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Special Supplement: 10 ways to trim storage costs

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Storage August 2006 Special Supplement

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A sampling of storage user groups

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5) Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.
The first rule of purchasing is to get quotes from more than one vendor because competition usually lowers prices. When seeking bids, make sure vendors understand that you're serious about making a purchase; when comparing bids, be sure to make apples-to-apples comparisons.

Compare the quotes you receive for new storage gear with other members of your local user group using $/MB or $/port (see "A sampling of storage user groups," at right). List any questions or concerns you might have and then discuss those issues with the referral customers supplied by each vendor. When you've completed your research, renegotiate with the vendor.

Once you've decided on a product, find out when the vendor's financial quarter ends; sometimes the quarterly crunch to make sales numbers can motivate the vendor to offer additional discounts.

6) Buy used equipment.
If you don't need the latest gee-whiz technologies, you can save a big chunk of change by purchasing used equipment. Even if a storage technology is one or two generations old, it may still meet your requirements for performance and resiliency. Be sure to check the maintenance costs for hardware and software before buying used products. If you find the maintenance costs to be excessive, check into third-party support. A potential issue with used equipment may be that the software license isn't transferable, which requires working with the OEM to get a new license. Another concern is replacement parts. If the seller has spare parts on hand, buy them now in anticipation of future needs.

7) Use appliances and specialized systems.
Specialized storage appliances, such as an appliance for e-mail backup, archiving and reporting, can save money over trying to accomplish these tasks with a general-purpose backup system. Another example is a wide-area file services (WAFS) system for remote offices. If your company has remote offices with servers supporting DHCP, domain controller, file, print or e-mail, WAFS systems can replace these functions and their servers at the remote sites while maintaining data at the central office. This will also make backup and disaster recovery for remote sites easier. Because these systems reduce the amount of data to be transmitted, they can cut your network usage and reap additional savings.

This was first published in August 2006

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