There was an interesting question posed this afternoon by Ditchboy on ITToolbox. The gist of the question was why Enterprise storage is so expensive, when 1TB drives are less than £100 a piece. It’s a good question and something I’m asked quite often.
To us seasoned professionals, the answer may be obvious; here’s the response I posted:
If you go to Best Buy etc and buy a 1TB hard drive, sure, you can get it at a bargain price. But what warranty does it come with? Nothing other than a 3 year return to vendor if it fails. No guarantee on the actual data on your drive.
If you want something faster and more reliable than SATA, you can go for SAS or FC, and perhaps increase the drive speed, but the cost will increase as a consequence.
If you put the drive into a chassis, you can add more cost covering the cost of the chassis. The chassis may give you more reliability; perhaps RAID, perhaps hot removable drives
Push the price higher to a modular array and you get more features; write/read cache, higher quality power supplies, UPS/battery backup.
Higher priced arrays may also come with other features; web-based management, sync/async replication; snapshots. You’ll also get better connectivity; FC rather than iSCSI or NAS; active/passive multipathing.
Then there’s enterprise arrays; more reliability; more scalability; more data protection via predictive failure, automated drive swap/replacement; call home, additional monitoring, predictive performance algorithms, multi-host connectivity; active-active multipathing, thin provisioning, snapshots, clones, multiprotocol support, tiered storage, SSDs.
So you can see, as the prices go up, so does availability, performance, scalability, reliability.
I think that pretty much sums it up; you get what you pay for. However the key is making sure you’re not paying for stuff you don’t need; only a small percentage of servers need high performance access. High availability can be achieved without the expense of high performance; costs can be reduced by using modular products and space reducing features like thin provisioning and archiving.
Don’t pay for what you don’t need.