Taking a Behind the Scenes Look at Storage TCO

The up-front cost of storage can also be reduced by implementing a tiered storage strategy. By purchasing storage capacity at a variety of price points you’ll have the flexibility to tailor the system’s capacity to your budget, with more expensive, high-performance storage for transaction processing systems, or value storage for disk backup. Additionally, you may be able to consider systematically turning off your lowest tier of hard disk drives for added power savings through well-controlled methods such as after a backup to disk or writing data to be archived to disk.

Avoid Forced Obsolescence– Every storage system has a useful life and a warranty length, and as with your car, the two are not the same. Many storage vendors encourage you to throw away or turn in a perfectly good system after three years, because they are keen to sell you newer gear even if your current storage system is meeting your needs. Storage vendors move this process along by tilting the annual cost/benefit equation of a new system strongly in their favor after the warranty is up. They do this because, ex-warranty, you are forced to purchase maintenance contracts to keep the system operational. Maintenance fees vary from vendor to vendor, and it’s not uncommon for these fees to be greater than the depreciation expense of a new system. This creates what is known as forced obsolescence.

You may be able to avoid added maintenance fees by considering the length of warranty available as you choose your system. A longer warranty brings a system’s sticker price and its useful life into closer alignment.

Control Software Licensing Costs– Software licensing fees also significantly vary by vendor and may be based on the number of storage systems, performance, capacity and features, or a combination thereof. It’s vital that you have a full and complete understanding of a vendor’s software licensing fees up front, over the useful lifetime of the system. Depending on the licensing model used, there may be a dramatic impact on future system costs when it comes time to upgrade. Moreover, software licensing costs may increase whether the system upgrade is designed to boost performance or capacity.

In part II of this two-part series, Rob will explore OpEx factors effecting TCO. Until then, you can use this handy worksheet to uncover your storage system’s TCO.

Rob Peglar is vice president of Technology at Xiotech Corporation, an innovator in data storage and protection solutions, and leads the shaping of the company’s strategic vision and emerging technologies. With more than 30 years in the industry, he also is a sought-after speaker and panelist at conferences and seminars worldwide and currently serves on the SNIA Board of Directors. For more information about Xiotech and its products and services, visit http://www.xiotech.com/or call (952) 983-3000.