Feeds

Aw, SNAP. It's too late, you've already PAID for your storage array

Do yourself a favour: Trust but VERIFY

Security for virtualized datacentres

Blocks and Files When a vendor says it has feature X, how do you know it's true?

Storage arrays are mighty complex boxes and vendors' marketing of them can sometimes take a bypass around reality. How can you detect if this is happening?

One way is to look for independent reviews of the product by a trusted reviewer. For example, product reviewers paid by a media outlet should be more independent than ones paid by the product's vendor. It is, to be frank, inconceivable that a vendor would pay for a product review and publish the thing if it was negative, if, for example:

  • the reviewer pointed out that, although the vendor said a product had feature X, the reviewer had been unable to find it, or
  • the reviewer said deploying feature Y caused a significant loss of performance.

A review of a product's claimed specifications using supplier-provided information is not enough on its own to justify a purchase. All such reviews or product comparisons should be discounted unless there are independent reviews of the product.

How do you select independent reviewers of good standing?

  • As a rule of thumb they must not be paid by the vendor
  • They should be expert in their field and have full and unfettered access to the product hardware and software
  • They should have published reviews of product in the past which mention negative features
  • They should have an independent stance
  • They should openly and fully reveal any sponsorship or other vendor-related inducements they might receive

A reviewer's bona fides, the trust that you can place in them, are absolutely vital. In my experience, product reviewers like Howard Marks of Deep Storage Net, John Toigo, the Register's Trevor Pott, Hans de Leenheer in Belgium, Chris Evans in the UK, and Steve Duplessie's ESG can be trusted absolutely to take hardware and software apart and test out vendor claims with a strongly independent stance.

That's my personal experience. There are probably others which I don't know of. There are certainly others whom I do know of and whom I wouldn't place in the same category as the people above. I have, by the way, no financial arrangements of any sort with any of these people, none whatsoever.

Any vendor who will not submit their product to review by a third party of your choosing must have damn good reasons for not doing so. If you come across a storage product with no independent reviews, using the criteria above, then I would suggest you walk away.

If a supplier can provide customer case studies instead, then ask for the customer contact details and talk directly to them, not through the vendor. Case studies age and vendor personnel change. If you can't talk directly to a customer with its own direct experience of the product, then the case study is, at best, marketing, and not a believable purchase support document.

What do you do if there is no independent review, according to the criteria I've set out above, and no facility to talk on your own to other customers mentioned in vendor case studies, and, yet, the product seems ideally suited to your needs?

Trust, as the late President Reagan said, but verify.

Get a try-and-buy deal and test out every feature; see if it's present and see how it affects product operation. If you don't have the facilities to do this then pay a trustworthy person to do it for you. If you can't afford that and the potential vendor won't submit their product for testing, I would suggest you walk away. You can get into far worse trouble through buying a poor product than by not buying a product at all. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.