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Storage vendors add deal-sweeteners

PhotobucketStorage and IT in general may be faring better than some other markets, but times are tough all over, and opening up wallets is a difficult task everywhere. Storage vendors are responding to the situation by offering deal-sweeteners they hope will boost users’ confidence.

NEC’s deal is the most dramatic – a 30-day free trial for its D-Series storage area networks (SANs). The 30-day period does not include shipping, installation or testing time – the customer determines when 30 days of production use have passed. If they are not satisfied, NEC will handle the de-install of the SAN and data migration to another array, as well as the return freight.

None of those services will come at a cost to the customer, according to Josh Eddy, director of product management for D-Series. “Those terms are what we’ve put in front of our lawyers and our customers,” Eddy said. “It’s that straightforward.”

D-Series is sold by several undisclosed OEM partners in the media and entertainment space, but only NEC-branded versions come with the guarantee. “It hasn’t been the most established name in the U.S., and we want users to be confident that there aren’t risks in using this storage,” he said.

In the current economy, companies are looking to avoid new capital expenditures regardless of how good the deal is. Market research and storage vendors’ earnings reports for last quarter show people are investing in products that allow them to repurpose or squeeze more into systems they already have, rather than buying new arrays.

But many in the industry also expect something of a recovery toward the second half of this year, and data growth won’t slow under these economic conditions, Eddy pointed out.

Other vendors are offering customers enticements to use their existing software and licensed features. Through its Switch It On program, Hitachi Data Systems is offering customers free virtualization software licenses through the end of the year if they use it to attach another vendor’s storage to the HDS UPS-V platform. HDS will give free licenses to its basic virtualization OS, Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning, Tiered Storage Manager and In-System replication software.

Meanwhile, Nexsan sent out its own deal-sweetening announcement this week, saying that customers who activate its AutoMAID disk drive spin-down feature (also available with a 30-day free trial), they’ll receive complimentary spare drives.

Look for more vendors to continue to jump on this bandwagon alongside new product announcements in the coming weeks.

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