Dear TechGuy2016 - Great questions and concerns. Thank you.
Caringo and Dell are working together closely to manage every aspect of the "transition" from the appliance model to the more flexible software + hardware fulfillment model. Investment protection, customer experience and continued growth are key parameters that will guide every step of this transition.
One of the beneficial outcomes will be that legacy appliances will be capable of absorbing storage nodes other than those originally configured as part of the appliance. Since our software is meant to aggregate internal storage capacity across any x86 server, the customer choice will be broad. Note that the DX6004S's and DX6012S's storage nodes were just re-branded PowerEdge R410's and R510's or R710's respectively. In fact, one of our more popular "Dell" configurations used the PowerEdge-C C8000 server, which is an example of the "new" fulfillment model that was already in practice at Dell. This is ultimately not a new approach, only an evolution based on the best of what our partnership has to offer.
Regarding the software, the core appliance software is the same as what Caringo ships to our direct customers, with the exception of Dell's branding. The Caringo software is designed for investment protection over long periods of time. For instance, transparent, data in-place hardware evolution is a design tenet and "old" and "new" hardware can live harmoniously together in the same cluster. Purchased licenses are perpetual so any legacy licenses will always "carry forward" post transition and new licenses are compatible with the old.
Regarding support and services, legacy support and service contracts, some of which extend for 5 or more years, are uneffected. Caringo and Dell have, and will continue to have, a cooperative support agreement in place and we will work closely together to make sure that customers get the best mix of hardware and software support regardless if related to a legacy DX appliance, a software-only implementation OR a combination of both.
Though there are transformation details to hash out, our intent is to provide even broader object storage solutions to Dell's customers with greater flexibility and enhanced support, both pre and post sale. Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.