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Storage for 'Enterprise': What does that even MEAN?

For biz, for large deployments, backup memory for the Star Trek starship?

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Storagebod I love it when storage vendors invent new market segments: "Entry-Level Enterprise Storage Arrays" appears to be the latest one, from the brilliant marketing team at EMC. And it is always a "new" space that only the company occupies.

But are these new spaces real segments or just marketing? Actually, the whole Enterprise Storage Array thing is getting a bit old and I am not sure whether it has any real meaning anymore. It is all rather distancing for the customer. You "need" Enterprise, you don’t need Enterprise ... you need 99.999 per cent availability, you only need 99.99 per cent availability...

As a customer, I need 100 per cent availability; I need my applications to be available when I need them. Now, this may mean that I actually only need them to be available for an hour a month but during that hour I need them to be 100 per cent available.

What I look for in vendors is the way that they mitigate against failure and understand my problems, but I don’t think the term "Enterprise Storage" brings much value to the game - especially when it is constantly being misused and appropriated by the marketing consultants.

However, I do think it is time for some serious discussions about storage architectures: dual-head, scale-up architectures vs multiple-head, and scale-out architectures vs RAIN architectures. To my mind, understanding the failure modes and behaviours is probably much more important than the marketing terms which surround them.

Storage vendors have offerings in all of those spaces, all at different cost points, but there is one thing I can guarantee: the "Enterprise" ones are the most expensive.

There is also a case for looking at the architecture as a whole. Too many times I have come across the thinking that what we need to do is make our storage really available, when the biggest cause of outage is application failure.

Fix the most broken thing first: if your application is down because it’s poorly written or architected, no amount of "Enterprise" anything is going to fix it. Another $2,000 per terabyte is money you need to invest elsewhere. ®

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