Author Topic: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID  (Read 57896 times)

Offline nostradamus99

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2012, 08:34:40 am »
And also, there is the problem of that single point of failure. I am thinking of this Brahim guy. Anything can happen to him. Maybe tomorrow he crosses the street and Megan Fox sees him (make that Johnny Depp if he is so inclined), she falls in a major crush and have Brahim "occupied" 24/7 for months on end! what will happen then to my huge $100 investment?
Dude you're reaching...  :)

I also own a copy of Syncback, bought the license years ago and I've been allowed every update they've put out since so true money for value.
If Brahim does the same then yes I think I'll buy a license for Snapshot Raid..it is that simple if that allows him the time to fix bugs and make it a better product then by all means go ahead.

I won't buy a license if I have to re-buy it next year...There are too much yearly and monthly bills already and the economy lays in the gutter as we speak.
Just how long will the sale price last and is this price for everybody or just the beta users..(or do beta users receive an extra special price  :P )
MediaTank: Intel E6300 Core2Duo, 6 GB RAM with Windows 2008 R2, FlexRaid t2+ engine, RAID-F 2.0 u12 with 4 DRU's and 2x2TB PPU's so far

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #31 on: March 02, 2012, 11:09:45 am »
@pko
The prices are set. Better take advantage of the current discounts. ;D

With with Windows 8 with Storage Spaces fast approaching, what are the befits of Flexraid over Storage Spaces? It seems Storage Spaces can do everything Flexraid can and its integrated into Windows. Now that I have to buy Flexriad I need you to sell it to me too.  ;D

I would also like to say thanks for this great piece of software and all the hard that was put into it.
1. Windows 8 will never do what RAID-F is doing.
2. I would be more worried about NZFS coming out and wanting it after buying FlexRAID. ;D
NZFS will put Storage Spaces to shame. ;)

Plus think of the data your are keeping safe now till that next new thing is out.

Offline 454redhawk

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2012, 11:17:03 am »
So.....Where do I make the purchase?

Offline Kirky

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2012, 12:08:09 pm »
So.....Where do I make the purchase?
Aye, inquiring minds need to know...

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2012, 01:19:48 pm »
So.....Where do I make the purchase?

Give me till next week to set something up.
Clearly, the whole thing came as a spur. Now I need to figure out the logistics.  :-[
I should have something setup by the weekend after next (weekend of March 9th).

Offline A88337CDBC00C3A2

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2012, 03:27:56 pm »
I am just throwin out my 2 cents in case it may find itself useful.

I am at odds with the 3 drive eval vs time limited eval. TBH if I wasn't already using FR I don't know that I would get on board using it if I had stumbled upon it post commercialization (assuming 3 drive limit). My data is indeed very important to me, so if I can't give a product that is protecting my data a very solid test and obtain my intended end result, then I would move on. I realize this is probably very specific to me, but just wanted to offer my thoughts. The fact that I have my configuration running rock solid and seriously exactly how I have always wanted it, is what will make me pay you the asking price with a big smile on my face. I am more than happy to do it because I have FR configured correctly (granted after lots of pain and learning, but it was worth it) and have had plenty of time to work out any issues. Now that I am here at this point I couldn't be happier and I am constantly recommending FR to all of my geek storage friends. So basically what I am getting at is that I think it would be best for someone that is more like myself to be able to wholly and fully evaluate the software without limitations on my intended hardware setup without restrictions. I am hard pressed to shell out any money if what I am paying for will fall short of what I need the end result to be. So imo as long as someone is able to do that without too much pain and restriction, then I am all for it. I love to see quality projects like this grow and have the hard work that you guys put in see some compensation, especially if it allows you to work on it full-time. I think it is a great move on your part and I will do whatever I can to bring people on board so long as the product continues to be awesome. Best of luck and thanks very much for putting in all the time and effort that you have thus far, FR is a great product, 2 thumbs up. :)

