Data generation is now seen in every business irrespective of the size and industry it belongs to- all thanks to the age of digitalization. And this is where the potential for sales gets generated for data storage offering vendors.
However, the hype machine is still high in storage market, cranking out myths that businesses need to be smart enough to see through, if they don’t want to be bamboozled into adopting solutions that won’t meet their requirements.
While there are plenty of things storage vendors want the sales prospect to believe, here are 10 things most of them don’t want you to know.
- Flash isn’t always the savior- Flash based solutions fit well in environments which demand high end performance. But they too have limitations. When it comes to large sequential writes, for example, hard-disk drives are much more appropriate. Flash and hard disk are different tools that should be deployed for different jobs. To get the right blend of media for their storage requirements, talk to vendors that aren’t restricted to a single type of media and are offering HDD or flash or both (hybrid) solutions.
- Power efficiency- Vendors offering storage solutions always insist that all-flash arrays are power efficient and so going for them will help save them on Opex costs. But when looking at the power requirements of storage, the whole array must be considered, rather than only the drive modules. Practically, it is observed that some hard-disk drive arrays use less power than all-flash ones. This is due to the fact that high end performance needs flash and related hardware support like processors, cache, MoBo and such. And if just flash is power efficient in the set up and the rest of the hardware are all power hungry, then investing on the solution doesn’t make sense.
- Vibration free performance is not available for cheap- Excessive vibration can cause reliability issues, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that it can also seriously affect performance. So, designing and offering a vibration free solution is not that easy for a solution offering vendor and needs a good amount of investment. So, better not compromise on price factor and choose a vibration filled solution.
- Software defined storage- As evolution of data storage is being witnessed every year; decisions around enterprise storage have started to depend on checklists rather than just reliability and performance of an array. With the emergence of software-defined storage (SDS), a significant amount of functionality is shifting from the storage array to hypervisors, OSes and apps. Many enterprise storage array “deals” end up locking customers into proprietary software that only works on one platform. SDS gives businesses the flexibility to choose the platform they want without worrying about the underlying hardware. This improves their bargaining power and frees them to focus on performance and reliability.
- Price discounts- Competition has picked up in every field and storage industry is also witnessing a fair amount of it. So, in order to get initial contracts, storage vendors do anything and can even offer discounts up to 60%. But remember, the discount is only on hardware and doesn’t apply to support the software packages. And it is the services and software that deliver vital functionality and turn a piece of metal into something that actually delivers fast and reliable storage. Additionally, after the discount price, vendors often charge for professional services that are needed in order to design, evaluate and deploy a storage system, which is not usually included and may add a significant amount to the total bill.
- Five years warranty- Generally, all vendors offer a 12-month warranty on their solutions and go to extend it to three years, if the user pushes hard. But when anyone goes beyond and asks the vendor for a five year warranty, they simply hike the total price. This is because of the fact that the storage vendors want the user to rotate their hardware once in every three years.
- User should be in a position to use all storage they buy- Most storage vendors issue “best practice” guideline warning customers of dramatic performance loss if they use more than 70% storage capacity. It is possible to deploy a storage array that can run at 100% capacity without performance degradation.
- Upgrades shouldn’t be costly- When a large scale upgrade takes place, like changes to parts of existing infrastructure, it can induce downtime, and the investment can be huge due to hefty professional services bill. Therefore, go for a vendor like StoneFly, Inc which offers true scale-out infrastructure, back ground migrations and that too without the requirement to go for forklift upgrades.
- Automation is must- The biggest cause of data center failures is human errors and so go for a solution that limits the interaction between humans and IT environment with software automation services and reliable hardware.
- Quality of drives is crucial- Always insist on solutions which are filled with enterprise grade drives and not the usual consumer grade hardware. This is due to the fact that there’s a huge difference in the quality of components used, the testing carried out and, most importantly, the annual failure rate of drives in consumer- and enterprise-grade products. Consumer-grade hardware may well be cheaper to purchase, but operational cost and risk are likely to be much higher than for more reliable and robust enterprise-grade products. However, it is the duty of the storage solutions vendor to look into this matter.