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  1. #1
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    Rant: "Sorry, you need our enterprise version"

    Why is it that companies charge you ten times the amount for the same exact product because the OS you are running happens to have "Server" in the name? Windows 2003 and Windows XP are fundamentally the same kernel-wise except Windows 2003 is 5.2, XP is 5.1.

    One company who peddles a software firewall justifies the cost by saying that "servers are immensly more complex to protect than normal machines." I'm not sure on complexity, but I'm pretty sure the only differences between their "server" firewall product offering and the normal one are $900 and the word "server" or "enterprise" in the program's title... maybe a Group Policy object chucked in for grins.

    This is understandable for products which are majorly different (dev version versus enterprise versions of Oracle for example.) However, for something basic (antispyware with no Notes, Exchange, or SQL Server modules), this is bordering on highway robbery. Charging more for a product that offers features for server-specific stuff (Exchange, Active Directory, or whatnot) is perfectly acceptable, but just raising the price because the little pips moving on the boot screen [1] are grey instead of blue or green is annoying.

    [1]: Unless you are someone like me, have the machine start with the /SOS option to see more details of what is going on during boot.
    Last edited by mlts22; 02-17-07 at 01:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    It's effectively a manner of licensing based on how much you expect the purchaser to get out of it. Another way of looking at it is renting a car and paying a different amount depending whether you expect to put 1000 miles on it hauling products around, or 20 miles on it for personal use. It kind of highlights the convoluted concepts surrounding theories of software ownership versus licensing.

    The bottom line is they license the software to you to use under a certain set of conditions. If you're not willing to meet those conditions, you can't buy a license. In general it balances out, because the flip side is if they don't have reasonable conditions, they don't get your money.
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    That is very true. For example licensing by the number of clients connecting to a machine is one way. A good example of this would be an anti-spam filter for Exchange which is licensed by clients.

    Another example are enterprise versions of items like Counterspy which have good administrative control of client access, so a sysadmin can tell what machines have the software installed, and what Counterspy is detecting. Obviously, this functionality will cost more than just the $30 version for consumers.

    Then, there are the programs that befuddle me why they have such disparate pricing, like some software firewalls. Those do not do more functions, so why should they be licensed any different if the OS has a max number of 10 share connections versus an OS with a max number of shares limited by the number of CALs. This is assuming its not doing anything else but simple firewalling. For example, ISA server, its obvious that it does a lot more functionality on the server side.
    Last edited by mlts22; 02-17-07 at 01:57 PM.

  4. #4
    NOOBIE electromethod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22
    Why is it that companies charge you ten times the amount for the same exact product because the OS you are running happens to have "Server" in the name? Windows 2003 and Windows XP are fundamentally the same kernel-wise except Windows 2003 is 5.2, XP is 5.1.

    One company who peddles a software firewall justifies the cost by saying that "servers are immensly more complex to protect than normal machines." I'm not sure on complexity, but I'm pretty sure the only differences between their "server" firewall product offering and the normal one are $900 and the word "server" or "enterprise" in the program's title... maybe a Group Policy object chucked in for grins.

    This is understandable for products which are majorly different (dev version versus enterprise versions of Oracle for example.) However, for something basic (antispyware with no Notes, Exchange, or SQL Server modules), this is bordering on highway robbery. Charging more for a product that offers features for server-specific stuff (Exchange, Active Directory, or whatnot) is perfectly acceptable, but just raising the price because the little pips moving on the boot screen [1] are grey instead of blue or green is annoying.

    [1]: Unless you are someone like me, have the machine start with the /SOS option to see more details of what is going on during boot.

    Imagine how I felt when I had to purchase server 2003 standard for no other reason than to utilize terminal services for the handhelds. Then tack on the CALs and TS licensing and it became the most expensive single component @ work. My favorite was that they told me they offered ZERO support with their product unless I paid the outrageous price per hour which if I remember correctly was 200+ per hour? I bought the manufacturers books that they publish, all of which were useless and vague. Luckily, I was able to solve my problem within an hour of googling and searching .
    I am a NOOB. Please be gentle.

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  5. #5
    On a mission from God svt4cam's Avatar
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    Hard to imagine why Microsoft is finding their sales of Longhorn/Vista to be underwhelming, they are just starting to get XP to the point it's a stable platform. Why in the devil would I want to beta another operating system?

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    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Why? ALPHA BLENDING!

  7. #7
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by svt4cam
    Hard to imagine why Microsoft is finding their sales of Longhorn/Vista to be underwhelming, they are just starting to get XP to the point it's a stable platform. Why in the devil would I want to beta another operating system?
    Its also due to a lot of actual changes. I know I am a 150 license holder. Their OS doesnt work with 67% of the 3rd party software I run.

    Security sounds good, seriously, but 3rd party companies are signifigantly worse. IE7, for example, kills 2 of the applications I need to run.

    Not to mention hardware req's. Microsoft, in all reality, cares very little for the "small" company. I am big enough, in canada, to have the tiniest of pull with the open license I have. I can't keep up to the required hardware change let alone how "secure" exchange 2007 is. The upgrade is almost on par with exchane 5.5 to 2000

  8. #8
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
    Why? ALPHA BLENDING!
    Gee, you'd think they could start with the basics like, I don't know, proper transparency support for PNG's in IE6.

    Nah, we'll just let that be for a few years and dazzle people with that tabs thing in IE7...

    Speaking of which, I finally decided to upgrade to IE7 and selected it in automatic updates last time it came up, but it never installed. I've had other issues with automatic updates, too. Well, like svt4cam said. XP is almost stable.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  9. #9
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    Speaking of hardware upgrades... Longhorn Server will require a 64-bit CPU. 64 bits is not an issue, most of the machines made in the past couple years have this. However, having all the 32 bit apps have to thunk (translate their code back and forth to 64 bit) will really put a damper on performance... and a lot of companies just won't bother with a 64 bit version of their product, because of the notion that they only need to make 32 bit code which works on both places.

