Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Apr 4 2011   1:02PM GMT

Storage’s “sexy” frills keeping prices high

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

From the delightful DrunkenData, a delightful post (well, translation really) by Jon Toigo on the inevitable Rites of Spring, including the coming of fresh flowers, melting ice and, what else, storage marketing hype.

It’s worth a read simply for the echoes of T.S. Eliot applied to the economics of single-sourced hardware, but in the thousand-plus word piece dives into another topic: Why is storage, one of the most commoditized of the IT Dark Arts, still so expensive? For years, we’ve been regaled by tales of storage de-duplication, cross-platform standardization, and cloud/shared/virtualized storage solutions that all promise to decimate costs, but budgets keep going up. What gives?

There’s the simple, obvious explanation: That more stuff is being stored, dummy, so even as price-per-gigabyte goes down, total costs go up. But Toigo writes that this doesn’t paint the full picture:

In 2011, roughly 40 years after the distributed computing revolution, the costs of distributed computing have only increased – especially in storage.  Despite the onset of commoditization in drives and enclosures (all disks come from four OEMs these days, and all chassis from a half dozen or so enclosure makers), array prices have accelerated at a rate of about 120 percent per year.

Part of the explanation is value-add software that vendors insist on joining to proprietary array controllers.  Another part is the failure of the industry to define truly standardized interconnects so that two switch providers can build products to a common standard with absolute certainty that they will not work together in the same fabric.

All these sexy management frills added to an un-sexy commodity service are keeping prices high and preventing real savings in the storage department. In the end, that helps make the storage market hot and steamy for acquisitions, but helping enterprises actually cut costs might make for a beautiful love story that lasts past one passionate night.

Michael Morisy is the editorial director for ITKnowledgeExchange. He can be followed on Twitter or you can reach him at Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Image from Flickr user zigazou76 and licensed with Creative Commons.

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  • Is storage catching up to virtualization at Tintri? - Enterprise IT Watch Blog
    [...] IT Watch Blog « Storage’s “sexy” frills keeping prices high Apr 5 2011   5:00AM [...]
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