Pay the right price for storage


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Ask a storage salesperson how much two and two is and they'll most likely reply: "How much do you want it to be?" As the screws tighten on IT storage budgets, it's important to compare vendors' prices on an equal playing field. And, as storage fabrics become more complex, it doesn't make sense to compare the prices of apples to oranges.

During prosperous economic times, many companies bought more storage than they required. During late 2000 and into 2001, companies also over-bought to take advantage of aggressive pricing. But clearly, today nobody is over-buying. Instead, companies are being forced to reexamine their storage infrastructure and increase utilization while decreasing the number of copies of data they store. But when all excess capacity is absorbed it's time to start buying storage again. As storage becomes more complex, the buying process does as well.

Figure 1:

Solution components

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- establish your priorities
50% Capital outlay
20% Availability attributes
10% Operational costs
10% Management attributes
5% Performance attributes
5% Service and support

There's an old saying that says "sometimes the lowest price isn't the best price." While meeting budgetary and technology requirements is important, clients can easily overlook some critical elements. This balance can't necessarily be achieved at the lowest price. In fact, it's easy to correlate successful deployments of storage infrastructures with a fully developed decision-making framework that goes beyond typical feature/function comparisons and TCO exercises.

Growing storage complexity
When pricing storage, the first - and many times only - question people asked was: "Who has the lowest price per megabyte?" What needs to be considered is the price of the total storage solution, including switches, routers, directors and management software. New metrics are now the price/usable MB, price/raw MB, price/port, price/MB per port, price/managed MB and price/protected MB."

Figure 2:

Vendor comparison
50% Capital outlay 5 2.5 3 1.5
20% Availability attributes 2 .2 2 .2
10% Operational costs 3 .15 4 .2
10% Management attributes 3 .6 4 .8
5% Performance attributes 4 .4 4 .4
5% Service and support 4 .2 4 .2
100% CRITERIA TOTAL 21 4.05 21 3.30

This was first published in October 2002

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