[DRBD-user] Re: drbd-user Digest, Vol 13, Issue 31

John S Little JSLittl at Hendricks.org
Mon Aug 22 15:44:14 CEST 2005

Note: "permalinks" may not be as permanent as we would like,
direct links of old sources may well be a few messages off.


> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 09:32:00 +0200
> From: Lars Ellenberg <Lars.Ellenberg at linbit.com>
> Subject: Re: [DRBD-user] Isn't the support contract rather expensive?
> To: drbd-user at lists.linbit.com
> Message-ID: <20050822073200.GD5042 at barkeeper1.linbit>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> > >anyone has a suggestion for how we can improve on
> > >beeing supported for drbd?
> > >
> > 
> > I just looked at the price and it's seems to be incredibly expensive.
> > For one thing, it seems that duration of the contracts is for three
> > months. That in of itself is odd. Who wants support for such a short
> > period? Aren't most contracts a year?
> > 
> Thanks for the input, I'll escalate that to sales.
> In any case, I'd like to hear some other voices on the matter, too.
> This could be an interessting discussion.
> And probably in the interesst of the drbd user comunity, too.
> A word to your examples:
> as you mention yourself, they _sell_ their software (or licenses),
> and in addition they offer support.
> Since drbd is GPL, people only pay for it if they have problems,
> or special demands.  If we got some money for every usage of drbd, ...

This is a good and valid point.  The price though, at three months, is 
often difficult to sell to management.
> > To make any comparison meaningful, the cost needs to be extended out
> > for a year where applicable and for us in the US converted to US
> > dollars.

I respectfully disagree with this.  For the comparison to be meaningful 
either it has to be compared to the cost of support on other open source 
products or you have to apply an estimated "licensing" cost to drbd.

> > 
> > basic support, 4 * 474 =   $1896
> > standard support, 4 * 1763 =   $7052
> > 
> > By comparison, Canto, who sells a well-known digital archive
> > management solution, charges us $925 a year for what is essentially
> > equivalent to the standard support for drbd for our 5-user workgroup
> > server product. (A product whose database will be soon be protected by
> > drbd :).) Note this price is slightly discounted because we are an
> > educational institution, and the prices would go up as the number of
> > simultaneous clients goes up.
> > 
> > By another comparison, Dantz, makers of a great cross-platform backup
> > solution, Retrospect, is charging us $610 for a yearly tech support
> > contract, the equivalent of the standard support contract above. This
> > price may also be a bit discounted because of our educational status.
> > 
> > Either way, standard support for drbd is essentially an order of
> > magnitude more expensive.
> > 
> > I suggest dropping installation support altogether and extending the
> > existing basic and standard support options to a year at their three
> > month price. Even then, it's not cheap.
> -- 
> : Lars Ellenberg                                  Tel +43-1-8178292-0  :
> : LINBIT Information Technologies GmbH            Fax +43-1-8178292-82 :
> : Schoenbrunner Str. 244, A-1120 Vienna/Europe   http://www.linbit.com :
> __
> please use the "List-Reply" function of your email client.

There are several open source applications out there that offer commercial 
support: ClamAV, Squid, Samba etc.  Some sell commercial support from at 
$150/hour in 20 hour blocks regardless of the time it takes to use that. 
Others simply bill by the hour at around $150 with some sort of minimum in 
place, usually 2-4 hours.  Whether the time is used for installation, 
basic or standard support is an irrelevant point. 
>From the seller's point of view using the block system a time limit or 
"use it or lose it" system needs to be in place.  This is usually based at 
12-18 months. 

My guess is that Lars can accurately estimate the time that most problems 
take to resolve.  My preference would be to be as intelligent as he is :) 
but since I'm not I would prefer the hourly rate at around $150 with a 2-4 
hour minimum.  This of course is based on our in house philosophy that we 
can maintain and fix most things that we implement but sometimes we need 
that expertise that only the developers can provide. 

Other shops my want blocks of time.  It just depends on how they work.

And of course if there is a break for non-profits..

John Little
Hendricks Reigonal Health IS Department
jslittl at hendricks.org

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