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Is DrivePool abandoned software?

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Best Answer Christopher (Drashna) , 11 February 2017 - 01:30 AM

As a paying customer, i'm concerned by the complete lack of release stable updates over this extended period.The latest stable version 2.1.1.561 which was released eons ago. I know there have been some subsequent betas into the 2.2.x range but as we all know, that means nothing if nothing actually gets released in some form of a reasonable time frame. If this software has been abandoned, please let us know so we can migrate to other solutions as no one in their right mind should be using software that doesn't receive at least semi-regular updates.

 

No response to this post would also be worrying as it would indicate a lack of attention and concern on the forum and in-turn the software itself.

 

That is absolutely understandable.  I wouldn't want to pay for software that is being abandoned either.

 

That said, we have ABSOLUTELY NO INTENTION OF ABANDONING ANY OF OUR SOFTWARE. 

 

We do apologize for the extreme delay in releases here.  Unfortunately, this is heavily due to StableBit cloudDrive being signfiicantly more complex than we anticipated (the initial public beta was build 240, we're on 834....).   Additionally, we are a small company, and Alex is the only developer at this point.  

 

So for the most part, his effort has been focused on StableBit CloudDrive.  This means that StableBit DrivePool and StableBit Scanner have suffered, in that they haven't gotten much attention (bug fixes). 

 

We know that this isn't good for us or our products, and it leaves things in ... well, a mess.  

 

Once StableBit CloudDrive has a stable release, things will "get better".  After this happens, Alex plans on going through all of the pending issues for both products, and then pushing a public beta and then stable release for those products. 

After that, we have plans on streamlining the development and testing process so that we can have periodic "scheduled" public releases, that are not dependant on Alex's workflow.  So that this never happens again. 

 

And trust me, we are not happy about how things have progressed ourselves... but drastically changing this right now isn't good either, as it could significantly delay a release for StableBit CloudDrive, and it's already been in beta "too long" for us. 

 

 

Additionally, the internal beta builds are very stable, and should be safe to use for production use (myself and many others do). 

 

Further, I have written a "known issues" post, that you can check to see if you want/need to upgrade to a beta build:

http://community.cov...nd-limitations/

 

I can see why people are getting nervous even drashna seems to only check in once or twice a week these days and the forum is very quite compared to what it used be

But the product does work it would be nice to see new versions complementing the operating systems as well as trying to take advantage of things like REFS which will replace NTFS and people's requests for the option to use parity and many other things as it's running the risk of being outdated.

 

Yeah, I apologize for that.  Between being swamped by the latest CloudDrive (Google Drive specific) issue, and personal issues (medical and mental stuff), I haven't checked the forums as much as I would like, or should. 

 

 

 

@Spider99, not ignoring you, but I've already referenced/answered what you've said above. 

 

One thing I would suggest is Alex needs a better pricing structure free updates for life is never going to work from a business point of view he needs money to be able to continue to develop the software he needs to adopt a similar pricing structure to other programs in the same category like ihomeserver and lights out you get 1 year of free updates after that you pay a small fee to extend if you want to then every now and then you pay full for the new improved version. As they say money does not grow on trees not yet anyway.

 

This is something that Alex and I have talked about at length, and repeatedly.   

 

So it's something that is DEFINITELY on our minds.  As well, it should be. 

 

There are a number of "solutions" here that we can implement to ensure that we remain afloat.  

  • Time/version limited licenses (as you've mentioned).
  • Releasing new products periodically to keep revenue up (we have several additional products/services planned already)
  • Release a subscription based product (service), for reliable income.
  • Switch to paid support solutions

 

Each one of these options has their pros and cons, and none are mutually exclusive (we could do all of the above).   These are all options that we've discussed internally, and at length.  

 

To be honest, neither Alex nor I are found of the "time/version limited licenses", and prefer to stick to a lifetime license solution. It's a much better experience for users, as it produces less confusion.  And basically it's too late to switch our licensing scheme for existing products (or we'd have to grandfather everyone in).   

