Disappearing cheap IBM SAN: the disty done it?

UPDATE: dStore says the the product's distributor is behind the disappearance of an ultra-cheap SAN from its site.

Imagine finding a whole, brand-new IBM SAN on sale at an "online department store" for just $11,136.35. That's just what SearchStorage ANZ found this afternoon (Monday, December 7th), thanks to Twitterer @M0les who spotted this IBM DS4700 Express Model 70 at dstore.com.au.

The DS 4700 is a serious bit of kit, boasting Fiber Channel, the chance to add another controller and the ability to host up to 112 drives.

But the appearance of the machine on dStore also raises some questions, as the site is billed as a store for consumers and not the kind of folks who buy iSCSI SANs. Indeed, the many nuances associated with installing a SAN make them a very unlikely candidate for retail sale!

SearchStorage ANZ has therefore asked IBM whether or not it is aware that dStore is selling its products and if the site is an authorised member of its channel.

We've also asked dStore how it does the maths to assert that the device is "61.83%" off its list price of  $29,173.50, given that a quick search of Staticice reveals other retailers selling the device for even less!

UPDATE: 6:15 PM MONDAY

IBM has responded to SearchStorage ANZ's inquiry and said, through a spokesperson, that the SAN appears to be a legitimate, supported, IBM product:

"As far as we can initially tell  - this discount  - and company - appears genuine," the spokesperson said. "We have no information on which distributor Dstore would have
gotten stock from. But pricing (looks like they are selling a bare chassis) appears to be ok.

dStore is yet to respond to our queries, but at this this one seems to be legitimate product, albeit one for which dStore's "discount" is based on a near-mythical list price than no-one ever pays and which other resellers are willing to undercut.

UPDATE: 9:00PM MONDAY

dStore has removed the IBM DS 4700 SAN from sale. The company's site now says the product is "Display Only - Pricing yet to be confirmed."

SearchStorage ANZ has no screenshot of the offer we mention above, but can tender this tweet from @M0les as evidence that the product was on sale for $11,136.35 earlier today.

For what it is worth, the site also (at the time of writing) offers IBM's EXP3000 at a 42% discount and the TS3100 LTO4 tape library listed at a claimed 53,98% discount, resulting in the $14,359 unit being offered for $7737.35 (see images below). At the time of writing, numerous other IBM storage products were on sale at the site.

SearchStorage ANZ will continue to seek comment from dStore about the provenance of these devices and whether or not they are sold with IBM's blessing. We will also ask IBM if it is aware how dStore has come to be reselling these high-end products.

UPDATE: Noon Tuesday

dStore has explained why the IBM DS4700 we spotted yesterday no longer has a price.

A spokesperson for the site explained that "we put up full catalog feeds" provided by distributors. Any change to the status of a product is threfore the result of a distributor changing the status of a product in its catalog.

The spokesperson said that when items are displayed without a price it may be "out of stock ... in a transitional period ... in picking or something has not been confirmed."

dStore says confidentiality agreements prevent it from naming the distributor of this product.

SearchStorage ANZ therefore has three theories:

  1. A reader (or readers) saw the sensational price and cleaned dStore out! (If this was you, let us know!)
  2. The distributor panicked when they saw this story and changed the status of the product
  3. IBM got grumpy with the distributor and asked them to pull the product from dStore

We're still awaiting news of whether or not IBM is happy for these products to be sold in this way, or whether the company will support products sold in this way.

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