"This decision reinforces our goal to provide access to the latest HP firmware, which is valuable intellectual property, for our customers who have chosen to maximize and protect their IT investments.," explained Mary McCoy, VP for server support. "We know this is a change from how we’ve done business in the past; however, this aligns with industry best practices and is the right decision for our customers and partners."
Users who don't have or don't want to pay for the access to the firmware felt cornered - if a critical vulnerability is discovered in the firmware and patched, they would be forced to pony up the money or be subjected to increased risk.
But McCoy cleared up a few details on Tuesday, and confirmed that security and safety updates will continue to be provided free of charge to all server users.
"It is through the sales of warranty in the product, and sales of support services after the warranty, that we are able to invest to create great customer experiences with our products. Naturally we don't ask customers to buy support as that is their choice," she explained.
"The firmware access changes we are making on February 19, 2014 apply to HP ProLiant servers only. Specifically, within ProLiant, we are not putting entitlement requirements on iLO, I/O, or controller firmware; we are only entitling ProLiant system ROM and complex programming logic devices (CPLD) firmware."