 

And as I said, we have several products planned for release already. StableBit CloudDrive is technically included in that, for now. But we have several other products/services planned. Specifically, StableBit FileVault, StableBit Cloud, StableBit PowerGrid and StableBit.me.   These are all additional products/services that will fit in neatly with our existing products, and should provide additional revenue for us.  You can read a bit about these here:

http://wiki.covecube...elopment_Status

 

(personally, I've been pushing hard for StableBit FileVault for a while now, as it may really address the "bitrot protection" feature that many people want)

 

 

As for ongoing revenue stream, services are .. well, the best option for that. A monthly or yearly payment means continuous revenue stream, as well as offset the price for such a service.  And that would likely be what StableBit Cloud is.  It would not (may not) be self hosted, but we hope that what it does offer would be more than worth it for those interested. 

 

 

 

And as for the paid support, this has been the topic that has been the most heavily debated.  To put this bluntly, even though this is what would directly affect me (paid support, means more money for me directly), I am very much opposed to this.  Other products (competitors) do implement this, and in some cases, I can absolutely understand why ...  I do not like (rather, I hate) the idea of a paywall between customers and good service.   Good tech support is something that should be part of the intrinsic price of the product, not a hidden cost. 

 

However, there are circumstances that I do agree would warrant that paywall.  Such as immediate support (within the hour), remote support to help set up things, etc. 

 

 

 

So, as you can see, this is something that is definitely "on our minds". And it does come up often.  
And this is by far not a complete list of potential actions we can take. It's just the primary ones that we've discussed. 

 

 

@anotherforumname:  I hope this assuages your fears about our software becoming abandonware. Both from an update standpoint, and from a financial one, as well. 

 

 

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask. 

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#1 anotherforumname

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 07:08 PM

As a paying customer, i'm concerned by the complete lack of release stable updates over this extended period.The latest stable version 2.1.1.561 which was released eons ago. I know there have been some subsequent betas into the 2.2.x range but as we all know, that means nothing if nothing actually gets released in some form of a reasonable time frame. If this software has been abandoned, please let us know so we can migrate to other solutions as no one in their right mind should be using software that doesn't receive at least semi-regular updates.

 

No response to this post would also be worrying as it would indicate a lack of attention and concern on the forum and in-turn the software itself.


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#2 Spider99

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 01:46 AM

The Betas are available for you to download - have you not tried them? They are stable even if not called that

 

yes most focus has been on cloud drive to the detriment of DP and Scanner - but the beta's have kept up with bug fixes and windows os changes

 

they keep saying they hope to release cloud drive soon - and one day that will happen and then focus can be applied to Dp and Scanner as several things need addressing

 

i get the feeling that CD should be out quite soon - cross fingers


Tim

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DrivePool & Scanner on 2012R2 Essentials Server Gigabyte Z87x OC Force, i7-4790S, 32 GB, LSI 9211, HP SAS Expander, 27 Storage disks, 6 SSD Cache, ~115 TB Storage


#3 lee1978

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 06:36 AM

I can see why people are getting nervous even drashna seems to only check in once or twice a week these days and the forum is very quite compared to what it used be

But the product does work it would be nice to see new versions complementing the operating systems as well as trying to take advantage of things like REFS which will replace NTFS and people's requests for the option to use parity and many other things as it's running the risk of being outdated.

One thing I would suggest is Alex needs a better pricing structure free updates for life is never going to work from a business point of view he needs money to be able to continue to develop the software he needs to adopt a similar pricing structure to other programs in the same category like ihomeserver and lights out you get 1 year of free updates after that you pay a small fee to extend if you want to then every now and then you pay full for the new improved version. As they say money does not grow on trees not yet anyway.

#4 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 01:30 AM   Best Answer

As a paying customer, i'm concerned by the complete lack of release stable updates over this extended period.The latest stable version 2.1.1.561 which was released eons ago. I know there have been some subsequent betas into the 2.2.x range but as we all know, that means nothing if nothing actually gets released in some form of a reasonable time frame. If this software has been abandoned, please let us know so we can migrate to other solutions as no one in their right mind should be using software that doesn't receive at least semi-regular updates.

 

No response to this post would also be worrying as it would indicate a lack of attention and concern on the forum and in-turn the software itself.

