktop build and service is shit, their server build and service is excellent. In my experience. YMMV. Etc.)

    HP are about the same as either. IBM are better on quality and service but pricier.

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

    by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @06:40PM (#32091950) Homepage

    There's a reason I always search from Google ;-) It's also until now been good for finding firmware upgrades. (e.g. every X2200/X4500/X4600 shipped with firmware so immature it would be Not Fit For Purpose if UK consumer law applied; Sun won't send a field engineer until you've upgraded the firmware, or tried and failed to do so. Fantastic boxes once that's done, of course.)

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @08:24PM (#32092766)

    The advantage of IBM is that you might pay a high price for support, but if things are going to hell in a handbasket really fast, you can always get a tech onsite to help with the problem. Of course, this is a lot better with the pSeries line where IBM makes the hardware, the OS, and quite likely the software (if using DB/2, CATIA, or something along those lines.)

    HP support I've seen has been middle of the road. However, in my experience, they tend to be better than Dell. Dell is great if you have a MS shop with a whole bunch of A+ techs who either can pull out a soldering iron and do exactly what you did, or find a solution by heading to a Fry's, buying a part and making it work. However, on production critical equipment, a soldering iron may void the warranty, so you need to have at least 24/7/365 with a 4 hour response time at the minimum. This is why I like HP. They actually won't give you crap if you need a tech on-site because your primary DC's motherboard ate itself and the secondary DC is groaning under the stress of twice as many queries.

    Some server maker's service is OK... but in general, make *sure* to get the premium/gold/platinum/whatever is their upper tier service plan. Elsewise you will be screaming in Hindi, "Ma' mai apan paryavkaka s bta k?" repeatedly when the tech tries to read down a script asking you to run hard disk diagnostics when the box won't POST, then gets mad that you don't.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:01PM (#32093390) Homepage

    Frankly I would say this is a bad move if Sun wants to stay in the Hardware biz.

    Well, you see, the new owners (Oracle) have decided that the Hardware business isn't nearly as lucrative as the maintenance business.

    That's where the big money is. Oracle figured that out a long time ago, and they're just moving Sun to be in line with existing corporate policies.

    Same greed, different day.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky