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Not So Secret Pricing

2:25 PM -- Like my friend (and fellow Byte and Switch blogger) George, I find the obfuscation, pseudo secrecy, and obstruction some storage vendors use to make their pricing opaque annoying as all get out. Apparently we're not the only ones as the U.S. Justice Department is joining a whistleblower suit accusing EMC making false statements to the General Services Administration about their pricing practices, resulting in the federal government paying more for EMC kit than they should have.

The whistleblower case also accuses EMC of paying "alliance benefits" to resellers and other partners that were connected to sales these partners made to federal agencies. Under federal contracting rules, vendors are supposed to charge the feds the lowest price they charge anyone on a similar deal. The DOJ announcement can be found here.

Vendors routinely skirt this rule by making special arrangements on deals to other customers, so sales to non-federal customers aren't a similar deal. In truth, the special arrangement may be "he was going to cut a PO two days before the end of the quarter."

Price opacity comes from two primary sources. The first is just vendor attempts at secrecy. If you're tired of having to put up with a three-hour meeting with a sales guy in an $800 suit just to realize that installing a VTL from Engulf and Devour will cost $200,000 and $30,000 per year in maintenance when you were just brainstorming about how to eliminate the $30,000 per year you're currently spending on tapes, I have a couple of suggestions.

First, fellow storage blogger Robin Harris has a price list section on his site. He collects these from users and while they can be somewhat out of date, they do reflect street prices.

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