Re: IBM 76.8Gb ultra dma/100 hard drive at Fry's for $375...

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From: Strata Rose Chalup (
Date: Thu Dec 28 2000 - 14:54:34 PST

Adam Rifkin wrote:
> [...]
> And the net result of all of those vyings for my business is that the
> costs to me, the guy who only cares about his whine and not the
> intricacies of how that wine is stored, should drop as competition
> becomes cutthroat. [...]

Yes, but you are comparing apples to oranges. Actually, I take that
back-- you're comparing orange SECTIONS to oranges.

The cheap IBM drive is but one section of the storage orange supplied by
NetApp or EMC. Other sections are faster access to the data on the
drive if accessing over a network, multiple power supplies, the chassis
that lets you hotswap, etc etc.

Right now as a consumer, you can either buy an orange, which you
probably can't afford as an average consumer, or you can buy some
sections, some juice, an arbitrary number of seeds, and dried grated
orange peel. It's up to you to assemble those into an orange. That's
the added value.

It goes further-- in the case of NetApp vs generic RAID, if you buy a
NetApp orange, you can use it in your orchard without the expense of a
whole tree to hang it on. If you're building your own orange, you
actually need to already have a tree to hang the orange onto for it to
be useful in your orchard.

If both you and the orange vendor can buy hard-disk sections
increasingly cheaply on the open market, well, the orange vendor just
makes a little more money on each orange while doing the value added
work of assembling them out of sections and other materials.
> [..]
> They're overvalued because the cost of RAIDs should become more and more
> commoditized as the cost of storage itself falls through the floor, and
> dozens of companies should be clawing out of the woodworks to steal
> away market share and cut at the leaders' margins.

Nope, because the cost of an orange section is only a small part of the
total cost of an orange-- pruning, fertilizing, harvesting, transport,
etc. If you look at a price quote on a big NetApp or EMC server, you
will find that the cost of the disks themselves rarely exceeds 10 - 20%
of the total pricing. So the most that the cost of RAIDS should go down
is N% of system cost minus delta in disk prices, at most 10 - 20% if the
disks get to the point of being essentially free.

> [...]
> We're not talking about doing things twice as cheap as NetApp and EMC,
> we're talking about doing things an order of magnitude cheaper... and
> starting with an initially different market at lower-cost price point.

Right. Remember the little $125 - $250 boxes that you could hook onto
any printer to magically make it a network-enabled, no host required
printer? Who's working on one of those, with a teensy bit more smarts
(not much!) to hook up to an N-bay standalone drive case for cheap home
and small office RAID? Bzzt! Not here yet!

Hmm, there's some junkmail in easy reach...I'm now flipping through a
catalog (eCost) and don't see a category for it. The closest thing,
which is not really a good match, is a NetWinder Office Server. It's
being touted as an "all in one Internet appliance" with firewall, proxy,
various network support (dsl, cable modem, dialup, and isdn), local
email, web, ftp, and oh yeah, file and printer sharing. It starts at an
eye-popping $1528 for 64Mb RAM and a 10Gb IDE disk, going up to a
stem-cell-exploding $3874 for a rackmount formfactor with 2x128Mb and
2x10Gb disk. PTHTHTH! Sure the low end one is about the size of a
thick trade paperback, but puh-leaze! Clearly the constant factor in
pricing is their attempt at cost recovery/profit on the turnkey
software. Someone ought to nudge them in a smarter direction, where
they could have a chance to pick up on quantity sales. Their file
sharing says Windows, Macs, and "Linux/UNIX".

Interestingly enough on the same page there's a $247 AirStation wireless
network station, with absolutely no provision for serving FILES or doing
anything other then being a little hub. Where are those iOpener hackers
when you need 'em? Of course, I don't know if the AirStation has enough
innards to run an OS.


> ----
> Adam@KnowNow.Com
> We don't do drivebys, we park in front of houses and shoot.
> -- Eminem, "Amityville"

Strata Rose Chalup [KF6NBZ]                      strata "@"
VirtualNet Consulting                  
 ** Project Management & Architecture for ISP/ASP Systems Integration **

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