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Tell it to me straight, vendors: Are you cheap and easy?

For goodness' sake ... cut to the chase

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Is it easy? Is is cheap? These are pretty much the only two questions which interest me when talking to a vendor these days – after years of worrying about technology.

Of course, if I was to produce an RFP document with simply those two questions, I’d probably be out of a job fairly swiftly.

But those two questions are not really that simple to answer for many vendors.

Is it easy? How simply can I get your product to meet my requirements and business needs? My business need may be to provide massive capacity, it could be to support many thousands of VMs, it could be to provide sub-millisecond latency. This all needs to be simple.

It doesn’t matter if you provide me with the richest feature-set, simplest GUI or backwards compatibility with the ENIAC if it is going to take a cast of thousands to do this. Yet still vendors struggle to answer the questions posed and you often get the response to a question you didn’t ask but which the vendor wants to answer.

Is it cheap? This question is even more complicated as the vendor likes to try to hide all kinds of things, but I can tell you: if you are not upfront with your costs and you start to present me with surprises, this is not good.

Of course features like deduplication and compression mean that the capacity costs are even more opaque, but we are beginning to head towards the idea that capacity is free and performance costs. But as capacity becomes cheaper, the real value of primary storage dedupe and compression for your non-active set that sits on SATA and the likes begins to diminish.

So just make it easy, just make it cheap and make my costs predictable.

Be honest, be upfront and answer the darn questions and you'll get more business than you know what to do with. ®

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