 

That is absolutely understandable.  I wouldn't want to pay for software that is being abandoned either.

 

That said, we have ABSOLUTELY NO INTENTION OF ABANDONING ANY OF OUR SOFTWARE. 

 

We do apologize for the extreme delay in releases here.  Unfortunately, this is heavily due to StableBit cloudDrive being signfiicantly more complex than we anticipated (the initial public beta was build 240, we're on 834....).   Additionally, we are a small company, and Alex is the only developer at this point.  

 

So for the most part, his effort has been focused on StableBit CloudDrive.  This means that StableBit DrivePool and StableBit Scanner have suffered, in that they haven't gotten much attention (bug fixes). 

 

We know that this isn't good for us or our products, and it leaves things in ... well, a mess.  

 

Once StableBit CloudDrive has a stable release, things will "get better".  After this happens, Alex plans on going through all of the pending issues for both products, and then pushing a public beta and then stable release for those products. 

After that, we have plans on streamlining the development and testing process so that we can have periodic "scheduled" public releases, that are not dependant on Alex's workflow.  So that this never happens again. 

 

And trust me, we are not happy about how things have progressed ourselves... but drastically changing this right now isn't good either, as it could significantly delay a release for StableBit CloudDrive, and it's already been in beta "too long" for us. 

 

 

Additionally, the internal beta builds are very stable, and should be safe to use for production use (myself and many others do). 

 

Further, I have written a "known issues" post, that you can check to see if you want/need to upgrade to a beta build:

http://community.cov...nd-limitations/

 

I can see why people are getting nervous even drashna seems to only check in once or twice a week these days and the forum is very quite compared to what it used be

But the product does work it would be nice to see new versions complementing the operating systems as well as trying to take advantage of things like REFS which will replace NTFS and people's requests for the option to use parity and many other things as it's running the risk of being outdated.

 

Yeah, I apologize for that.  Between being swamped by the latest CloudDrive (Google Drive specific) issue, and personal issues (medical and mental stuff), I haven't checked the forums as much as I would like, or should. 

 

 

 

@Spider99, not ignoring you, but I've already referenced/answered what you've said above. 

 

One thing I would suggest is Alex needs a better pricing structure free updates for life is never going to work from a business point of view he needs money to be able to continue to develop the software he needs to adopt a similar pricing structure to other programs in the same category like ihomeserver and lights out you get 1 year of free updates after that you pay a small fee to extend if you want to then every now and then you pay full for the new improved version. As they say money does not grow on trees not yet anyway.

 

This is something that Alex and I have talked about at length, and repeatedly.   

 

So it's something that is DEFINITELY on our minds.  As well, it should be. 

 

There are a number of "solutions" here that we can implement to ensure that we remain afloat.  

  • Time/version limited licenses (as you've mentioned).
  • Releasing new products periodically to keep revenue up (we have several additional products/services planned already)
  • Release a subscription based product (service), for reliable income.
  • Switch to paid support solutions

 

Each one of these options has their pros and cons, and none are mutually exclusive (we could do all of the above).   These are all options that we've discussed internally, and at length.  

 

To be honest, neither Alex nor I are found of the "time/version limited licenses", and prefer to stick to a lifetime license solution. It's a much better experience for users, as it produces less confusion.  And basically it's too late to switch our licensing scheme for existing products (or we'd have to grandfather everyone in).   

 

And as I said, we have several products planned for release already. StableBit CloudDrive is technically included in that, for now. But we have several other products/services planned. Specifically, StableBit FileVault, StableBit Cloud, StableBit PowerGrid and StableBit.me.   These are all additional products/services that will fit in neatly with our existing products, and should provide additional revenue for us.  You can read a bit about these here:

http://wiki.covecube...elopment_Status

 

(personally, I've been pushing hard for StableBit FileVault for a while now, as it may really address the "bitrot protection" feature that many people want)

 

 

As for ongoing revenue stream, services are .. well, the best option for that. A monthly or yearly payment means continuous revenue stream, as well as offset the price for such a service.  And that would likely be what StableBit Cloud is.  It would not (may not) be self hosted, but we hope that what it does offer would be more than worth it for those interested. 

