Q

Cost-effective SANs

When do SANs become cost effective over direct server to disk array connections? Specifically, physical disks per server as opposed to virtual disks per server via a disk controller.

There's no simple formula to use here. The cost effectiveness or gain in economics can come from several different areas. There is value in many areas:

  • How quickly you can deploy capacity to meet application demand
  • How much time (and effort) can you save in getting backups done
  • How efficient is your capacity utilization (do you have areas of unused capacity, etc.)

The dominating factor is overall administration costs. Basically, can you manage more storage (accommodating the demand for the growth of storage of data) without a commensurate increase in the number of administrators. This is a metric that is based on the amount of storage one person can administer. Networking storage improves this number (also called a multiplier). Adding virtualization and policy automation makes it an even bigger number.

So, no easy answer but doing some homework is what's required for economic justifications.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in January 2002

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