Blog10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Storage Array Vendors

Data Storage - Advanced Systems Group -

Improving the speed and responsiveness of critical applications has become more paramount today than ever before. Time to value is a key performance indicator of stakeholder satisfaction so ensuring efficiency and performance is important when evaluating storage systems.

For three years in a row, Gartner has put NetApp in the Magic Quadrant for solid-state arrays and positioned the company as a leader. According to Gartner, by 2021 solid-state arrays (SSAs) that use Nonvolatile Memory Express (NVMe) internally will represent more than 30 percent of revenue—up from less than 1 percent in 2017.

While it’s nice to have endorsements, you still need to do your homework when evaluating storage arrays. Gartner released a report – Top 10 Must-Ask Questions When Evaluating Solid-State Storage Arrays – that I often refer to when evaluating storage options. These are great questions to ask your potential vendor:

  1. Should you consider an emerging SSA vendor? While emerging vendors may offer a nuance that established vendors might not have, is it worth the inherent risks associated with a non-established solution?
  2. Is this SSA vendor viable? Besides Gartner, be sure to check other third-party analysts for review. StorageReview, as example, just awarded the NetApp EF570 as a 2018 Editor’s Choice Award winner (“… the EF570 blows away everything we’ve seen.)
  3. What is the product roadmap and vendor direction? Where is the vendor heading in terms of innovation, product development and investment, and support?
  4. What impacts do compression and deduplication have on native system performance? Does the SSA provide user-selectable compression and deduplication? Are data reduction capabilities delivered inline or post-process?
  5. How can your SSA architecture ensure performance guarantees for multiple and mixed workloads over the install life of the SSA?
  6. Is there a single point of failure (SPOF) in the SSA, and what are the availability guarantees? Be sure to look for built-in protections.
  7. How long does it take to install and train personnel, and how easy is it to use and manage the SSA?
  8. What is the raw, usable and effective pricing per GB?
  9. What is the support and maintenance cost compared to the total SSA cost? Maintenance and support costs can add up.
  10. Can the support and maintenance contract be fixed or extended without very high expansion or renewal costs?

Asking these questions and using proven, established IT consultants can help simplify and shorten the purchasing cycles for your storage needs while addressing your current pain points.

About the Author

Dustin Smith

Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist

Throughout his twenty-five year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist at ASG, Dustin uses his advanced understanding of cloud compute models to help customers develop and align their cloud strategies with their business objectives. His master-level engineering knowledge spans storage, systems, and networking.