The stupidity of being nickled and dimed by vendors

June 29, 2007

We have some current rackmount servers from Sun and HP. They both come with convenient, built in remote management systems that are basically equivalent from my perspective; each has remote power control, KVM over IP, and virtual media. There's only one important difference between the two: Sun gives me this for free as part of the base server but HP wants a few hundred dollars to give me a license that enables the useful features (KVM over IP and virtual media).

I suspect you can guess whose servers are much, much more attractive to me.

I'm sure HP feels that this is a small expense when compared to the overall cost of their servers. They're wrong, because it doesn't work that way. Optional costs are subject to ruthless pressure and unless you work in an environment with a lot of server turnover it is hard to argue for spending a few hundred dollars extra per server merely to save a few visits to the machine room.

The whole thing feels especially annoying because it wouldn't cost HP any more to just give us the whole thing. In other words, HP is making my life more difficult merely to try to get some more money from us. Although it's nothing new, I still resent being nickled and dimed by vendors, and the only thing HP is really doing is shooting itself in the foot; now, I would much rather buy Sun servers than the equivalent HP servers.

(The most common form of being nickled and dimed by server vendors is having to buy the smallest size disks they sell, at marked up prices, just to get the special drive sleds necessary to put real disks in their servers. We would be happy to buy just the drive sleds at fair prices; it would even be convenient to have spares, so we could have our cold spare drives pre-assembled and ready to go.)

Written on 29 June 2007.
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Last modified: Fri Jun 29 15:02:20 2007
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