Hu Yoshida: Avoid Buying More Storage Than You Need Today

InsightaaS: “Avoid buying storage” is unusual guidance from a senior executive at a storage company, but Hu Yosida, publisher of Hu’s Blog, is known for being an independent thinker. Posts in his blog generally contain a mix of Hitachi-focused content and Hu’s thoughts on broader industry issues, and this is the case here as well, where Hu offers guidance on how to avoid over-investment in storage and institute methods of aligning capacity with demand, and then uses Hitachi products to illustrate important trends in the underlying technology.

Many data centers purchase storage infrastructure on a 3 to 5 year depreciation cycle. The problem with buying storage this way is that you have to buy more than you need for the first few years. These data centers have to over provision their storage requirements with capacity that is declining in price by about 24% per year. In 3 to 5 years when they are ready to use this capacity on the storage system technology that they purchased back then, new technology is already available to make storage systems even more efficient than before.  The decisions that they made 3 -5 years ago are still carried on the books as depreciation.

Some of the reasons for doing this are that it is too disruptive to add incremental capacity from a procurement and operational perspective. Another concern is that the capacity that you add 3 to 4 years into the cycle will need to be replaced with new technology before it can be depreciated.

Prior to the end of the depreciation cycle, data centers must plan for the migration to the next technology cycle. As storage systems became larger and larger, with an increasing number of applications and servers, the migration time where you have both the old and new storage systems sitting on the floor gets longer and longer. This is another form of over buying that is required for migration or technology refresh.

Data centers are well aware of the cost of over buying and are seeking ways to eliminate it…

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