 

 

 

And as for the paid support, this has been the topic that has been the most heavily debated.  To put this bluntly, even though this is what would directly affect me (paid support, means more money for me directly), I am very much opposed to this.  Other products (competitors) do implement this, and in some cases, I can absolutely understand why ...  I do not like (rather, I hate) the idea of a paywall between customers and good service.   Good tech support is something that should be part of the intrinsic price of the product, not a hidden cost. 

 

However, there are circumstances that I do agree would warrant that paywall.  Such as immediate support (within the hour), remote support to help set up things, etc. 

 

 

 

So, as you can see, this is something that is definitely "on our minds". And it does come up often.  
And this is by far not a complete list of potential actions we can take. It's just the primary ones that we've discussed. 

 

 

@anotherforumname:  I hope this assuages your fears about our software becoming abandonware. Both from an update standpoint, and from a financial one, as well. 

 

 

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask. 


Christopher Courtney

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#5 anotherforumname

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:15 AM

Thanks very much for the responses. I had a suspicion the reason might be the cloud software but I wasn't sure the kind of size team that was at work and so didn't know exactly what to expect in terms of dev deadlines. For now I'll be sticking with DrivePool and hopefully something will happen in 2017/18?

 

Alternatively I'll just use the scanner software with Windows storage spaces if things do go south. I do hope that you guys add in SSD compatability into the scanner software at some point as at the moment it doesn't seem to be able to read SMART info from e.g. Samsung 950 series SSD's.



#6 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:36 AM

For now I'll be sticking with DrivePool and hopefully something will happen in 2017/18?

 

Definitely 2017, and "very soon" hopefully. 

 

And yeah, our team is very small. 

 

 

As for the Samsung SSD, is this a NVMe SSD by chance? 


Christopher Courtney

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#7 anotherforumname

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:46 AM

Definitely 2017, and "very soon" hopefully. 

 

And yeah, our team is very small. 

 

 

As for the Samsung SSD, is this a NVMe SSD by chance? 

 

Good to hear.

 

Yes. All of the 950 and 960 series are NVMe. I usually put the OS/apps on the NVMe drive to leverage performance and dump the data on spinning platters.



#8 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 04:05 AM

:)

 

And as for the 950-960, that would be why. It's a different protocol, so it is likely passing on SMART very different.  I believe there is already a ticket for this, but basically this will require getting access to the hardware. 

 

Otherwise, test out the "DirectIO Test" utility: 

http://community.cov...bute-test-data/


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#9 herrbbiiee

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 08:55 PM

:)

 

And as for the 950-960, that would be why. It's a different protocol, so it is likely passing on SMART very different.  I believe there is already a ticket for this, but basically this will require getting access to the hardware. 

 

Otherwise, test out the "DirectIO Test" utility: 

http://community.cov...bute-test-data/

 

I'm new to stablebit - just downloaded a few days ago and getting familiar with the functionality. Reading this post has cast doubt on whether I should invest in the software.



#10 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 01:23 AM

I'm new to stablebit - just downloaded a few days ago and getting familiar with the functionality. Reading this post has cast doubt on whether I should invest in the software.

 

Well, if you read my response (link), you shouldn't worry. 

 

We have a stable release of StableBit CloudDrive, and we've been actively going through DrivePool bugs.   

 

Additionally, we should be going through StableBit Scanner issues as soon as we're done with that.   I'm personally upgrading to an NVMe based systems (Samsung 960), so we will have "hands on" and that will help with support.  

 

 

 

That said, we are a very small company, and have limited resources. But we specifically have plans in motion to help prevent this sort of long time between releases.  It won't happen again.  


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#11 Guynamedbilly

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 03:24 AM

I'm far from knowledgeable about how this all works, but a Patreon for a software development company would be an interesting experiment.  I've bought all your products so far, a couple of them more than once, and I'm very suprised at all you're doing, especially with one dev.  Keep up the good work



#12 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 09:40 PM

A Patreon isn't a bad idea.   

