Rob Commins is VP of Marketing for Tegile.
In business, data is everything. It guides every decision your organization makes, your relationship with your customers and the value that your business offers. And with the world’s push toward real-time analytics and predictive modeling capabilities, flash storage arrays are becoming an increasingly crucial aspect of any business.
The good news is that storage vendors know this. In the last few years, we’ve seen an intense commoditization of storage arrays. While there are certainly differences between products (and these differences do matter to IT departments), they all tell a similar story: Storage technology is getting faster and cheaper.
With the technology playing field is now evening out, customer support programs from vendors will become even more crucial. Many companies are coming out with new customer care initiatives, offering everything from free upgrades to replacing your equipment altogether.
It can get quite confusing. Here are the five questions you need to ask your vendor about support prior to a purchase:
What Performance Guarantees Do They Provide?
It’s one thing if your vendor sells the speeds and feeds you are looking for. But will they deliver it? Enterprise storage arrays are not cheap and are an increasingly crucial investment for a business. It is extremely important that your vendor will not only support you in the long run; but also that it will deliver the performance that you require.
Do They Help Turn CAPEX Into OPEX?
Historically, expansion and maintenance of storage has always been a capital expenditure. If your business grew fast, your IT team needed to upgrade your physical goods to keep up with your growth.
In today’s real-time world, this is impractical and unacceptable. Make sure your vendor has a program in place that ensures perpetual upgrades that do not interrupt the flow of your organization.
Are Upgrades Non-disruptive?
Many vendors have different types of strategies to ensure the operational value of your array. Some will continuously make upgrades for you, akin to replacing the engine or other parts of the hood of your car; others will give you a brand new equipment after a set number of years.
Which plan is better will largely depend on your company’s own situation and business goals. The most important thing is that however your vendor runs their customer support program, it is non-disruptive to your IT processes.
Is There An Expiration Date?
An investment in storage arrays is a long-term one. While eventually all equipment has to be replaced, businesses need to ask if their customer care program will last the estimated length of the equipment. Check and make sure that, if there is a deadline, it makes sense with your expense cycles and forecasts.
What Is The Upgrade Timeframe?
Different vendors will have different approaches to this: Some will automatically provide a refresh to your arrays after a certain number of years, others will allow you to choose your own timeline, based on your business and capacity expansion needs.
No matter which style you choose, make sure your data center technology plans accordingly.
Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Penton.