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The pitfalls of miscalculating enterprise storage needs

Johannesburg, 16 Oct 2023
Sanette Wehmeyer, Sales Executive, InfoTech.
Sanette Wehmeyer, Sales Executive, InfoTech.

Enterprise storage is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Failing to choose storage that meets long-term business needs can result in unexpected costs and challenges in future.

This is according to Sanette Wehmeyer, Sales Executive at InfoTech, who says many organisations do not fully understand the importance of customising storage according to their unique requirements.

“It's essential to strike a balance between performance, scalability, budget constraints and other considerations that matter most to your business,” she says. “For example, many organisations don’t realise it may be more cost-effective for them to separate storage for production data, archive data, backup data and their development or QA environment data.

“Organisations can also encounter unexpected costs and infrastructure challenges when they run out of storage capacity halfway through a contract, because they failed to provision enough for their growth,” she says.

Wehmeyer says: “Choosing the wrong enterprise storage solution can have significant negative consequences.”

She outlines a number of issues and challenges that could arise as a result of choosing the wrong solution:

  1. Poor performance: If the storage solution does not meet the performance requirements of applications and workloads, it can lead to slow response times, latency issues and decreased productivity. This can directly impact business operations and user satisfaction.
  2. Data loss: Inadequate data protection mechanisms or unreliable storage hardware can result in data loss due to hardware failures, human errors or security breaches. This can have severe legal, financial and reputational implications.
  3. Downtime and unavailability: A storage system that lacks redundancy and failover capabilities may experience frequent downtime, causing disruptions to critical services and processes. This can result in lost revenue and damaged customer relationships.
  4. Scalability challenges: Choosing a storage solution that doesn't scale easily can lead to capacity constraints and the need for costly and disruptive storage migrations or upgrades as the organisation grows.
  5. Increased costs: An inefficient or overpriced storage solution can result in higher operational and maintenance costs, negatively impacting the organisation's budget and financial stability.
  6. Vendor lock-in: Selecting a proprietary or vendor-specific storage solution may lock the organisation into a particular vendor's ecosystem, making it challenging to switch to alternative solutions or negotiate favourable pricing.
  7. Incompatibility: If the storage solution doesn't integrate well with existing IT infrastructure, compatibility issues may occur, leading to operational inefficiencies and increased complexity.
  8. Security risks: Inadequate security features and vulnerabilities in the storage solution can expose data to threats like unauthorised access, data breaches and ransomware attacks.
  9. Compliance violations: Failing to choose a storage solution that meets industry-specific compliance requirements (eg, GDPR, HIPAA) can result in legal penalties and reputational damage.
  10. Inefficient data management: Poorly chosen storage may not support effective data management practices, leading to difficulties in data classification, retrieval and archiving. This can hinder analytics and reporting efforts.
  11. Limited support and resources: If the vendor lacks adequate support, updates and resources for the storage solution, you may struggle to resolve issues, apply patches and keep the system up to date.
  12. User frustration: Slow access to data and frequent outages can frustrate end-users, impacting their productivity and satisfaction. It can also lead to increased IT support requests.
  13. Project delays: Choosing the wrong storage solution can lead to project delays and missed deadlines, impacting the roll-out of critical IT initiatives.
  14. Loss of competitive edge: In today's data-driven business landscape, inefficient storage can hinder your organisation's ability to innovate and compete effectively in the market.
  15. Lack of flexibility: A rigid storage solution may not adapt well to changing business needs and technology trends, making it difficult to embrace new opportunities and strategies.

To mitigate these risks, it's essential to thoroughly assess your organisation's storage requirements, perform diligent research and testing, involve key stakeholders and select a storage solution that aligns with your long-term business goals and IT strategy. Regularly monitor and review your storage infrastructure to ensure it continues to meet your evolving needs and make necessary adjustments as needed.

Wehmeyer says InfoTech’s approach is to run a comprehensive, free needs assessment and growth projection for each business before recommending storage that will align with the organisation’s needs and budget for the next three to five years. InfoTech’s model also provides flexibility and predictable costs, with elastic pricing that allows customers to pay for storage with a combination of capex and opex. IT managers can self-provision additional base or burst capacity at any time without fees or penalties, to balance the conflicting demands of flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

She explains: “Customers take delivery of a fully configured storage unit, but only pay for the base capacity they need initially. If they need more capacity, they simply self-provision more and are billed for it in the next monthly cycle, or just add more base capacity. Customers benefit from the full performance and reliability of the system from the day it is installed and configured.”