Obviously, HP would like everyone to keep using Data Protector for as long as possible, and to maintain a full support contract on everything.
But let's say you've decided you don't want to keep using Data Protector. First up, I'm sure HP would love to hear from you to understand your issues. If you can't get the ear of anyone at HP, tell me and I can pass on feedback.
Now, you will end up in a situation where you have a history of backups that you might need to restore from, but without maintaining a support contract, if something goes wrong, you don't have anywhere to turn to.
So what's the cheapest way that you could keep a supported Data Protector environment? I think this would be with a copy of Data Protector single-server edition (B7030BAE). Last time I checked it was around AUD550 which included a one year support contract. The support contract part of this is only about AUD100 per year.
This gets you access to any released patches and also an escalation path in case one of those restores doesn't work.
There are a few limitations to single-server edition, but if you can live with them, this might be the way to go.
Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HP DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector (http://www.ifost.org.au/books/#dp). He works with HP and HP partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at http://www.ifost.org.au/dataprotector