  10. #10
    CPM M4 BananaTugger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
    Why? ALPHA BLENDING!
    W00t!!!1

    I have 2x ATI Radeon X2800XTX's on the way.
    Ten tenths.

  11. #11
    so whatcha' want? bigskymacadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22
    One company who peddles a software firewall justifies the cost by saying that "servers are immensly more complex to protect than normal machines."
    that's a horrible excuse. i'd buy the fact that "enterprise" normally would be more CAL's or client licensing ... but "immensly more complex"? lame.

    what's it do that smoothwall.org can't do? geez.

  12. #12
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    The existence of an "enterprise version" may be a way to be able to sell for cheap to individuals while still protecting profits from clients that are big corporations. Sure, the underlying program is virtually identical. But you manage to charge those with deep pockets a lot of money and make some money on the margin from those who can't afford the big price tag. Complex and annoying? Sure. But it's an effective tactic. Airlines employ this tactic, too. If everybody paid the same amount, most individuals wouldn't be able to afford leisure travel. So you have a few people foot most of the cost, and you try to target those with deep pockets to fill those seats. It's probably no different here.
    If you notice this notice then you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing.

  13. #13
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Its also resources vs hardware too. My counterpart in the city can get away with using Exchange Standard. He was able to cheap out and buy a reasonable server. I run Enterprise up here due to the size of my company and some other specific communication requirements. Those requirements require more expensive hardware.

    They offer the "standard" for companies looking to save a buck and those same companies likely aren't spending 10,000$ on the server hardware and will likely buy one of those "reasonable" ones. My counterpart was able to save money but he has to very closely monitor database size, mailbox size etc. Amongst some other features he lost.

    The firewall things a crock. I don't know why anyone would "buy" a firewall. It really isn't that complex to make one, sheesh. Need more connections, upgrade the hardware. Want bandwidth manipulation, install correct port and install more ram. Proxy, Squid. Spam filter, I forget the name but there is one. Want a failsafe, oh look it does failover too. 100% uptime gauruntee with two old pc's and some knowledge vs 5000$ + having to pay for the more interesting plugins (my old boss bought a cisco PIX...freaking thing is useless without their various plugins which just end up costing more)

  14. #14
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    A view from the inside. My wife did tech support for a company making software for high end commercial image processing and printing software. She told me how she, in tech support could change a little "switch" that could enable 5 or 500 users. "What" I asked, "Is the difference?" "A little company will need X amount of tech support. The city of San Diego school system needed X times 100+ support. When tech support comes with the package we want to recover our costs."
    This space open

  15. #15
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    The main reason for a lot of the MS stuff is because its certified, and with a lot of corporate regulation, something certified secure that isn't as secure is more important than something that is secure, but doesn't have (for example) FIPS compliance. A certified product means the company can blame it on a vendor, rather than have employees face jail/prison time. This isn't a bad thing; its a fact of life for most businesses (especially banks and hospitals.)

    I am OS agnostic. MS license fees are just part of the total admin cost, and for some areas, a company is far better off with Exchange and plugins to archive E-mail. Other companies, a Mac Xserve is 100% perfect for handling everything (DNS, POP/IMAP/SMTP, file serving, printers.)

    As for firewalls, I still don't like the concept of a software firewall, other than a last-ditch line of defense against an internal intruder or to keep malware from phoning home. If its a non commercial use, for the cost of some software firewalls for Windows 2003, I can buy a Compaq from Wal-Mart (that includes a LCD monitor), add in two secondary NICs (for a DMZ and internal network), and install/configure a OpenBSD [1] firewall (after a donation to the OpenBSD project), and be far more secure in the long run.

    If its a business where I have to have pieces of paper for every product I deploy, they will get their Checkpoint, PIX, or ISA server, but if they don't have a dedicated need for that, I will try to get them something they can admin themselves and doesn't dent their budget, but functions with a top-notch security reputation.

    [1]: One can advocate OSes left and right, but in reality, its suiting the tool to the job. I have had a homebrew Linux distro built from source and a custom kernel facing the Internet for years with no known successful intrusions (knock on wood... I periodically booted the machine from floppy to check MD5 sums on all the binaries.) However, I don't have time these days to build a machine from init and the basic utilities on up, so I'll go with an already high security OS. Linux, Macs, and BSD (well, MacOS is a BSD variant, but its heritage from the Mach kernel to NeXTStep give it a distinct mention...) don't need distinct software firewall programs... just ipchains, ipfw, or whatnot to command the kernel not to listen or permit traffic on ports.
    Last edited by mlts22; 02-18-07 at 06:56 PM.

  16. #16
    hide not your essence TRACKMAN's Avatar
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    I use Tech Republic

    Quote Originally Posted by electromethod
    Imagine how I felt when I had to purchase server 2003 standard for no other reason than to utilize terminal services for the handhelds. Then tack on the CALs and TS licensing and it became the most expensive single component @ work. My favorite was that they told me they offered ZERO support with their product unless I paid the outrageous price per hour which if I remember correctly was 200+ per hour? I bought the manufacturers books that they publish, all of which were useless and vague. Luckily, I was able to solve my problem within an hour of googling and searching .
    Tech Republic is a very good source for resolving that which you can not gleen from the purported 'user manuals'.
    I would stress when using the Republic be very clear on what the problem is and offer as much information as possible.
    http://techrepublic.com.com/
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  17. #17
    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BananaTugger
    W00t!!!1

    I have 2x ATI Radeon X2800XTX's on the way.
    I'll just have to do with true transparency on my GeForce FX5200 via transset-df under Xorg...







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