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Criteria for product selection for a disk storage subsystem

Where should I start in making a product selection for a disk storage subsystem? What criteria should I include in my evaluation?

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There are a growing number of vendors on today's storage market place. All offer what they claim to be the ultimate solution with the "lowest TCO and highest ROI." To make things even more difficult, many vendors resell products developed and already marketed by other vendors by simply putting their own label on it (i.e.: LSI, IBM, STK). The best place to start is to first establish your needs and requirements. Make a list of all the features you want in your storage and start from there.

The next step is to look at other features you may plan to use in the future, the key being to always avoid making restrictive choices. The features that should be on your list are:

  • Supported platforms
  • Disk-to-disk block level replication capabilities (local & remote)
  • Scalability capable of handling your projected growth but modular enough to allow you to start small if required
  • Performance that will meet your "true" requirements
  • Support for major vendors' SAN hardware and software
Once you have short-listed the vendors that meet all your requirements, price should then be considered. The price is considered last because you should choose based on what you need first and not how much it costs. Not to say that price does not matter, but the most reasonably priced solution that meets all your requirements should be considered. Designing any IT infrastructure around budgetary limits often leads to costly oversights.

This was first published in July 2004

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