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Storage management tools SUCK. We're getting what we pay for

Tenuous storage business cases mean you're pissing cash down the drain

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Storagebod Five years or so when I started blogging about storage I spent much time venting my spleen at EMC, especially the abomination that was ControlCenter; a product so poor that a peer in the industry once described it as being “too expensive even if it was free.”

And yet the search for the perfect storage management product still continues. There have been contenders along the way but they still fall short. As administration tools have got better and easier to use, the actual management tools still fall some way short of the mark.

But something else has happened and it was only a chance conversation today that highlighted this to me: the tenuous business case that many have been purchased on has collapsed. Many storage management products are purchased in accordance with the business case that they will save you money by allowing you to right-size your storage estate. Rather, they will maximise the usage of the estate that you have on the floor of your server room.

Unfortunately, and it surprises me to say this, while the price of enterprise storage has collapsed (seriously, it has, although it's still obviously too expensive – I have to say that), the price of storage management products has not declined at the same rate. This means that it is doubtful that I can actually save enough capacity to make it worth my time: the economics don’t actually stack up.

So there has to be a whole new business case around risk mitigation, change-planning and improved agility, or the licensing model – that tends to be capacity-based in some form or another – has to be reviewed.

Do we still need good storage management tools? Yes but they need to focused on automation and service delivery; not on simply improving the utilisation of the estate.

Thin-provisioning, deduplication, compression and the likes are already driving down these costs; they do this ways that are easier than reclaiming orphaned storage and even under-utilised SAN ports. And as long as I am clever, I can pick up a lot of orphaned storage on refresh.

If “Server-SAN” is a real thing, these tools are going to converge into the general management tools, giving me a whole new topic to vent at: most of these aren’t especially great, either.

PS; If you want to embarrass EMC and make them sheepish…just mention ControlCenter…you’d think it’d killed someone.. ®

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