I wonder if vendors really care what the service life of equipment is any more (assuming they ever did)? I read in the computer press that the useful life of a computer is purported to be three years. I am sure that the hardware vendors would be delighted if we would just discard our stuff at that interval — especially if they had a side interest in selling the discards to some 3rd world country for salvage. But sometimes I think they deliberately make shortcuts to get equipment to fail early and hopefully get me to buy more.
Case in point — I have three LaCie storage units in my environment (or more to the point setting next to my environment). Two external disk drives — a 500gb and 1,000gb 1394/USB2 devices. And a 500gb NAS disk. All three are flaky — the two external drives are moody about mounting (the large one wont mount at all). The network attached storage disk seemed like such a good idea but kept logging disk errors (almost since day one) and the software update that was supposed to fix it just locked me out of seeing what the disk errors were — untill the entire web-based interface stopped working. Disk corruption, the vendor said, have to wipe the drive and start over again (3rd time).
My point is that I had not bought any of this gear as a throwaway. There are always a bunch of bulky downloads that one must keep around, and hundreds of downloaded documents and so forth. And quite frankly the only cost-effective way to do backups is disk to disk over the network.
But apparently, LaCie thinks that spending a few hundred or few thousand dollars is a throwaway and it is unreasonable to expect service lives of years. Too bad. Nice package and function at an attractive pricepoint — untill the short life is factored in. I am not buying any more of their storage devices. And what is more, recommending to anyone I talk to that their gear is not reliable.