Keeping Google Appliances past two years
Maybe it's because a Google Appliance is an actual, physical machine, and not just an intangible piece of software. But the question that keeps popping up is, "can you actually keep it running once the 2-year license runs out?"
With many software licenses, it's tacitly accepted that you'd have to pay maintenance, support, and renewal fees; or that updates and upgrades may or may not be included in your license. Somehow, with appliances, this may strike us as odd: does your toaster stop functioning once the warranty runs out? Well, with the Appliance, it's something you should consider just as you would with any piece of software (even though it comes with its own hardware).
There's a bit of confusion here. For example, some competitors have been claiming this as a differentiator (notably, Thunderstone has always maintained that unlike a GSA, their Thunderstone Search Appliance is yours to keep and run past the "best before" date). Some Google resellers have claimed the exact opposite (saying you're welcome to keep indexing and searching with your machine forever, even past the 2 year license.) In fact, both are right, and wrong, since Google has recently changed its policy.
There is no mystery here, but the truth is a little bit complicated:
- If you buy a new GSA, it will stop running once the license runs out (after either 2 or 3 years, depending on what you've bought), until you renew the license.
- But if you already own GSAs with the old license, those machines will keep working past the end date. And more interestingly... if you then buy new (additional) Appliances, these will also keep running indefinitely.
Of course, Google's Appliances will be on the books as hardware in most cases, and it's common to write off hardware in two or three years, anyway. Budget accordingly, and in a couple of years, you'll be fine. Otherwise, you'll end up with just another nice Dell server. You can always sell the Google cheese faceplate on eBay...