By Shawn Smucker
If you’ve bought a new car recently, you likely did not consider the total cost of ownership as part of your selection process. You probably did not ask the dealer about the total cost of oil changes, new tires and wiper blade replacements for the next five years. If you liked the car, the price was right and the payments worked – done deal!
When businesses are considering IT solution spending, though, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is an absolutely critical aspect of the decision-making process. The hard and soft costs of IT solutions go way beyond the initial purchase price.
At the micro level, every business has its own list of data points used to analyze TCO. But at the macro level we can all agree on three main TCO considerations:
- Acquisition and deployment expenses;
- Ongoing operating expenses; and
- Replacement and long-term expenses
Let’s look at how a scale-out infrastructure can reduce the TCO for each of these considerations over a traditional scale-up infrastructure.
Hidden costs of acquisition and deployment
Building a scale-up data management infrastructure is a complicated, time-consuming project. After selecting your software, you need to piece together the servers, OSes and storage needed to support the software. After you have purchased all the individual pieces and parts, you are faced with weeks or months of deployment and configuration.
A software-defined, scale-out infrastructure like Commvault HyperScaleTM Technology streamlines the entire process. The software layer is an integrated, cohesive solution with all functionality – including OS and file system – in a single package. Requiring only bare-metal general purpose storage servers, the actual deployment and configuration can be completed in just hours.
The drain on staff and ongoing operating expenses
After your scale-up infrastructure is finally deployed, tuned and tweaked, your staff is tasked with learning and managing the different interfaces for each of these point products. Lacking a unified framework, there is no easy method for quickly and accurately determining the status and health of the environment. Troubleshooting issues become a complicated process of determining which of pieces of the architecture are involved.
Commvault HyperScale is built around a single framework simplifying day-to-day operations. Your staff has just one interface to learn and manage. From this single interface, they have complete visibility to the status of the entire solution. Issues in a software-defined infrastructure can be easily identified – it is either software or hardware related – and quickly resolved.
Replacement and long-term expenses
As your scale-up infrastructure reaches its End-of-Life (EOL), you are faced with two choices: continue operations with aging, unsupported hardware or replace everything with the newest technology. Even if you were to continue with the aging hardware, eventually you would need to replace it with new technology. Not only does this start the extensive evaluation, acquisition and deployment process over again, but now you are adding the exposure to data loss or corruption from the forklift upgrade to the new infrastructure.
Commvault HyperScaleprovides an evergreen solution that eliminates the risks of aging hardware and forklift upgrades. New hardware is cycled into the infrastructure, and old cycled out, with no exposure to data loss or corruption. With no re-deployment, no re-architecting and no outages, you can continue on with business as usual for years to come.
When comparing scale-up infrastructure to scale-out, in the context of TCO, it’s easy to see how scale-out comes out the winner (refer to 10 Benefits to Using Scale-out Infrastructure for Secondary Storage). You will spend less time finding the right solution, and less time deploying and configuring, getting you operational faster. You will be able to leverage general purpose storage servers rather than special purpose point products for the infrastructure. Your staff will spend less time managing the solution and have greater insight and control. You will have an evergreen infrastructure using the latest technologies that grows with you.
Taken together, I believe scale-out offers significant financial advantages over traditional scale-up.