Badly written software, or policy?

Today while working I got stuck in what probably is an intentional flaw of the software we’re using. When we scan Affymetrix’s GeneChips there are a number of files produced by the GeneChip Operating Software (GCOS in short) including raw acquisition images and various analyses. Now, a certain number of people need to use those data to work (including myself), but I don’t want people to fiddle on the scanner workstation unless they know what they’re doing. So I bought a network hard drive a week ago and I decided to sync the data from the workstation to the network drive. Affymetrix has a proprietary solution to access data in a centralized fashion, but it costs € 65,000, plus the MS SQL2000 Enterprise Edition license and not including the actual server machine! They also have a stand alone tool (Data Transfer Tool) but it doesn’t support unattended operations (obviously). I thought by copying over files and using one mode of operation of this software to transfer data to the other machines (some data are stored in a database, that’s why you can’t just copy the flles over).

I was wrong because the software “detected” the type of files and refused to proceed further. I really wanted to put an unattended sync from the scanner to the network drive, but it’s impossible now. I need to manually make special archive files and then copy them over.

Poor programming practice, or vested interests in selling the server class product?

Dialogue & Discussion