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Separating Storage Startups From Upstarts

Most technology buyers have a pretty binary view of their vendors. They see established market leaders, such as EMC, HP and Cisco, and a vast sea of startups. While it used to be true that no one ever got fired for buying IBM, it’s clear to me -- at least in the storage industry -- that there's a group of vendors that aren’t 800-pound gorillas, but are more established than the term startup implies. I’ve dubbed these vendors upstarts, and all but the most conservative IT organizations should consider them along with the big boys.

In general, if you buy your network, storage and/or server kit from a big established vendor, you can count on getting support, both pre- and post-sales, from that vendor for the life of the product. Like everything else in life, that support, or more accurately, the peace of mind that support will be forthcoming, comes at a cost.

Part of that cost is of course that solutions from Dell or NetApp will cost a more than the roughly equivalent product from a startup such as Tegile or a second-tier vendor like SuperMicro, although the big boys are usually more willing to discount.

That discount depends on how much business you do with the vendor, the size of the particular order and how well your salesman is doing at making his quota, especially towards the end of the quarter. The other factor in how big a discount your vendor will give you is how sure it is that you’re going to buy from it. 

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