*EDIT - made some spelling corrections and added a little more clarity to some things I wrote.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 03:33:35 pm by A88337CDBC00C3A2 »

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2012, 04:24:10 pm »
@A88337CDBC00C3A2
Points taken. Very valid points in fact.
I will make the trial version time limited instead of feature limited. :)

Offline silentcossack

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2012, 04:31:56 pm »
Brahim, just wanted to say thank you for your effort. I agree 100% that you deserve compensation, but having a free product for years, it will not be easy for you to make the transition. I read all the giant posts, but from purely a business point of view I feel that you don't yet have your target audience nailed down very well, and some market research will help. This will help you set the price as well.

I ended up going with Drive Bender + SnapRaid for a total cost of $40. I use windows, so that works 100% for me. Their support is very good, which is why I went with them (not specific features or bug counts or anything like that, support and the overall experience). Snapraid is free and seems to be doing great parity work.

Though FlexRaid is great, I personally do not think it is retail ready. A lot of people are still confused why iPhone is beating the rest of the world. OMG, my phone has so much more ram and it can last 2 days and it has a bigger screen, etc. None of those other companies figured out that this day and age it's not the specs that matter, but the overall user experience. Apple has a great experience with their hardware + software+ support+ look/feel + services like iTunes, etc. The whole "experience" is what attracts users. Now I understand this is a more specialized piece of software with a very different end user, but the experience matters. The fact that there are still some very important bugs with workarounds in the forums (not a good experience) or missing features, like being able to authenticate on the web page interface (giant security hole)., etc. You are not far from reaching a final product, but this initial price tag plus all the remaining issues are not attractive, and will make the transition tougher.

I really hope to be proven wrong. I did sense this coming (as I kept asking in the other forum, whether this will remain a free product after beta). All the best luck to you and I will definitely come back to the forums to see how things are going.

Cheers,
Tim

Offline webs0r

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #38 on: March 02, 2012, 06:30:34 pm »
Congrats Brahim on making such a big decision!

My question is about the current version of FlexRAID - will the expiry date be lifted?

I have no issues with the plans nor pricing, but I do want something that is functional, quick and easy...

I'm a bit wary of any new release as it always entails a huge amount of time and effort from both you to fix and me to first convince you of the issues and then test builds. I would prefer to see a growing happy user base before I switch over. But the current build I'm running expires March 22...
FlexRAID expert/snapshot RAID/Storage Pool mode
Windows Server 2008 R2, 23 TB pool, Array1: 3TB redundancy, Array 2: 4TB redundancy, 11 drives total

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #39 on: March 02, 2012, 08:47:40 pm »
@silentcossack
It is whatever floats your boat.
By your own story, Apple is the most successful, but not everybody owns an iPhone too (it cuts both ways).
FlexRAID is not priced for the most frugal of the bunch.
You could have saved those $40 and gone with 100% free alternatives, and it still would make zero difference with the direction I am taking for FlexRAID. ;)

@webs0r
I see your point with not having to regression test a new release.
Let's wait to see how much changes are happening to the next release.

Offline A88337CDBC00C3A2

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #40 on: March 02, 2012, 10:12:02 pm »
Brahim,

I really like the attitude you have approaching this decision. Props to you man, keep up that enthusiasm and straight forward goal.  There will always be people who try to get in your way, don't take their crap. You the man!

Offline Bazinga

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #41 on: March 02, 2012, 10:59:28 pm »
I've been using FlexRaid for a while now. Played with it, liked it and use it. I've had hardware RAIDs before, I used NAS, I played around with setting up software RAIDs. I looked into unRAID long and hard, but I just didn't like the idea of being locked into OS + software RAID tool. Then I discovered FlexRAID.

Here are couple of points I want to bring up.

