Oh, Compellent… again with the disk prices.

Time to expand the SAN again.

I planned and budgeted for this this year but it still pisses me off. Look, I realize these guys have to make money, but the bottom line is they’re charging over $1.40/GB for SATA storage. There are 7200 RPM 2TB SATA drives on Amazon and Newegg ranging in price from $130 to $220. That’s as low as $0.065/GB. There was even a 2TB WD “Green” drive (sub-7200 RPM, I think 5900 RPM) on Slickdeals today for $99. That’s 5 cents per gig.

Like I said, I realize these guys are running a business and they want to make money, but this type of price gouging is just infuriating. Assuming a 2TB SATA disk retails for $200, and they tack on 100% markup, so $6400 for 16 disks. $5000 for the enclosure. $10,000 for their “special sauce.” That’s about $21,000 for 32TB, or $0.65/GB, which is still about a pretty healthy profit. This doesn’t take into account the insane annual support contracts you’re paying for in perpetuity.

I don’t know. I guess I’m just cheap. I’ve complained about this before, and I complained about it again this time to our reseller. The SAN vendor is Compellent, and while the product is very good, the pricing certainly doesn’t scale the way they made it sound during the sales pitch. They kept saying how they’re able to leverage commodity hardware in order to keep costs low. Well, maybe they meant their own costs. It’s certainly not getting passed on to us.

Though maybe I’m jaded because this is the first SAN I’ve worked with. I’ve heard lots of horror stories about SANs and carving luns and having to restripe arrays and worrying about hot disks, etc. With Compellent I don’t have to worry about any of that. It is a nice product. I just wish it was cheaper. My reseller’s response to my complaint was basically “It’s definitely expensive, but at least it’s good; all SAN vendors mark up their prices wildly but the product often sucks.”

Anyway, I guess when you have shareholders to please, if you can milk people, you’d better do it. I suppose my advice would be to buy what you need up front and don’t expect to be able to leverage falling costs of storage. The savings don’t get passed on to you.

10 Replies to “Oh, Compellent… again with the disk prices.”

  1. Hi Evan, I’m with Compellent and I asked our sales team to give you a call about your concerns, so hopefully they’ve done that already. We want every customer to have a great experience with our Fluid Data storage and are always trying to balance performance and value in the hardware we provide. I don’t know your specific situation but I do know that the enterprise-class SATA drives (or any drive for that matter) Compellent ships and supports have a significantly higher level of R&D compared to consumer grade drives that you referenced from Amazon. For instance, our drives have higher MTBF and quality testing and are backed by our Copilot support team from ongoing maintenance to proactive monitoring. Happy to discuss further or put you directly in touch with our team in case you have additional questions. We’re following each other on Twitter 🙂 so you can always DM me at http://twitter.com/liemnguyen or via email at liem dot nguyen at compellent dot com.

    All best,
    Liem Nguyen, director of corporate communications

  2. Thanks Liem. I’ve had some back-and-forth with our sales reps and I’ve been told in the past that the R&D on the SATA drives basically ensures that the drives have a specific version of firmware on them to ensure compatibility. In any case, my main source of consternation was that the pricing for expansion didn’t seem to match what we had expected when we initially went with Compellent. I guess the bright side for us is that with this latest order (which we placed last week) we should be set for quite a while. Anyway, thanks for your comment; I never expected anyone would actually read this. 🙂

  3. I’m from the uk and we got a quote for £3k for 3*2Tb disks this was for disks only. HP sell enterprise SATA disks for list price of £250 each, which we would get cheaper. Are your sata drives really 4 times better! I don’t think so. We are evaluating at the moment to see how it goes before buying anything else. I would suggest a significant price adjustment especially in the current climate of spending cuts.

  4. All I can tell you is that if you think Compellent is costly, don’t even bother looking at EMC or NetApp. You got a bargain if you ask me.

  5. I know the prices your talking about, but the grass is not greener on any side. For HP 3Par, its 5,500 for a 2TB disk, I saw a quote for 10 spindles for a VMAX recently and that was at 40k after very HEAVY negotiations.

    Way I understand it is that those drives cost more because there is lot that goes on in the back end to make that drive work in your array.

    Unless you want to build your own SAN from scratch, which is entirely possible… get used to these prices.

  6. Believe me guys, stick with HP 3Par or EMC, I have nothing but horror stories about Compellent. Dell claims you will save money in long run but my philosphy is you need to have stable SAN rather than saving money.

  7. Odd. I’ve met with several Compellent customers and the one thing that was consistent across all of them was that Compellent’s technical and customer support was second to none. This makes it hard for me to understand some of these comments. Also, as a product, Compellent seems pretty excellent and, technically at least, up there with the best in the mid-range tier.

    On the subject of disk prices, EMC, 3Par, IBM etc are all much the same – i.e. don’t expect to be comparing cheap SATA disks from your local internet retailer, or you’re only going to get annoyed! Yes, they’re the same disks. Yes, the markup us pretty fierce. Be aware that (at least for us) there’s a bucket load of support built in there as well, so if that “cheap” disk dies, you’ll have a new one on your desk in 4 hours, day or night. That level of service doesn’t come cheap and has to be factored into the disk price.

  8. Compellent’s prices are ridiculous. Plus Dell is discontinuing support. When we purchased the product (at a hefty price tag) initially, the pitch was inexpensive expandability and perpetual support. Oh well. Time to junk it.

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