Determine your needs first -- what's important to you? Make a list of your key buying criteria and questions. Is it standards? Is it functionality? Is it price? Is it product scope?
The big questions to ask vendors are:
1. How does your product differ from the competition? Can I receive a trial of the product in order to evaluate its capability? (This should help reduce the marketing promises to actual reality.)
2. Who do I call when things go wrong? (This is a real issue considering the number of startups in the space today.)
3. How is it priced and can you demonstrate a solid return on investment or financial justification for your deployment of it?
4. The big question though is how does it integrate with what I already have in place? (Can I manage multiple vendors' arrays, switches and (gasp) other management tools?)
You should demand that vendors adhere to standards and can actually manage what they say they can manage.
5.Finally, how does deploying this software automate what I'm currently doing to manage my storage environment?
If you end up spending more time and money managing what you have after you deploy new storage management products then you have failed.
Editor's note: Do you agree with this expert's response? If you have more to share, post it in one of our .bphAaR2qhqA^0@/searchstorage>discussion forums.
This was first published in January 2003