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Customer value for features/characteristics

This column originally appeared on TechTarget's Expert Answer Center as a post in Randy Kerns' blog. Randy served as the on-demand expert on the Expert Answer Center for two weeks in January 2005, during which he was available to quickly answer questions on network-attached storage as well as to write daily blog entries. Keep an eye on the Expert Answer Center for topics that could help your IT shop.

How much do you value a specific feature or characteristic of the storage product you may purchase? This is a tough question. Some of the products are different in that one may offer a special feature or do something in a different manner that seems better. Vendors will highlight these differences and you may make your choice because of them. Did the product cost a little more because of those features or special characteristics? If you got those did you give up something else?

The tough part is figuring out what the value is to your company (and to you getting your job done, on more of a personal level) for those features. If you're not going to use them, then you should probably disregard them. Usually they aren't really free. There's some tradeoff for price or complexity or weakness in another area.

We often ask customers we work with to apply a weighting factor to several different areas of a product. Doing a comparison to figure out which product meets the need becomes a little easier then because you can evaluate and score a product in particular areas and then apply the customer weighting factor to see if it's really meaningful and come up with a composite value. Really, the weighting factor is common sense: How much do you value this particular feature or characteristic? It's worth the effort.

Even though Randy's stint on the Expert Answer Center is over, he is always ready to answer your questions on Ask him your most pressing NAS question.

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