Irene Goltsman
Founder, Chief Development Officer
Storage, thinking ahead…

There is still a need for intelligence behind the technology even though hardware and software vendors are fighting hard to simplify complexity and hide details under the hood of GUI and wizards.

Coming from the system operation and integration business and sitting on sales sessions I see that all sales are done exactly like sales of electronic gadgets. “My hardware can do this, and this and this and even this!!!!!” At the same time if you look at your GPS gadget, you can see the percentage of the features loaded in the device that are actually being used.

The same logic should being applied when we are thinking about the storage. Before having the discussion about the storage, first companies need to access how it will be used.

Below are some simple questions that should be answered before interviewing storage vendors as each small feature will cost additional money and may be not utilized at all. 

  1. Do we need fiber, iSCIS, NFS/SIFS? Wrong answer to those questions may result in big additional dollars in licensing, hardware and software. If you are using iSCSI only then there is no need to purchase unified storage. If you need only high performance NFS, there is no need to purchase iSCSI and fiber. And it is not always true that you can gain max performance only out of fiber.
  2. Disk speed. Disks are the most expensive component of any storage system. Same size standard SAS or SATA disk will cost 2, 3 or 4 times less expensive disk from EMC or NetApp or 3PAR. There has to be an intelligent analysis of I/O to purchase what you need. In a lot of cases vendors through in the mix thin provisioning, de-duplication and other techniques that also cost money. De-duplication would be total waist if you store compressed images. De-duplication and thin provisioning cost money as well and needs to be accurately analyzed before purchasing decision. Use of faster disks where it is not necessary is huge waste of money. There is confusion about I/O analysis. If there is a sequential reads then controller and switching speed is more important than disk speed. If you have short I/O, like database transactions, the importance of number if physical spindles (physical disks) much more important than anything else.
  3. Do you need replication? And the most important is what kind of replication you need. There is a simple bit-to-bit replication or complicated mechanisms involving snapshots which will require additional disk space. The application needs must be assessed as we saw cases that our clients were purchasing complex replication mechanisms but application side could be using it. Also a lot of enterprise products have built in replication. Some enterprise storage replication mechanisms are priced per amount of data that needs to be replicated and add significant cost to the solution.



Davian on 1/8/2012 8:07:40 AM

This is way more helpful than anything else I've lokoed at.


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