Data centers saving money with open source hardware

The savings from running a disk array based on open source aren’t in the sales price, but in the extras you don’t pay for.

We all know how you can save money buying open source software.

Did you know you can also save money on open source hardware?

A Sunnyvale outfit called Open Source Storage Corp.  has been doing this for five years. CEO and founder Eren Niazi  recently debuted a 64 GB server using AMD Opteron chips, dubbed the RS 64. (Niazi’s a busy fellow. He also runs an auction site called WhaBAM!).

The savings from running a disk array based on open source aren’t in the sales price, but in the extras you don’t pay for, he says. "We can do kernel work, load the operating system, and offer a three-year warrantee" for OSS’ base price. "Other companies really nickel-and-dime you." His systems have Level 2 certification from Sun, and his programmers use a blend of Solaris, Linux and FreeBSD.

Niazi says he gets a lot of customers through performance tests. "We then let them do benchmarking here – let them see the performance they will get for maximum value."

But what really makes OSS really open source is that the company lets you know everything going inside its box. "Other companies are adding array cards, they don’t tell you who makes them. They want to keep their hardware proprietary to keep margins higher. They say margins are small, but they have a lot of overhead. With OSS you are getting a cost-effective solution."

Oh, and those 50% savings? Just for servers. For raw storage, he claims, it’s 60%.