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Whiteboxes Are In Your Future
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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2013 | 8:04:48 AM
Re: White box storage
What I hope we see from this is third party solutions that use the white boxes but add value by building interfaces or offering superior support.  A smaller more nimble storage company could do very well if they can stay in front of current trends and offer quick response to rolling out cutting edge products. 
joreilly925
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joreilly925,
User Rank: Author
12/26/2013 | 12:15:33 PM
Re: White box storage
@sanIT, I think that's a great assessment. I expect that less savvy users would pay a bit extra for support and integration by a third-party.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
12/26/2013 | 8:10:54 AM
Re: White box storage
A friend of mine is a lead developer for a popular Linux distro and manages package integration, etc.  He openly admits that it's impossible to cover every piece of hardware out there but he'll give you the tools to make it work for you.  I see the whitebox storage pieces moving in that direction.  I have experience with other "commodity" hardware and making it work without the manufacturer support of drivers or anything other than "good luck"  so I'm not afraid of the concept.  I just wanted to throw out there that there is a layer of support that you need consider when you go down this path. It's not all bad, in fact I think it's good to have a few things like this where your team is responsible for things at a deeper level but for a small shop with limited resources they need to be careful looking at this as the answer to their storage pricing woes.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/23/2013 | 1:19:25 PM
Re: White box storage
Exactly, and I do not hope to see or expect oil prices to be dropping anything soon because if that happens without new oil fields being discovered it would mean that innovations in how energy is being used on a global scale has stopped.
joreilly925
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joreilly925,
User Rank: Author
12/23/2013 | 1:05:34 PM
Re: White box storage
@Brian, I think you are cirrect. Increasing oil prices and a smaller gap in labor costs are already starting to tip the balance in some businesses.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/23/2013 | 12:47:37 PM
Re: White box storage
Excellently put and I see all this as creating a net increase in efficiency. And by following these models that have already been proven to work can be a good place for anyone wanting to step into the market -- any firms from any economy.
joreilly925
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joreilly925,
User Rank: Author
12/23/2013 | 12:28:42 PM
Re: White box storage
The cost of a product is the componenets, the labor to assemble it, plus transportation and inventory carrying costs. You reach a point where the logistics costs exceed the savings from the cheap labor pool. This is especially true as the labor content drops, and robots do the building. This will lead to quite a bit of onshoring over time, such as the Foxconn deal for TVs.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/23/2013 | 12:23:18 PM
Re: White box storage
Television have been reinvented many times and I guess the next company that manages to reinvent the Television will be able to manufacture it in any economy (developed or developing) because innovation carries a lot of value and it can easily offset advantages that would be gained if the cost of labor was lower.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
12/23/2013 | 12:12:58 PM
Re: White box storage
I agree the whitebox model seems to require a lot more IT expertise and I would expect to see far less help from the vendors. But as Jim notes, VARs and system integrators are most likely to be building these kinds of systems. And if the boxes evolve like TVs, then we'll just start throwing them away when they don't work, so there won't be any question of troubleshooting or fixing them anyway.
joreilly925
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joreilly925,
User Rank: Author
12/23/2013 | 11:53:54 AM
Re: White box storage
@SaneIT, while generally true that branded boxes from traditional suppliers get good support, the whitebox community benefits from the quality and interoperability of the components. If the intergrator buys from good suppliers like Quanta fro instance, the chances are the box will work well.

There is the question of support, but my experience is this is often a case of esoteric peripherals or OS other than LInux or Windows. The community forums for the mainstream solutions tend to clear up many issues.

That leaves the occasional blunder that even big providers make, such as a BIOS or EFI error. This is an area where, perversely, even the traditional OEMs have to go back to the same Chinese resources, and often they have the same "lost-in-translation" issues.

Bottom line is if you use reputables vendors' components, there's less difference than you think.


Of course, if HP or Dell is integrating apps and the rest, too, the level of support ought to be better than if you do it yourself, so whiteboxes aren't free.
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