ROI on Data StorageBy Reid Smith-Vaniz

Determine Savings

Your next step in determining the ROI for your storage project is to calculate the cost savings it will bring. For example, if you have multiple storage arrays and you collapse them into one, you’re going to save on costs for maintenance, power, cooling, and administrative time required to manage multiple systems.

Here are specific types of cost savings you should take into account.

  • How many maintenance agreements will be eliminated? Most vendors sell new arrays with a one- to three-year maintenance agreement. When they expire, the costs for a new agreement are typically much higher. So if you have agreements coming due, consider foregoing those renewals and instead invest that capital in a newer system or added capabilities. 
  • How much can you reduce rackspace? You might have old technologies consuming multiple racks in your co-location facility or your existing data center.  Consolidating arrays or replacing them with newer technology can save space and might even make it unnecessary to move to a larger data center, which would save your company a bundle. The more you can consolidate and simplify, the better your chances of avoiding that move.
  • How much time will you save? If your infrastructure includes equipment from four vendors—such as EMC, HP, NetApp, and IBM—your IT team has to dedicate time to understanding the operating systems for all those arrays, plus all the software tools, maintenance protocols and procedures, connectivity and more. You also have to meet with vendors to discuss their technology, upgrade path, software patches and more. You can save time and reduce costs by using equipment from only one or two vendors. What’s more, from the perspective of a hiring manager, it’s harder to find a good engineer who understands multiple storage platforms. It’s likely they’ll be good on one, but less so on three. You don’t want to have to look for a genius every time you need to hire another engineer.
  • How much time is wasted documenting procedures and transferring knowledge between platforms? Storage is complicated; every time you hire a new IT professional, you have to bring them up to speed on all the different protocols, operating systems, arrays, server connections and other system idiosyncrasies. So the more you can simplify things by reducing the number of systems and vendors, the more savings you can realize, and the fewer people you’ll have to hire in the future. You’ll be able to do more with the same amount of people, which boosts ROI.

Tune in tomorrow for our last installment in this ROI series—calculating the agility and profitability a storage project can bring to your business.