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Storage Blog

3 Things the OEM Doesn't Want You to Know about Third-Party MaintenanceSwitching off OEM support for your EMC or NetApp storage hardware can be a nerve-wracking process. This can become more difficult if you are used to working with the manufacturer of the equipment within your data center. Yet, switching to third-party maintenance doesn’t need to be a risky process, even if the OEM may make it seem that way. You need to be aware of the reasons the OEM may provide about why they provide “better” support. Then you can see how they try to justify the cost differential between their support and that from a third-party maintenance provider and make an educated purchasing decision.

Reason 1:

OEM: “Third-party maintenance vendors don’t have access to the necessary OS and firmware updates you need.”

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4 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Storage HardwareWhen you look at the lifecycle of the equipment within your data center, your timeframe for upgrading or refreshing your equipment may not match the manufacturer’s timetable. The manufacturer will create upgrade cycles based around when they release new products - not necessarily when your organization needs new equipment. For some businesses, this three-year product life cycle typical of the manufacturer may work perfectly. But, if your organization is like many others where a refresh cycle of four, five, or more years works better, you may be painfully aware of the cost spike to support that equipment with the manufacturer after year three.

1. Bridge the Support Gap

When the OEM maintenance cost spikes after year three in a product’s lifecycle, it is designed to push companies to upgrade the equipment in their data center to the newest generation of product. In reality, support for legacy equipment should be less expensive than the newest products, but this cost increase exists to push upgrades. Getting support from a third-party maintenance provider instead of the OEM can help keep costs down so that you can have the equipment in your data center as long as you like.....

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NetApp has recently announced its plan to expand its current product offering with a series of easy-to-own items that are specifically designed with the enterprise marketplace in mind. The move is a calculated one, as the company has set its sights on taking on competition from the likes of EMC, HP and even from various startups both internationally and in the United States.

The All Flash FAS8000 Series

The expanded product line, dubbed the All Flash FAS8000 series (or AFF 8000 series for short), is designed to offer best in class performance and versatile data management all in a single product. Every item in the All Flash FAS line will also ship with NetApp's on Data ONTAP FlashEssentials, aimed at increasing both the efficiency and performance of the equipment.

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3 Traits of a Great Used Storage ProviderEverybody has had experiences with both good companies and bad companies when you have bought something. When it comes to used storage hardware – such as storage upgrades for EMC or NetApp systems - these purchases you are making aren’t insignificant purchases. These purchases are important to your business’s performance and usually come at a significant price point. So, you shouldn’t take the organization you choose to work with when purchasing used storage upgrades lightly. But how can you sort the good from the bad? Here are three common traits we have identified with great used storage hardware vendors.

1. Industry & Product Knowledge & Experience

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Reliant Technology - Understanding Storage Performance BenchmarksAccording to a recent survey that was conducted by LoadDynamix, a full two thirds of people in storage related leadership positions at large enterprises do not understand storage performance benchmarks and the ways that they're positively or negatively affecting their own storage infrastructure. 65% of those who responded to the survey indicated that they only assess I/O use in an ad-hoc capacity and rely on the company that they've partnered with for storage to keep them abreast of this necessary information.

A General Understanding (Or Lack Thereof)

Despite the fact that the types of large enterprises that responded to the survey are likely to have some of the most sophisticated (and costly) storage solutions deployed in existence today, only 35% of those who responded indicated that they fully understand and accurately measure things like input/output profiles. The implication from this number is that those who do not fall into this category are likely A) suffering from poor storage performance and B) do not understand why.

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EMC VNX System CostBy: Reid Smith-Vaniz

One question I get all the time is, “How much does an EMC VNX system cost?” Well, the answer is - it depends.

When EMC released the VNX series in 2011, it had five models. About two years later, five more models were introduced. Those second models are referred to as the VNX2 series by storage industry professionals. You have a lot of organizations that have the VNX1 series and others who are buying the VNX2 series, so it is important to figure out what VNX series you are talking about when it comes to cost.

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EMC Acquires Virtustream

EMC announced its plan to acquire Virtustream - a cloud software and service provider - in a deal valued at approximately $1.2 billion.

EMC plans to merge its Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud offering with Virtustream’s portfolio for a comprehensive managed cloud services business designed to support all applications, workloads, and cloud models. According to a press release from EMC, the acquisition of Virtustream “represents a transformational element of EMC’s strategy to help customers move all applications to cloud-based IT environments.”

Found in 2009, Virtustream is one of the world’s fastest-rising cloud software and service companies designed to migrate, run, and manage mission-critical applications in the cloud. EMC’s Information Infrastructure CEO, David Goulden, said in a statement, “As IT organizations race to keep pace with the demands of the modern and rapidly changing business, they need to leverage both private and public clouds. The EMC Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solution enables customers to deploy rapidly a hybrid cloud that incorporates the best of both. Today’s news completes the picture, culminating in what customers want most, a one-stop-shop experience for their entire hybrid cloud needs.”

Virtustream’s Chairman and CEO Rodney Rogers said, “Virtustream has established itself as an industry leader and innovator for running mission-critical enterprise applications in the cloud. We’re proud to be joining the EMC Federation where our combined capabilities, products and services will allow us to accelerate our vision of delivering the platform of record for enterprise systems, and address the complete breadth of cloud computing needs,” in a statement regarding the acquisition.

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Cisco Expands Storage Networking Portfolio

Industry leader Cisco recently announced new additions to its storage networking portfolio which are designed specifically with enterprise customers in mind. The company's new 40 gigabit converged Ethernet option will support the existing Nexus 7700 and 7000 switches, while a new 96 port 16 gbps fibre channel switch is also now available.

The New MDS 9396S SAN Switch

One of the company's new products, the 2U MDS 9396S SAN switch, is designed to scale from 48 ports to 96 ports in 12 port increments. It can also be purchased with all 96 ports depending on the needs of the customer. Each of those ports is designed to guarantee a line rate performance of up to 16 gigabits per second when operating at peak efficiency. The new switch includes dual fans and multiple power supplies for the purposes of redundancy, and also extends support for over 4,000 buffer to buffer credits on a per port basis.

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End of Life is not the End for Storage HardwareManufacturers will deem a generation of product End-of-Life (EOL) after a period of about 3 years or so, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to feel pressured into upgrading to the latest technology. You don’t have to spend the immense amount of money on brand new equipment just because your manufacturer says “you have to.” In reality, you have another option that can help you save significantly on your IT budget – continue upgrading your existing technology through a third-party that provides upgrades and maintenance.

More Options than just the OEM

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Increasing work and fewer resources make handling accelerated data growth more challenging. As demands for new business application services soar along with storage requirements, IT organizations hustle to meet growing needs. One of the challenges becomes being able to meet these needs while maintaining staff levels and without increasing infrastructure expenditures.

More Data, Less Time

It’s quite common for IT managers to support multiple silo infrastructures. They’re often responsible for application systems, networking resources and virtualized environments. Administering storage and data protection are also critical areas of responsibility. Administration personnel are constantly busy and don’t always have enough time to focus on ways that IT can enhance business revenue and profitability.

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