Selecting a storage system from someone other than the incumbent historically has been a decision that most IT managers are reluctant to make. A 2008 Forrester Research report highlights this reticence as it found that over 80% of organizations bought all of their storage from only one storage provider. But times change and new storage systems such as the Nexsan DATABeast are demonstrating that IT managers can make a change in their storage system provider that delivers more features while lowering both their organization’s costs and risks.
As a former storage engineer within a Fortune 500 organization, I know how hard it is to make a decision to change storage providers. Sure, you might not be happy with your current storage provider but, as the proverb goes, “Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don’t.”
It is for that reason that IT managers are likely NOT to select an alternative storage provider based solely on the price of its storage system. A June 2009 Gartner survey of German firms found that “German organizations gave preference to reputation, technical capability and relationship with the vendor over price as even in difficult times low bid prices were the least preferred strategy in Germany.”
While that survey was done in Germany, my sense is that mindset applies equally to IT managers in the US and their counterparts around the world. Cost is an important factor when making a decision but storage is such a critical part of the infrastructure and has so many features and functions that cost alone cannot be the only factor in the decision making process.
Automated storage tiering, Ethernet and FC interfaces, MAID, non-disruptive microcode upgrades, operating system support, replication (asynchronous or synchronous), thin provisioning and total storage capacity are just some of the many hardware and software features that are factored in when making a storage system buying decision. Ignoring or overlooking any of them means that an organization might be unnecessarily and unwittingly exposing itself to risks within its environment.
However that same Gartner survey found that when all of those features are there, organizations will change. “Advanced technology to improve storage utilization was the main attribute that would cause a German organization to switch storage vendors in 2009. This should not come as a surprise, because it is a technology that not only makes it easier to manage storage resources, but also helps to cut storage costs.“
Organizations are under more pressure than ever to achieve what I referred to in a previous blog entry as riskless storage efficiency. That is why the IT managers with which Gartner spoke are willing to look outside of the box at new and more innovative solutions.
Incumbent storage providers no longer have a lock on providing the hardware and software features on storage systems that users need. As DCIG recently discovered in its 2010 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide, up and comers such as the Nexsan DATABeast have MORE features and a WIDER breadth of functionality than storage providers that are considered the “incumbents”.
Further, in discussions with Nexsan, it tells me that the DATABeast ranking can cost much less than its competitors (sometimes up to half of their MSRP) while providing the same amount of storage capacity as its competitors.
This puts IT managers in a predicament. While they can certainly hide behind the skirts of the incumbent storage vendor, their justifications as to why they are staying with the incumbent storage vendor are bound to ring hollow in their management’s ears.
No longer can they point to the incumbent as having more features or being a safer bet which is why their organization should pay more for it. Rather, staying with the incumbent becomes the riskier choice as it costs more and has less features and functionality. Conversely switching to the Nexsan DATABeast becomes the more economical and, maybe more importantly, the less risky choice.
IT managers are all about avoiding risk which is a big reason that a large percentage of them stick with incumbent vendors in good times and bad and especially when it comes time to select a storage system. But the 2010 DCIG Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide highlights that a storage system such as the Nexsan DATABeast with its lower costs and hardware and software features is a better solution than what the incumbents offer.
It is for reasons like this that IT managers no longer have to feel beholden to selecting the incumbent solution just because they are comfortable with it and it theoretically represents a less risky choice. DCIG has found that the Nexsan DATABeast with its better features and lower prices is also the safer choice.