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Why (not) invest now?

/ 10 May, 2010

To invest or not invest is a more than legitimate question in today’s economic climate. Projects undergo longer and more intense review cycles than ever, before a purchase order gets raised. In the meantime the challenges keep growing. In IT, operational cost, data growth and infrastructure complexity cause the most pressure. At least storage can be managed in less time, with less effort and at less cost as expected. And there is even no need to make any compromises. Here are a couple of points to think about when data storage is on your mind.

1. Negotiate now : Whether public or private—those willing to invest and spend money in a generally slow economy are in the best position a buyer can have. And this a good starting point to negotiate for storage.

2. Invest in state-of-the-art technology: Now is the time to replace complex infrastructures with storage islands all over the place with a unified storage platform. Features such as snapshots, deduplication, and

storage virtualization contribute significantly to efficient data management and less complexity.

3. Think ahead of your demand: There are many seemingly cost effective ways to get your data stored and managed. However, does a solution you are looking at just solve your data storage needs today? Or are there any options that might be interesting to think about for the future? The better a solution can be enhanced in terms of function, performance or capacity, the more flexibility and scalability is provided. And this simplifies quick changes in IT when

business requirements change.

4. Don’t look at the price ‘per gigabyte’: Does price matter? It does and does not. First, a price is just a number that can be compared to other numbers. What value you get for it is more important. What really matters is the price performance ratio. You can add a cost benefit analysis to it as well

and evaluate the benefit of a feature for example in terms of time savings, longer uptime etc. to better illustrate the need and value of an investment. This will help as well when the final investment decision is made by someone who is no IT professional.

5. Use TCO analyses as a decision tool: TCO is more than just a concept. It adds a timeline to the price/ performance view and adds operational costs, for example maintenance, planned downtime, energy consumption, upgrades and so on. The TCO gives you an idea of the real cost when buying a specific product for a specific deployment.

6. Have a look at ROI: An investment should solve a problem in the best way possible; however it should pay back as soon as possible as well. The return on investment is a common indicator to calculate when you will break-even. Vendors or their reselling partners should be able to easily point out when this will happen with their products.

7. Turn Capex into Opex —think about Cloud: It makes a huge difference whether an investment is treated as capital expenditure or operational expenditure. In fact, it’s similar to the decision of buying or leasing a car. Financing concepts such as Storage on Demand (SoD) or technology leasing release from years of regulated write-offs, translate investments directly into cost and, above all, simplify or even automate technology updates. Increasingly cloud service models should be considered.

8. Watch out for vendors’ capacity savings and storage utilization guarantee programs: Storage vendors have established varying programs to guarantee savings in capacity and utilization of storage. As the programs content differ, it will be necessary to carefully analyze and evaluate the programs’ conditions and deliverables. However, when program and requirements match, guarantee programs can be very beneficial and save you money.

9. Making the right decision: There are no wrong decisions—at least when the choice is a unified storage solution. This is the storage architecture with the broadest approach to data and storage consolidation by unifying FC SAN (traditional FC and FCoE), IP SAN (iSCSI) and NAS within one system. This concept includes the needed flexibility and scalability for deployments of any kind.

10. Don’t make any compromises: Your company shouldn’t accept trade-offs. This is possible. Ask the vendors you are looking at how they can offer simplicity, efficiency, performance AND cost savings