Pricing clarification please
I am confused about this upgrade and the pricing detailed here.
I currently have an OWC device which uses SoftRAID XT. The device is no longer under warranty. I have already upgraded to Ventura.
The article suggests that I will always have full read and write access to my data - but for full management and monitoring, I will need some form of licence. What is the difference between full read & write access and full management & monitoring? Will Softraid 7 support both of these?
Then there is a note to the effect that licences are perpetual - but there is also reference to an annual fee to remain enrolled.
Lastly, I bought the OWC device on the understanding that it is a working device and would continue to work until the hardware eventually fails. Whilst I understand that SoftRAID is a separate company to OWC, surely payment and support is between OWC and SoftRAID and costs should not be passed on to the consumer. This feels like a ransomware scam - I have to pay to retain access to my data. I would be very reluctant to buy OWC products in future if there are further hidden costs.
Interested to hear the thoughts of others and of SoftRAID and OWC.
Please also provide clarification on my questions.
SoftRAID is a 100% owned subsidiary of OWC, since 2014.
I am sorry if messaging is confusing.
SoftRAID XT is included with OWC enclosures. As long as the enclosure is under warranty, all upgrades, support, updates are no charge. (3 years with drives, one year without drives)
When you purchase SoftRAID, there is a 1 year free upgrade policy also, which includes support.
Your license is a perpetual license, as long as you do not upgrade the license past the next MacOS cycle. I understand most users will upgrade MacOS annually, but about 15-20% do not. Support expires after warranty expires in any case.
Forum assistance will continue to be available.
Your data is not "held hostage" as while SoftRAID may go out of date, the driver will not. You will not be able to manage your volumes, but the volumes will continue to mount and work normally.
Hope this helps.
The messaging on this is all over the place
I sent a support ticket to make sure that if I purchase a new Thunderbay Mini 4, I will get SoftRAID XT and 3 years of included upgrades.
This was the reply:
"Thank you for contacting OWC today, We will cover support of SR 6 for any update of it but that 3 year warranty only covers the hardware side of things not software."
Thanks for the reply, @softraid-support
I still don't think it's fair. I suppose that is one of the disadvantages of a software raid. I wish I had known this when I initially bought the device. You should at least offer it at a better price to people with an OWC enclosure.
The solution for me is that, when my OWC stops working, I will not replace it with another OWC product. As far as I know, Synology and others have a model without hidden costs.
Anyway, I will (RELUCTANTLY) probably still take out the "perpetual" licence when SoftRAID 7 is available and hope that it is actually perpetual - although the discussion suggests that it isn't.
Perpetual means your license does not expire, but it will when MacOS updates. At least currently, when such major engineering efforts are required each year to keep up with the changes. We have a team of several full time engineers just to manage this, far more than we can make by bundling the product.
Yes, some enclosures have less of this "cost", but they have their own disadvantages. And we still do support thunderbolt product going back to 2014 on Thunderbolt for example, while hardware manufactures consider it obsolete and call it a day.
Me again. I am feeling very bitter about OWC and SoftRAID's decision.
I checked a few websites in my country who sell the OWC Thunderbay. I also checked amazon.com. In all instances, the Thunderbay is advertised with wording such as "SoftRaid software is included. Exponentially faster rebuild times than hardware RAID" and "Includes SoftRAID: robust software for creating, monitoring, and managing advanced RAID sets RAID 4/5/1+0 (10) is available for Mac only at this time".
There is nothing to say that you will have to pay for SoftRaid in the future.
As I said, I am very bitter and I believe that OWC has been very underhanded here. In addition to never buying OWC again, I plan on exposing this widely. I don't do business like this - and I am surprised that you do.
This is being straightened out with Customer Service. Yes, the warranty includes all SoftRAID updates during the warranty period, in addition to full tech support on all hardware and Software issues.
this is not an accurate picture.
When you purchase a car, for example, do you expect all the new software services to be free for life? Even cars now charge for software after a year, sometimes two years. My latest car has a dozen "software services". I can choose to buy them or not. The car runs without them, but many features expire, including navigation, traffic alerts, emergency services, etc.
When you purchase a product, under warranty, you expect the manufacturer to support your product fully. But maintaining a product, with expensive upgrades, after the warranty expires? While we did this for many years, it is no longer possible to do so. MacOS is undergoing radical changes every year. It is very expensive in engineering terms to support the programming, debugging, etc, to maintain product quality.
Its your choice whether to continue to purchase our products, we hope you do, but to expect free upgrades after the warranty expires is not sustainable, especially considering the changes going on in MacOS. We did this for 7 years with SoftRAID 5. It was not sustainable.
When you have a problem, you want to be able to contact us and talk on the phone, get email responses from real people, not robots. that is not "free".
Look at companies like Drobo. Bankrupt. Is that what you prefer? Your enclosure is 100% usable, you can convert to the free "Apple RAID", which has no support whatsoever.
Comparing a car to a computing device is not a fair comparison. You are told upfront that your car will have service expenses in the future.
It would be better to compare it to my Apple iMac. I buy the iMac and Apple provides free OS updates for the life of the device. And when any software does require additional expenses, I am told about them upfront.
All I am saying is that, if there are additional expenses to owning an OWC device, they should be disclosed in advance. Then I could make an informed decision on whether I want to proceed with the purchase. One of the features that I wanted when I bought the enclosure is to replace a failed drive effortlessly - I even have a spare drive in my cupboard for the purpose for when one fails.
I also feel that to use the word “perpetual” is also misleading as it is not that at all.
Anyway, you will see in the coming days that I am not the only unhappy one. I note that there were already unhappy people when 6 was released as a a paid upgrade - somehow I escaped that fee - probably was still under warranty then.
I recommend that you bump this up to OWC as well as complaints are going to go there too.
Still not happy and you are not going to change my mind. As I said, I will reluctantly upgrade. But that will likely be the last money you ever see from me.
Thanks for the responses. Please just put this conversation in the right place so others can get the context.
I think one issue is that the end-user does not know what is happening 'under the hood' with SoftRAID that necessitates two major revisions (and associated fees) in 2 years.
The last OS with the move to Apple Silicon was a very clear and huge change. But this year? As far as end-users can tell, Ventura is the equivalent of a point-upgrade.
We are also now facing the unknown of future upgrades. In the blog post, both support and upgrades are kept hand-in-hand when describing the new fee model.
I think an explanation as to why Ventura necessitated a version update, a best-guess on the future since the engineers can see the changes and estimate where things are headed and an explanation of what the fees are going to (maybe splitting upgrades from support?) would help in making the situation more clear.