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Shared Storage working with Catalina OS - Fair Practices

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Jim Robertson
Shared Storage working with Catalina OS - Fair Practices
on Oct 15, 2019 at 4:21:51 pm

Hi Everyone I'm new to the forum and usually just do my work and don't complain much. However, recently with the Catalina OS update, I have come across an issue I wanted to run by people that have shared storage solutions. I am interested in how everyone else feels about the situation I am currently dealing with.

In July 2016 I purchased a 16 Bay - 64TB shared storage system. I paid around $30,000 for the package.

I am now being told by the company I purchased it from that in just after three years, in order for this equipment to work with my pro video software and macOS Catalina I will need an upgrade to the firmware on the server and the software for easy sharing. (I don't plan on upgrading yet but am investigating what does this mean to me).

I was told that the upgrade requires a newer kernel, meaning the entire operating system is essentially rewritten, and it was written around newer hardware. While it is possible to update the 2016 system, the hardware in place would require that the upgrade be performed after the server is reset (reformatted), meaning all content would need to be staged elsewhere and then restored after the upgrade.

I have about 50TB of media on my system so I will already have to rent some external storage to move all of it off. This process will probably give my company at least a week of downtime just for the offload, upgrade, and restore. ok, I can deal with that.

I am then being told that in order to give me this upgrade to ensure I can use this equipment with the latest MacOS software I will have to pay the server company another $3500 at least for an annual support package.

This is where I have an issue. I am a very small company. One person in fact. I bring in freelance editors and graphic designers as I have projects for them. They also bring in their computers to run on my shared storage.

In 2016 I decided how great it would be to purchase a shared storage system so I wouldn’t have to keep swapping external drives around the room. After looking and even trying several systems I was convinced that this was the way to go.

I asked at the time will this equipment work for the next 10 years because that is the only way I can see spending $30,000. I was assured by their representatives at the time I was buying into a system that will last and be able to keep up with the future. I was never told that in three years they will ask for more money to keep the same equipment working with the latest software and by the way, you will have to delete everything off your server and then restore it back to accomplish this.

So, I believed them and felt amortizing this purchase over an 8-10 year period is worth it.

So what does this mean to me? Well, it now means if I don’t pay their company this money, not only will I never be able to upgrade my software on any of my machines or the freelancers’ machines they bring in, but I also will never be able to purchase a new MacPro that will work with this server. Any new computer will already be running Catalina and the $30,000 server I bought will be extinct.

I am also really appalled at the fact that the quote they sent me says I cannot even pay by credit card if I choose to even do it. Companies like mine do not have $3500 sitting around. I am just getting over the burden of the cost of the server itself.

I feel the fact that my shared storage will not work with Catalina OS is not my issue, but theirs. I NEVER would have bought into a system or any shared storage solution if I knew I would be asked every few years for another $3500 - $5,000 dollar payment just for the courtesy to have my equipment work with their system. I get it if we're talking 8-10 years but we’re talking just at 3 years. Catalina OS works with 2012 computers and up. This unit was in 2016.

I am not looking for the bells and whistles I am only asking my server work with the latest Mac OS and the Pro Video tools I use as they advertised. Just 3 years of use for 30k does not seem fair to me at all. What a terrible investment.

The fact they rolled some features into the upgrade to work with Catalina OS should not be on me or any consumer.

The fact that I have to shut down editing for at least a week (because of the extreme destructible nature of the upgrade)and it will cost me thousands of dollars in editing fees is crazy to me. I am also risking more harm to my clients' media during the transfers.

If I were told in 2016 that I only have three years before all of this would happen, I never would have purchased the system. I believe the company has a responsibility to understand their customers' needs and know let us know what we were really getting into when you buy shared storage.

So there you have it. Before I drive myself mad I wanted to share with the community and see what the consensus is on this type of gauging. Is it gauging? Am I wrong here? what side of this am I not seeing? I would suspect that everyone that has shared storage bought since 2013 and up is going to be dealing with this issue. Do we let these companies just go on with this type of practice?

Thanks for listening, (reading). I look forward to your comments.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Shared Storage working with Catalina OS - Fair Practices
on Oct 19, 2019 at 6:56:56 pm

Hi Jim -
you made the decision to purchase a $30,000 system. The American based professional companies need to stay in business, and make a living. Do you make editorial changes for your clients for free, even though you charge them a lot of money for your editorial services ? I bet you do !

SO, what you are witnessing is why so many people buy Chinese based shared storage systems today from companies like QNAP and Synology. They don't cost $30,000 - they cost $3,000. And there are no maintenance contracts, no comments of "well, you can't use Catalina until you pay us more money". It's just free.