 

However, there is a problem with doing so.... the rewards.  At some point, it becomes more work to meet the demands for this, than the income generated by it.  And that can be a line that is easy to cross (especially for a software company). 

 

 

Better alternatives are services that require a subscription. And ironically, it can work out to be about the same (you pay a specific amount and get a specific set of features/rewards). 


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#13 typewriter

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 10:34 PM

I'd really prefer if drivepool would get more development time. The clouddrive is a nice idea but cloudstorage - in significant amounts - is expensive over time, and with standard dsl internet access uploads are slow anyway.

 

Drivapool is you best prodoct. Period.

 

There is one major drawback witb drivepool: Nobody knows about it.

 

It's stable, it's fast - but frankly you guys couldn't care less about promoting your great product.

 

I don't see any user cases, recommendations about hardware for more sata ports etc. on your homepage.

 

Maybe there is stuff like that hidden in the forum but who wants to read through everything.

 

Featurewise I only miss a read (SSD) cache, and a better gui: Having a clear(er) overview which folders are mirrored etc. would be very handy. Also some optical indication in the taskbar with tha availabe space within a pool.



#14 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:02 AM

I'd really prefer if drivepool would get more development time. The clouddrive is a nice idea but cloudstorage - in significant amounts - is expensive over time, and with standard dsl internet access uploads are slow anyway.

 

Drivapool is you best prodoct. Period.

 

There is one major drawback witb drivepool: Nobody knows about it.

 

It's stable, it's fast - but frankly you guys couldn't care less about promoting your great product.

 

I don't see any user cases, recommendations about hardware for more sata ports etc. on your homepage.

 

Maybe there is stuff like that hidden in the forum but who wants to read through everything.

 

Featurewise I only miss a read (SSD) cache, and a better gui: Having a clear(er) overview which folders are mirrored etc. would be very handy. Also some optical indication in the taskbar with tha availabe space within a pool.

 

it has been, actually.  If you check the download site, we've had a LOT of new builds recently.  Alex (the Developer) is hard at work, specifically to get a new, stable release out, and soon.  

http://dl.covecube.c...wnload/?C=N;O=D

 

And I disagree.  StableBit Scanner is the best product.  However, StableBit DrivePool is a VERY close second.  And the two together is absolutely fantastic. 

 

 

As for advertising, yeah.  we don't actively promote it all over the web.  Maybe we should.  

We do care about promoting it, though. 

 

As for user cases, I'm not sure what you mean here.  We do have a testimonials section for all three products.

As for recommendations about hardware, this is a tricky part.   Because to be blunt, all of the consumer grade stuff is shit.  Silicon Images, ASMedia, Marvell, JMicron, etc, all have various issues (stability, SMART reporting, port multiplier functionality, or the lack thereof).   And to be blunt, LSI cards are the best option here.  But they're expensive.  And not everyone wants to spend $100, when a $15 card is "good enough" for them. 

 

Additionally, any recommendation is an endorsement, especially if it's on the main page.  If somebody has issues with it, then it's on us.  Sure, we could add wording to ensure that we're not liable, but ... any issues still reflect poorly on us.  

 

And not everyone needs a controller card, as there are plenty of boards that support 6-8 drives without them.  And that may be enough for many people. 

 

 

So, for recommending hardware, I would rather deal with people one on one, to see what their needs and budget is, and then recommend according to that. 

 

 

As for an SSD Read cache, doing so would be difficult at best.  And unless the data is frequently accessed, it wouldn't make sense.  You'd have to read the drive from the "spinners" and then store them on the SSD.  And that would effectively negate the performance gains that you'd see. 

 

However, setting up file placement rules to manage this manually is an option, and one that may work well, depending on your setup. 

 

 

As for the overview, I'm not really sure how that could be cleaned up.  The current display for it is pretty clear and clean, as is:

http://stablebit.com...File Protection

(check the "Per folder file duplication" section). 

 

As for indicator, you mean the icon on the taskbar?  Much like how Windows displays the progress for file copies, and the like? 


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#15 JazzMan

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 09:20 PM

no one in their right mind should be using software that doesn't receive at least semi-regular updates.


