I just got my Antlse in the mail, let's see what it's all about.Next Post
I was on Facebook and happened to come across an advertisement for a server box named the "Antsle One". They advertise it as your own in-home cloud, which is why I actually looked into the ad to see what the product actually was.
Visting their website I found that the top part was elegant and professional looking, but as I scrolled down it became more of a "As Seen on TV" advert. None the less I was impressed by their product and decided to do a little research on what exactly they were selling. At their core, they're only actually selling two things.
- A SUPERMICRO MBD-A1SAi-2750F-O Mini ITX with an Intel Avoton C2750 in a custom designed enclosure
- Their properitary VPS solution: "Antman"
I do a lot of work with both Heroku and AWS, and they way they marketed this box made it seem perfect for my needs. So I went ahead and bought it.
For my purchase, I bought the Pro with 32gb of RAM, 2x1tb SSD, and 2x2TB HDD. The total I paid for it was $2,627.11, including $205.81 Tax and $49.15 shipping. That brings the total for the actual product to $2577.96
Removing the price of the options, I get the price of the base system, which is $1,335.10. This price includes the cost of the barebones system, the production cost, and a markup to support the software on the box, as well as a markup to turn a profit.
Here's a price breakdown of a similar system if you build it yourself.
|Motherboard/Processor | Newegg||$359.99|
|RAM - 32GB ECC | Newegg||$197.80|
|SSD - 2x1TB | Amazon||2x$349.99 = $699.98|
|HDD - 2x2TB | Amazon||2x$66.99 = $133.98|
|Case | Newegg||$79.99|
|Power Supply | Newegg?||$49.99|
|Cables / Etc||~$50.00|
So, around the same system can be built for approx $1,600, just a little more than the base Antsle but with all the upgrades. So why is the Antsle so pricey?
Let's take a look at the difference between the prices, $2,600 for an Antsle vs $1,600 for a custom built. That's $1,000 more to have an Antsle vs your own system. I'll get to why in a bit.
When I placed the order, they sent me a lovely email telling me that my antsle was "being assembled", and that it would be 3-5 business days before it would be shipped. I thought that maybe the systems were made to order to save on cost, only producing the units with the right parts when they're ordered. I placed my order Thursday afternoon, and it wasn't until the following Wednesday that it was shipped, four business days in total to produce my unit and ship it. Antsle includes a "30 day, no questions asked, moneyback guarantee", which allows me to simply say "I don't like it" and ship it back to them. I'm currently waiting still waiting for my unit to arrive, and I'll create a new post with my findings once I get it.
However the question of why does it cost $1,000 more is bugging me. Is it simply overpriced, or is there actual cost to warrant the markup? The first thing that comes to mind for me is the case. Antsle says that the case is custom designed and has superior cooling compared to other cases. They market it as the entire case being a heatsink, and in their FAQs when asked if a user could upgrade it themselves it is stated that the user would have to break a "thermal seal" between the case and the motherboard. The case itself also looks pretty nice, so let's add another $100 to the cost of the system to account for the case.
That still leaves us with $900. I've checked the specs of the Antsle and it matches the motherboard above word for word, and picture for picture. So it can't be that I've got the wrong motherboard, unless their motherboard is custom ordered. Their product page states that they're partners of: Samsung, Intel, and SuperMicro. It's actually possible that they have custom ordered hardware from SuperMicro to better match their needs, which would increase the cost. Whether this is true or not is beyond me, but it would account for some of the additional markup.
Then there's the services provided with the Antsle. Their properiatary "Antman", their linux distro, and their tech support don't come for free. According to their site, Antman makes creation of new virtual machines exteremely easy, and both reading their docs and looking at their videos I'd say it's rightly so. Antman can transparently handle the creation of an LXC container or a KVM instance, making it quick and painless to spin up the most efficent virtualization method. However a lot of advanced configuration still takes place via the command line, though Antsle says that they're working on adding those options to the GUI. Antman also has the ability to allow their technicians to tunnel into your box to provide technical support.
Now, whether these extra services are worth the extra money is up to you. I'm still undecided, and will let you know once I get my box and play around with it.