Thursday, November 01, 2007

"I paid too much for it, but it's worth it." Samuel Goldwyn

I was visiting with some customers in North Carolina for the last couple of days and each of them is very satisfied with their current NetApp hardware but they are experiencing indigestion when they look at what it will cost to buy new NetApp equipment.

One customer is looking at purchasing a PACS system for their medical image archive, but they are quite concerned about the cost of software and hardware from EMC and NetApp. Most of the medical image archive systems we have seen over the last year or two don't seem to use much processor and have very low OPS requirements. That is because the nature of a medical image is to be looked at soon after it was taken and then exponentially looked at less and less over time, unless there is a lawsuit or a research project a few years after the image was taken it probably will never be looked at again. So why keep these images on energy eating spinning disk?

What this type of client wants is a stable system that can be supported for the long term, 10 years into the future or more. But the storage array manufacturers they have spoken to so far want to put them on the 24 month or 36 month upgrade cycle. Over ten years that means at least a few data migrations which are quite costly. But these clients also need to know what is it going to cost to keep all these disks powered up over ten years? And where can they get a accurate reports on how SATA disks will hold up for a ten year life span?

Maintaining images on near line disk storage is going to get costly as these archives grow. Someone needs to address the costs of power and the failure rates of drives and electrical components over the long term. Where will the storage archive manager get a 300 GB SATA drive 9 or 10 years from now when one of his disks fails?

How many 10 year old NetApp filers are still running? It is hard to get certain power supply parts for the NetApp F630 which are ten years old. We have heard that NetApp doesn't ship 10K 72GB drives anymore. What makes people think these manufacturers will support 10 year old image archive equipment?

No comments: