Snap Servers seem to be very expensive for IDE disk capacity. A quick check revealed that a highly discounted 80GB Snap Server costs about US$1,200. It contains two 40 gig IDE drives. A much faster 80 gig SCSI Ultra 160 drive can be added to an existing SCSI string for less money than the IDE solution.
I have trouble visualizing 2 IDE drives, a $75 system board and a Linux or Free BSD OS installation being worth $1,200. I guess convenience is worth something.
I'd hate to require an Ethernet node for each 80 gig of storage on any of my client sites. Imagine a single Ultra 160 SCSI bus full of Seagate 180 GB drives. That's 2.7 TB / 80 GB = 34 Snap Servers for one full SCSI bus. Hmmmm.
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Well, if you consider the cost of having someone come in and setup a system like that, and the cost of maintaing the system it seems like a good deal. If you were running a business, I don't think spending $1,200 for something relatively maintenance free and reliable is a big issue.
Maintaining one string of SCSI drive is much less expensive than maintaining a string of 34 Ethernet Snap Servers, cables and Ethernet switch ports. An IDE drive (300,000 hrs MTBF) will fail on average 4 times for each SCSI drive failure (1,200,000 hrs MTBF). Don't forget to include the cost of a commercial quality Ethernet switch required for the Snap Servers. A Cisco Catalyst 2948G switch costs about $4200 discounted.
What you say makes sense for a tiny business. I just don't think the capacity and complexity of a Snap Server is worth it for only 80GB storage. Grade school kids build that much storage into the PCs they build with their summer allowances.
Linksys makes a few boxes like this that are less expensive. I have several businesses that wouldn't have a server at all if these were available a couple years ago. Basic file and print services aren't always required in large amounts. And the major benefit of these appliances I think is that they are free of licensing charges.