David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

December 17th, 2007 at 3:49 pm Print This Post Print This Post

HP ProCurve gets A in Tech Support

Now that the semester is over, I can spend a few moments on this blog after my brief (13 day) absence!

I recently upgraded the firmware on all of the HP ProCurve switches we installed as part of our building project last year. It is so nice to have managed switches! We have ProCurve Manager Plus (we have version 2.1), HPs switch management application, and it makes upgrading the software on all of the beefy HP switches a breeze. What it doesn’t do is update the “smaller” switches, a.k.a. “less expensive,” such as the 1700-24 or the 1800 Series, which are web-managed only. Those switches must be upgraded using the web-based interface. We only have about four switches from those series, in various “edge” locations outside of our three primary network closets. The 1700-24 switch we have is currently running firmware version 1.05, while version 1.09 is the current release. This is supposed to be easy, just log into the web interface, click go to the Software Upgrade area, pick the firmware file and click Apply.

Unfortunately, I got an error message when I did this; the same error in Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 6. The top frame where I had put the update file location would reload to a “page not found” page, while the lower frame where a status bar appeared remained frozen at 0%. I re-downloaded the update, tried several more times from both browsers, no dice. This is what the error looked like:

ProCurve Switch 1700-24 Upgrade Failure

I decide to take advantage of ProCurve’s free technical support, and give them a call. I did wait on hold for about 20 minutes, but I was first directed to a live operator who asked me which product I was calling about so I could be placed in the correct support queue! I ended up speaking with Brandy, who tried an upgrade on her switch along with me and then collected a screenshot (see above) of my problem and the configuration file from my switch, via email. She had me try upgrading to version 1.07, the one in between my current version and the newest, with the same results. All of this seemed perfectly reasonable, and I didn’t feel like I was getting a script at any time.

Since it still didn’t work, Brandy made sure she had my number and was going to verify the information I sent her with an internal support person and get back to me. She called back less than two hours later, and although I missed her call, she left a voicemail and sent a follow-up email, and said they had decided to replace the switch if I would reply with my preferred shipping address and the switch model and serial number information! How easy is that?

Overall, although I have not received the replacement switch yet, I am very satisfied with the level of support I received on this issue, especially since this is possibly the least-expensive managed switch we have purchased from HP. The included technical support (and of course the lifetime warranty) were two huge reasons for choosing ProCurve, and the investment is bearing some fruit in those areas! The only other time I have needed to call them was when our Wireless xl switch controller module died within a month or two of installing it. They replaced it (we paid over $2000 for it) next business day (died on a Friday so we were down for the weekend), with perhaps a shorter phone call than this one! The fact that they offer a lifetime warranty on this module is amazing to me, because it is essentially a computer–you can clearly see the RAM modules, the processor, and other components on the module when it is not inside a host switch. Even HP desktops, with similar components (OK, the quality of the components may not be exactly similar), don’t get a lifetime warranty!

Go ProCurve! I am a fan…I hope I remain one!