Cash Cow

I got a quote recently from RM to upgrade the hard disks in one of my servers. This would involve buying three new 300GB SCSI disks and having an engineer fit them. I’ve been told I can’t fit them myself as that would invalidate the hardware warranty of the entire server.

The price I was quoted just for the drives was nearly double the price quoted by two competitors. I had anticipated them being a little pricier than normal, but this literally made me choke. In addition, the cost to fit the new drives was nearly £2,000, for a maximum of two days’ work.

I wish I could charge a thousand pounds a day, that’s for sure.

The total cost of the quote was roughly the same as buying an entire new server. I actually emailed the sales rep to point this out, and asked him if he’d made a mistake. He hadn’t. Personally I find it hard to understand where they think all this money is going to come from. The school has some very well-kept grounds, but as far as I know, there are no money trees on site.

When I started in my new job I resolved to keep an open mind about having RM as a primary supplier. So far, this approach is not paying dividends.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

11 responses to “Cash Cow”

  1. Carl Booth says :

    All RM brings is pain and misery

    (and empty ICT budgets.)

  2. Soulfish says :

    Ouch – I knew there was a reason I liked to steer clear of RM products!

  3. tmcd35 says :

    How old is the server? I’d be tempted to buy HD’s myself and forget the warranty. Two days at £1000 each for a morning work is criminal!

    • AngryTechnician says :

      The server isn’t that old, and it also happens to be the PDC, so forgoing warranty on it would be slightly suicidal. My current plan is to buy a NAS instead and move some files off it the server.

  4. TheCrust says :

    Why not do what we did – and move from RM to a completely vanilla Windows network?

    It paid us dividends in terms of improved network flexibility, reliability and reduced licensing costs.

    Plus it got right up the nose of our RM account manager who felt we were making a big mistake – I suppose it *was* a bit of an extreme a project if annoying RM was the sole intention, but I considered it an unplanned benefit. ;-)

  5. The Big Red Button says :

    We actually are ditching RM servers altogether now, we only have a few left in the school, with the pdc being a HP server now, better on the budget :D

  6. Steve Horsfield says :

    While I have no wish to degree in the least with your main point, finding that it would be cheaper to buy new than to upgrade the old is a situation we all recognize.

  7. Emanuel Crisp says :

    I can confirm that that seems to be the going rate.

    I heard from the NM at a local school who had a similar experience. He needed to buy a new server from RM to act as a DC. He specced it up to be quite healthy, with 8GB of RAM and 64bit Windows Server (I forget if it was 2003 or 2008)

    RM quoted him (item cost * 2)+£2000. The £2000 was for labour of course, because he couldn’t be trusted to set the thing up.

    In trots the RM primate to set up the server, takes his time about it and then gives my associate the big “voila!”. The NM was surprised to note from a cursory look in taskmgr that only 4GB of RAM was being recognised. Suspecting an ordering slip-up he checked with the RM engineer, who informed him that it would only show up in 64bit Windows and….

    RM don’t support 64bit Windows!

    My office is on the second floor. I suspect I would have launched him through the window if it had been me.

    • AngryTechnician says :

      There is so much that RM don’t support, it feels like their stock answer is “no”. After having been fed that line for weeks every time I asked them about something when I started at my new school, I remember my first chat with another supplier we use for MIS. When I asked them some of my ‘do you support x’ questions, they looked at me like I was crazy for even bothering to ask, because they’d been supporting it for years. It was like a breath of fresh air. Nay, a scuba tank full of Lake District spring air after spending weeks suffocating at the bottom of some festering cesspit.

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