S2 claims to make 'obsolescence obsolete'

Thursday, September 10, 2009

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—As network appliance maker S2 readied its new NetBox Extreme, stacked with far more access control and video functionality than previous models, the company faced a dilemma: “What do I say to the current customer who has one of my previous generation products?” wondered S2 CEO John Moss. “What do you do to keep them updated?”

Thinking that integrators would have a difficult time going back to customers and telling them they needed a brand-new box, S2 has decided to “make obsolescence obsolete,” Moss said. “There’s now a trade-in value for everything we’ve ever sold, so anything that’s obsolete, even if you bought it in 2004, it still has a value.”

So, what makes the new S2 box so much better? Moss said technology has progressed to allow for capabilities that weren’t possible before. “The Intel Atom processor is what’s special,” he said. “So now we’ve been able to use the solid state disc capability that wasn’t available until very recently, with faster processors, and now we’ve got a little box that’s very close in price point to our current low-end offering, but has the capabilities of our current enterprise-class offerings.”

Because there are now no moving parts in the box—no spinning discs and no fans needed for cooling—which makes for far less maintenance and failures.

All of this, Moss said, encourages a long-term partnership between the integrator and the end user. “This new set of policies says, ‘When you think about S2, you’re thinking about moderate product on the one hand, and well supported, and it’s not obsolete. You always get a square deal and you don’t just throw it away when you want to upgrade. The integrators like that.”