Do you really want to install a network server in five minutes?

Snap Server and its competitors are betting that you want to install a network appliance very quickly. Bob Artner thinks it's more important to be able to modify the settings once you've installed it. You tell us who's right!

You know, it’s none of my business how companies choose to market their products. I’ve got my hands full doing my own job without telling someone else how to do theirs. However, the new series of ads for Quantum Snap Server, as well as ads for some of its competitors (such as Cobalt’s Qube 2), have made me curious. Let me tell you why, and then you can tell me if I’m all wet.

The premise behind the Snap Server is that network administrators are interested in network storage devices that are truly plug-and-play. In fact, Quantum boasts that you can add a Snap Server to your network in less than five minutes. (They’ve produced a Virtual Installation that’s kind of cute, if not terribly informative.) The company is even sponsoring a contest at major trade shows this year, offering $10,000 for the fastest installation.

If they want to give away their money, good for them. I’m wondering about this emphasis on the five-minute install. After all, their own Web site says that this is for a default installation.

My problem is that I don’t have a default network. Do you? According to the Virtual Installation, after you finish that five-minute install, if you want to change the default settings, you launch a browser-based tool to change a host of parameters: IP addresses, security settings, and RAID settings, among others.

To me, that’s the heart of the matter. I couldn’t care less whether it takes me five minutes or 10 minutes to install a rack-mounted Snap Server. I want to know how hard it’s going to be to change the default settings to meet the needs of my particular network. If I were Quantum, I’d be talking about that. After all, that Web-based tool looks pretty cool.
Post a comment on this article and tell us what you think of Snap Server’s marketing emphasis. What’s more important to you: the ability to install the hardware or the ability to easily modify the default settings once you’re up and running? Let’s start the discussion!

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