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SD2003: Get the most from your storage network

In his keynote address at Storage Decisions 2003, Nick Allen, vice president and research director at Gartner, Inc., told attendees how to get more from their SANs.

In his keynote address at the Storage Decisions Conference in Chicago, Nick Allen, vice president and research director at Gartner, Inc., told attendees how to get more from their storage area networks. Allen provided non-technical, helpful advice, including:

  • Ways to achieve capacity on demand without overbuying storage
  • Effective ways to combine the strengths and cost advantages of Fibre Channel, SCSI and ATA disks in an integrated infrastructure
  • Pros and cons of mixing Fibre Channel and IP networks for storage
  • Tips for leveraging new technology without adding to management overhead

    Much of Allen's advice centered on the best ways to acquire storage hardware and software, including how to get the best price for it. Said Allen: "You're in a much stronger negotiating position if you keep multiple vendors in your shop." He added that specialized purchasing departments know how to drive down the price on hardware but are not good at buying software. For example, "the maintenance price should be quoted off the discounted price not the list price," he said, adding that vendors "regularly charge high maintenance prices to get you to upgrade your box."

    Allen maintained that the average storage product lifecycle after purchase ranges from 18 to 24 months, noting that maintenance becomes prohibitively expensive after just two cycles. "Products more than two cycles old are economically obsolete," he said.

    Other successful negotiating ploys, according to Allen, include:

  • Never purchase under time pressure
  • Don't allow a vendor to bypass the technical staff
  • Align the deal time with the vendor's timings and sales incentive programs
  • Don't show enthusiasm
  • Always obtain line-item pricing
  • Lean toward purchase rather than standard lease if upgrades or extension are planned
  • Destroy the self-confidence of the sales representative.

    Presentation slides and other links to the full session proceedings are available here.

    About the speaker: Gartner Group's VP and Research Director, Nick Allen, brings to Storage Decisions more than 30 years' experience in IT. Mr. Allen is among the most well regarded experts on high-end storage systems and received a tremendous response to his presentation at our previous Storage Decisions conference. Don't miss him this year as he addresses additional solutions to the process of storage selection that has been complicated by continuous announcements of new products, features, and services. Plus you hear inside advice on storage strategies…from architectural to negotiating.

    Prior to joining Gartner, Mr. Allen was a senior management consultant with International Systems Services.

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