1. Being user friendly.
This is huge. If you want a growing/happy user base (and I think you can get there), you would need to make sure that everything is very user friendly. V2 was huge step forward. However, there is still a lot to do in my opinion. Here are few things I thought about:
  • Documentation. A good one. Tutorials. In laymen terminology. When you pay for software you don't expect to search through forums to figure out little details.
  • Maybe UI should be changed in a way that would make it dead simple to use by non-technical users? I've been advocating on some photography/HTPC forums against hardware RAIDS/NAS and was mentioning FlexRaid. For non-technical people the ease of use (Apple vs Google argument few posts back) will be paramount. And I think this market is something that you want to target - people who know the value of their data, but who are not technical. unRaid for me was just too involved (and I'm a software engineer / architect) - I just couldn't be bothered to figure out all the intricacies of that and rely on some strip down version of OS that requires a lot of time/effort to support.
  • I think FR is at advantage here, because other options (unRaid, SnapRaid) were developed for geeks - command line, Linux, etc. Most people who would actually pay for a data protection software will run Windows, because it just works. FR having UI is a very good thing.

2. People need reliable software. Especially for data protection. And by that I mean not only technically reliable, but something that they know will be there in few years. Someone was making a point that $100 is too much. Maybe for teens or students or someone with a lot of time on their hands (the good old argument of free software and time costing nothing). For people who value their time the most important thing is to know that the company/software/service will be there long term, so they don't need to waste (possibly huge) resources/time for converting down the road.
  • What happens if you're out of the picture? This is a fair concern since FlexRaid/NZFS is a one man shop.
  • What happens if you sell some number of licenses and not happy about the progress and decide to drop it?
  • Are you ready to provide timely and efficient support? Forums might be ok for some people, while others will need more hand holding.
  • Are you ready to not disappear for extended periods of time? Crap that unRaid author pulls on people who paid to him made me steer away from that solution.

3. You might need to have a very clear list of benefits that FR offers to make it clear in few brief seconds. And not really things like RAIDÔł× in the first few spots - most non-technical users will not understand that right away.

Maybe I bring non-technical users too much here since I don't know your target audience. But to me that group of people seems like the most important one. They are left in the dark, with all solutions geared for geeks. They don't know where to start. They just need to protect their home videos/photos of family/tax documents/etc. They run Windows. Well, some of them actually start running OSX. And they will pay if they see a lot of positive feedback from their friends and they see how easy it is to use the system.

Anyway, this is already too chatty. Good luck with the launch!

P.S. Seems like I was a bit out of touch with the progress. I just saw new WIKI which has a lot of information. Very nice!
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 11:32:23 pm by Bazinga »

Offline long2know

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2012, 02:34:10 am »
Does this mean the beta I've been using for months, and does what I want, will suddenly expire and be unusable?

Offline tonym

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2012, 04:42:17 am »
I understand your rationale for charging for RAID-F (FlexRaid), and broadly support this...

But you haven't said whether your proposed charges are annual or one-off (lifetime)? I will certainly buy if one-off; doubtful if annual. And if annual, could one buy and continue to use after the license has expired - albeit without support?

I also have concerns about committing valuable data to a product whose support is dependent upon one individual; have you considered putting the code into Escrow and making arrangements for backup support?

With your primary focus being on developing NZFS, how much time will you have left to devote to enhancing RAID-F? It needs a good user guide. And could do with a few more features (such as automated S.M.A.R.T. diagnosis to forewarn of possible disk failure)

And thanks for all the effort you've put in so far


Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2012, 09:35:28 am »
@tonym

1. As nostradamus99 noted, some of you are making a big deal out of nothing.
FlexRAID as an enterprise is less likely to fail compared to most other businesses out there due to the minimal overhead in running it.
Small companies with staff to pay and investors waiting for returns (hum, DB and others  :-X ) are the ones you have to worry about.
Small companies tend to close door when something happens to one of the principal owners/investors regardless of how well staffed the company is.
So, worrying about what might happen to the project based on what might happen to me is a moot point. I could be hiring 20 people right now and the same fate would apply.

2. RAID-F is being licensed on a perpetual non-transferable basis (so, no worrying about re-occurring bills :) )