Look at the storage you bought 3 years ago and was supposed to last for at least 5 years. Did it? Probably not. It has outgrown your expectations. Look at the storage you bought 3 years ago and compare its features with what you can buy today. Aren’t you a bit sad you’ll still have to wait 2 years before your next big buy? Probably yes.
These are 2 common issues from a customers perspective. You could go around this running at least 2 different systems and changing them in an interval of 2 years. This could be smart against those two aforementioned issues but create new issues: you’ll manage multiple systems at the same time and sometimes your business is just not big enough to afford 2 different solutions.
So why are we still buying solutions upfront? My takeaway is that you shouldn’t. I know it’s not easy to sell to your board but I’ll try to give you a real life example. Lets say you need x TB and x IOPs today. Do you know what you’ll need next year? No. In this picture below (based on DELL EqualLogic) you are buying a nice startup box with 15k SAS disks. Next year (or in 2 years) you’ll need either more volume or performance. With the same budget at the end you’ll have a solution that is cheaper in IOPs if you needed performance or cheaper per TB if you only needed extra volume.
So what to look for when buying new solutions now? Make sure you buy a flexible solution, preferably with subluntiering. Try also to find a solution that does not imply rip-and-replace* between generations. This will give you the scale you’ll need at the time you need it.
*: rip-and-replace = when new generations of hardware arrive you have to migrate all data from “old” systems to the “new” one (i.e. EMC Clariion, HP EVA, …). Some technologies add/remove members to/from existing environments and don’t need this (i.e. DELL EqualLogic & Compellent, HP P4000). Needless to say I prefer the latter.
Disclaimer on the picture: these prices are theoretical list-prices at some point in time. Please contact “a” reseller (like me :-)) for a real quote.
I did a bit of a mind trick getting you here ’cause everybody loves ‘cheaper’ 🙂 I’m sorry (euh, not)