Drobo S: Simply Overpriced?
As a product manager, getting pricing right is one of the most important aspects of the job.
So here is the thought process I would have gone through as a product manager to price the new Drobo S, the newest RAID-like storage solution from Data Robotics, whose original Drobo unit held up to 4 hard drives and protected the data from one hard-drive failure:
- 20-25% better performance: Pretty much expected these days. Can I charge for that? Maybe 10% more.
- A new eSata port - again, something that is almost expected. Adding an additional port on a storage device is good for no more than $30.
- A 5th drive bay while allowing for 2 drives to fail simultaneously – that is valuable. Maybe a 20% price increase for the 5th bay and another 20% for the second drive failure capability, giving me a potential 40% premium.
Overall, I could shoot for a 50% price-premium over the existing Drobo. While the Drobo S is not a replacement model for the Drobo, prices tend to go down when you introduce a newer model. Assuming the existing Drobo slides to $350 over time (which is the current price at Amazon), the MSRP for the new Drobo S would be a bit north of $500. Be aggressive and sell it for $499. Or so my thinking goes.
Instead, Drobo priced the unit at $799 - a 100% premium to the existing Drobo. Maybe I don't know enough about the secret sauce of the Drobo S to understand a 100% price increase, but that is exactly the point: If someone who follows storage does not get it, will the average consumer that Drobo targets? Especially given that there are other storage components in the market that are much less expensive?
Look at it another way - for the price of one Drobo S, I could buy two regular Drobos and use one as a backup to the other. With these, I could even do father-son backups, which I cannot do with a single Drobo S.
So unless there's something in the new Drobo S that every news outlet and blog overlooked, there's only one conclusion: The Drobo S is simply overpriced!