Mark Hodgkinson, computer systems manager at the British Marine Industries Federation, was appalled to find that he faced a support charge for the company's Arcserve products that was seven and a half times the cost of a software licence.
Hodgkinson said, "I asked how much a support contract for Arcserve 6.1or 6.6 is, as my initial 90 day free support with [Computer Associates] had dried up. The answer was to my astonishment, '£3,750 Sir'. Obviously this is a ridiculous amount to charge for supporting my two copies of Arcserve which have cost me approximately £500 each."
Hodgkinson, who is now talking to an alternative solutions provider, said he represents an average company of 50 users with a mixed environment including Netware 4.11, NT4 Server, SCO Openserver 5.5, Exchange 5.5 and SQL 7.
After recovering from his initial shock, Hodgkinson asked if there were other support options available to him, only to be told that he could either purchase the same product again to be eligible for an extra 90 days support, or purchase an upgrade or look for a reseller.
Hodgkinson said this was "equally absurd", adding, "Will CAI ever listen? There are thousands of IT managers like myself who need to support Arcserve and are insulted by CAI's support charges. My recommendation to them is to purchase Backup Exec from a company that cares about after sales service or purchase an upgrade or look for a reseller."
In response, Dave Bull, channel marketing director of CAI Europe, admitted that the company had identified the problem highlighted by Hodgkinson and were working on a remedy. "I can see the flaw and we are working to introduce some additional support packages at this end. We are working on per incident packages and that sort of thing," said Bull.