I want to disagree with this. The measure of whether one should use software is whether it meets your use case and has no, or known, defects. I will agree that Stablebit needs to tighten up their beta cycle, how a beta can remain such for 1.5+ years is head scratching, but if the released product works, there is no need for feature creep for no reason. Also, new features mean new bugs. I would much rather see fixes to underlying bugs than have periodic face lifts. I still use Windows 7 because it works. I still use an old version of a Screen Print program because even after many Windows updates, it still uses API calls that Microsoft didn't mess with. Apparently (I'm not sure) DP is well enough written that Win 7/8/10 have caused little or no need for rewriting chunks of code and releasing a new version.

#16 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 02:52 AM

Well, for the development cycle, we didn't mean for things to "get like this".   StableBit CloudDrive was a lot more complex that we anticipated.

 

Right now, Alex is working hard on getting DrivePool "out the door".    

 

And we have talked about this exact subject extensively, and do have plans to make sure that this *never* happens again (in part by offloading a lot of the pre-release testing onto me, so we can get a rapid release cycle set up).

 

 

And I agree, if it works and works well, then updates every (period of time) isn't necessary.  And since the release version works on the latest Windows 10 version, it hasn't been a critical issue.

 

But yeah 1.5 years is way too long, and we are genuinely sorry about that. 


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#17 RFOneWatt

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:16 PM

THIS: 

 

<snip>

 

There is one major drawback witb drivepool: Nobody knows about it.

 

It's stable, it's fast - but frankly you guys couldn't care less about promoting your great product.

 

<snip>

 

Nobody knows about it. 

 

Fix that problem and everything else will fall into place. 

 

I remember when I first stumbled upon DrivePool. I've been doing this stuff for a long, long time and I was floored with the product. I'm not easily impressed but DrivePool flipped my switches. I actually wrote a damn good "first impressions" review the first night I installed it (which I can't seem to find ATM but will eventually run across.)

 

I do my my best to promote it every chance I get (which is admittedly not very often these days) but with proper advertising and promotion your "little development company" wouldn't be little for for very long. 

 

I would charge extra for MAJOR upgrades.

 

If I got an e-mail from you guys tomorrow that said "Drivepool 3.0 available now - 25.00 upgrade fee" I wouldn't hesitate.  I don't think most would.  

 

I've e-mailed Covecube @ 2:00AM on a Sunday and received an answer within twenty minutes.  It doesn't get better than that. 

 

You guys have a gem on your hands -- it needs to be treated like one and you guys deserve to GET PAID in the process.   :)

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

~RF


  • Christopher (Drashna) likes this

#18 TomTiddler

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 07:07 PM

Just my 10 cents here ... as someone that used to design and implement custom file systems, I'm well aware of a) How much work is involved, and B) what a truly splendid job you guys (guy?) have done with DrivePool. I have two fairly large pools running (8 drives 30TB in one, 4 drives 16TB in the other), and have to say zero loss of data ever, and remarkably few problems.

 

Given how cheap the product is, I would have absolutely NO problem with paying an annual support fee. I suspect that you might see a similar response from the many, many customers who have NOT contributed to this thread. Keep up the good work guys, and don't be put off by the haters/whiners.

 

IT



#19 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:42 PM

Well, thank you for the kind words and support! 

 

That said, the pricing is intentionally low, so that it's almost "impulse buy" friendly.  We want it to be cheap enough that it doesn't take a lot of thought to make a decision. And not so cheap that it's hard to support ourselves. 

 

 

But we're not a fan of version based licensing models (eg, pay for an upgrade). We feel that the license should be for the product itself, not for a specific set of licenses.  This is great from a customer standpoint, and ... it's also better from a development standpoint (we don't have to maintain 2+ branches of the software just to patch bugs).  So, it's a better experience, all around. 

 

And as for support, neither of us really like the idea of charging for support, nor for upgrades.  It should be included in the price of the license.  Or it should be akin to "emergency support". 

 

From here, I'm not really sure what is okay to tell you, since its internal/financial stuff.  

 

But that said, we do have plans for sustained income via a subscription service.  Specifically, the "StableBit Cloud" product/service.  


Christopher Courtney

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