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Top Questions for Your Next Storage Vendor
Last Updated: 07/20/2018

Top Questions for Your Next Storage Vendor

Truth be told, keeping up with a myriad of storage solutions can be overwhelming. Without taking the time to weigh your options, key cost savings and optimization tools may be missed. Here is a useful list of the top questions to ask your next storage vendor.

Is Your System Easy to Operate and Manage?

Managing and operating a new storage system can be a daunting task that requires training to learn the new technology, as well as implementation of service levels and support. While most vendors won’t tell you it will be “easy” to incorporate their technology into your current infrastructure, many are also not upfront about how much time it will take to truly implement, manage, and operate a system. Look for a vendor that takes the time to research and grasp the challenges you are facing and offers solutions that are appropriate for your system and size. Too often, vendors offer elaborate system designs that are difficult, expensive to operate, and not user friendly. Keep in mind, systems that require a smaller amount of time and experience to install and configure also entail less support, services, and training in the long run. Customization can get very expensive, very fast.

Can Deduplication Save Me Money and Is Replication Important?

Recently, data deduplication has become a standard offering in backup software and disk-based backup products, touting big cost savings. However, it has yet to penetrate primary storage. Most vendors offer primary storage deduplication, or are prepared to introduce it, and a number of new vendors now integrate primary deduplication into products aimed at supporting virtual environments. Deduplication saves considerably in storage costs, data center space, power, and cooling costs, and can increase the capacity of arrays in data centers. This technology eliminates redundancy by removing data blocks with identical content. It is not only used in backups and archives, but also in primary workloads. Deduplication seems to be a suitable solution for data explosion because it slows down the data expansion speed by eliminating redundant data and relieves pressure on disk bandwidth by removing redundant I/O access. Similarly to deduplication, replication allows a resourceful method of keeping a remote copy of the data elsewhere. It is a strategy based on disaster recovery and can be very important if an organization is ever faced with such a situation. Both save disk space, which leads to saving money on buying storage devices. They also reduce I/O traffic, resulting in higher I/O throughput. Look for a vendor who can share their expertise in this arena and provide a dollar amount for you to share with your executive team.

What are the Advantages of SSDs and Flash Technology?

Solid-state drives (SSDs) and flash technology harness huge data capacity onto a tiny chip. Boot up time is nearly instantaneous, and users experience faster file transfers as well as better overall performance. SSDs can also withstand higher temperatures than hard disks, as there are no moving parts to fail, and power consumption is about half as much as a hard disk drive. When compared to hard disk drives, on a per gigabyte basis, SSDs are still more expensive. While prices have come down, the cost difference is still there. The benefits can, however, outweigh the cost. Flash-based memory and SSDs bring long-term energy savings and greater productivity in read and write performance. These modules can reduce the number of software licenses across several machines, bringing even greater cost savings. Look for a vendor who is comfortable explaining the differences between traditional and solid-state drives and what it means for your storage environment.

How Can I Secure and Segregate Data in a Consolidated Environment?

Consolidation is also something to consider and discuss with your storage vendor. Many vendors state they have a platform for storage consolidation. However, it is also vital to find out if they have the option of assigning physical resources to specific applications. By having this option, you can avoid problems such as data loss, weakened security, and overall performance issues. Having the ability to select and determine priority levels and I/O elements within the separate storage units is especially important when deploying to a public or private cloud setting. Be sure that your storage choice offers you the flexibility to instantly adjust or change status, priority, and performance level of each application with the varying aspects of your business. Likewise, it is also important to optimize the storage to meet the requirements of the application without having to come out of pocket for costly consultant fees. It goes without saying that any of these options should be accompanied by a solid data protection and disaster recovery strategy that offers local snapshots and continuous data protection backup and remote replication and deduplication.

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