Ten’s Complement, a company that was quietly bringing ZFS for MacOSX to the level competitive with other platforms, finally announced their product. It’s called ZEVO and comes at 4 different price points, each with a different set of technological limitations. The basic edition offers only metadata redundancy, limits the pool size to 3TB and costs $30. The most advance edition offers all the ZFS bells and whistles, includes GUI admin interface but limits the pool size to 20TB. The price for the latter has not been announced, but it would probably be in $150 range.
I’m a not an expert in marketing, but for me their strategy seems flawed. It seems to me that the silver (basic) and gold (the next after basic) packages are for people who wants to get a bit more reliability from their file system, but do not have much data to deal with. If I were in that category, (and, I was in that category 6 months ago) I would say that a backup drive and TimeMachine is good enough for me. ZFS is not a replacement for a good backup anyway and I’d be concerned spending more money for an add-on to the OS than I’m spending for the whole OS. So, Ten’s Complement would have to make a lot of effort to convince people to buy into this. And the price entry is steep for what ZEVO offers.
The other two packages are for people with larger data collections. These people already know about ZFS and it’s advantages. There is no need to convince them. But these guys are the demanding lot, they know what ZFS specs offer and what ZFS offers on other platforms. Limiting the storage size to 16 and 20T seems like an artificial bar that would alienate them. I’m not even talking about that this limit is lower than what some of those potential customers already have in their servers. I have 15TB disk space on 6 drives, so I’m pushing that limit. If I were to upgrade to 4TB drives, I’d be well beyond the top limit.
ZEVO is not for sale yet: it is listed as “available in early 2012”. If I were buying it now, I would have to go for the platinum package, but they have not announced the price for it. For now the free MacZFS option seems much more attractive.