From file and email servers to databases, archives, and backup, storage takes on many different shapes. Because of this, performance and manageability should be higher considerations than capacity.
No one platform can do it all; a storage strategy should determine your unique business needs and then settle on only those.
A shotgun approach, with every project having something different based on the lowest bid for that project, might appear to be the cheapest way to go at acquisition time, but will complicate the environment and drive up people costs, rework, and may lead to wasted resources.
Understand your Existing Data Storage Platform
Do you already have a data storage platform? If yes, evaluate what you can add to sustain it one more year. Many arrays can add capacity for less than it costs to purchase a new array. The chassis, and especially the controllers, are often the most costly investments in storage arrays.
Buy only what you need with the expectation that next year’s storage will cost less, and keep slots open to add (cheaper) desks next year.
If you have multiple storage systems, take a look at your trouble-ticketing system before deciding the fate of existing gear. The trouble tickets should help you discern which systems have been causing the most outages, costing you productivity and driving up repair costs. Decide their fate first.
It’s not just about expiring warranties. Cost-effective, third-party maintenance programs can help you keep a reliable array spinning if manufacturer support is the only check against it. But you may be surprised how close to "maintenance cost" a brand new system can be. So price compare keeping the old one alive against a new system.
Don't have an existing storage platform? In our next entry, we'll discuss important considerations in choosing one.