NOW - with your $30,000 purchase, I bet in those 3 years, this company gave you GREAT support. You had an issue, you called, and they helped you. Do you want them to work for you for free for the next 7 years, while you continue to make money using their product, so that YOU can make big profits ? Well - the Chinese companies do exactly this. Want an update - it's free. Want great phone support when you have an issue - well, not so great (unless you call a moron like me - who IS going to charge you when you have a problem).

All electronics purchases are terrible investments. The days of keeping an Arri film camera for your entire career - well, that is over. What are you going to do with a Sony HD Camera system now ? What are you going to do with a Quantel Harry or Henry now. What are you going to do with a REAL ORIGINAL $400,000 Davinci Resolve system now ? What are you going to do with a Sony HD Cam VTR now ?

So all of a sudden, you say "ok, I will spend $3000 for a QNAP, and if it lasts 3 - 4 years, well - I get my money out of it". And thats why people buy systems like these today.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Jim Robertson
Re: Shared Storage working with Catalina OS - Fair Practices
on Oct 19, 2019 at 9:17:10 pm

Hi Bob, Thanks for the response.

Actually I only got their phone support for the 1st year which I did not even use. In the 2nd and 3rd years, I use the Lifetime basic support (purchased with the server) which allows doing everything remotely by chat. I thought that meant also giving us firmware updates. I have tons of equipment and I have never paid for a firmware update.

I have had two issues at that time and their support could not even fix that. So it's funny that they want me to buy the new support to do this when they can't solve the issues I have now. I developed my own workarounds to deal with those issues. It doesn't make me feel confident at all.

And if I buy this support it only lasts a year for 3500 dollars and I probably will only use it for the upgrade. will they try and charge me every year?
I was never told that in order to keep this running I will have to buy into their phone support each year and again, I don't need that.

And yes depending on clients' needs. I will make editorial changes for free. its a case by case decision but if a client that has supported me needs my help I give it.

I don't expect this server to work forever but 3 years c'mon, they're being a little greedy here. Remember not only do they want me to pay but they say to do it, I have to take all of my footage off the system and then put it back on to accomplish this. That is the definition of a firmware update to me.

I appreciate your comments but I do not see your point except I never should have bought it in the first place.

I paid 30K so it would last me for 8-10 years and i did ask that question at the time.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Shared Storage working with Catalina OS - Fair Practices
on Oct 19, 2019 at 9:39:19 pm

Hi Jim -
I don't know what you want me to say at this point. All American and Western European manufacturers do this. Did you ever deal with AVID ? They won't even answer the phone for you to negotiate with them, unless you have a paid valid support contract. It's all these companies.

In 2015, I started to deal with QNAP, because they were dirt cheap, and had no support contracts. I make money from doing installation and support (I do support for free after the initial installation on that hardware only) - so companies like QNAP, Synology and Netgear work out for me. But I know the drill. You, myself, and pretty much everyone else that is reading this, had to pay medical insurance, auto insurance, mortgage, etc. and we need to make regular money. I have NO IDEA of how QNAP and Synology can produce systems so cheaply. And as other manufacturers in the US and Western Europe will quickly point out - these manufacturers have great support - and the Chinese manufacturers do NOT have great support (unless you use some idiot like me, who is always available). So I got involved with these Chinese companies. Their stuff is cheap, I get to do a lot of installs, and no one really cares if their 5 year old system is starting to fall apart.
And as you have now seen, your super expensive system is starting to have issues, and the US/Euro company wants money. What do you want me to say.
I can appreciate you want a place to vent, and get some response, but all the US and European companies do this. When you say "I get free upgrades in firmware" - you are talking about AJA, Blackmagic, etc. Adobe does not give you free upgrades. AVID does not give you free upgrades.
And the worst offender of all - APPLE - well, they just decide one day "your computer is just too old, and there are NO upgrades for any price - and you just have to buy a new Apple computer".
Same thing with repairs. If you have a Mac Pro that you purchased in 2013, and it has a dead power supply - unless you go to unauthorized repair - that Mac Pro is going into the garbage. Apple is not going to help you.

I feel for your situation, but there is nothing you can do about it. Next round, buy a QNAP or a Synology (and Promax has a new Mediahub which is only $2000 - and you add your own Thunderbolt RAID array). So - lets take that last example. You buy a ProMax Mediahub (nice product) and you add a Promise R8 thunderbolt array onto it. Do you think that Promise is going to be responsive to you ?

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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