Saturday, March 14, 2009

The ridiculous price of HP Enterprise Software

A colleague of mine told me recently that "Enterprise" software that's usually despised by IT technical staff often finds its way in corporations using steaks and hookers. To this I would add good golf appartus. Unfortunately for these software sellers, I'm not fond of steak, I'm married, and I don't play golf... So my software purchases are based on technical merit. And I must say that increasingly, Open Source software wins in this arena. But that's another story.

Some Enterprise software are actually useful to IT techies, and even if they're costly, they can actually make you save in the long run. One example I can think of is OpenView Performance Manager. I've been using it for years and it helped us plan equipment purchases and consolidate on VMs. Its price could be considered expensive by some, but personally I find it reasonable when I see how useful it's been for our environment.

I might have been naive, but I expected a cost similar to OVPM when I asked about the price of a storage management software from HP which I won't name here. As a SAN admin, that software would have been very useful to me. It would have helped me provision and plan for years ahead our disk space trends.

But my inquiry came back with a price tag that was the absolute highest, by a large degree, that I've ever encounted up until now in my 10+ years in IT.

Man, what are these guys smoking?

Do they expect someone to actually pay this price, especially in these dire economic times? Give me a break. The cost is so insane that no matter what that software does, unless it actually prints money, there's no way a lone IT admin such as me could even think of recommending this to management. My chances would be better endorsing the purchase of a few Ferraris, at least they'd be fun to drive.

Joel Spolsky once wrote an essay detailing how to price software. If I remember correctly, it boiled do to this: you set the pricing strategy depending on the what your target customer is ready to pay.

Did you know that HP recently asked their employees to lower their salary ? No wonder. I don't know who can purchase software at these prices in 2009. The target customer for the management software I asked for is either someone who's IT budget is in tens (if not hundreds) of millions and don't give a damn about the price of their software, or they're the kind who has a soft spot for Angus beef, exotic dancers and nice golf clubs. I'm none of that. Looks like I'll just have to spend a few weeks gluing together some FOSS software, along with a few homemade scripts, and I'll have my own management solution for free.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boy - you nailed that one! But if you think software is expensive - try buying support! I have been paying for support for years, cant afford not to have it yet. HP uses what I call the Disney Model - charge as much as you can extort from people, so you can reward your CEO.