When replacing an aging storage array, storage vendors all to often focus the conversation around cost per GB and avoid the true cost associated with replacing and migrating storage systems.  At the end of the day, you are forced to look at total cost of ownership and the pain of having to replace an aging array.  Nobody likes to have this conversation because it means many long nights, additional work, and in some cases having to hire contractors to perform work that your organization just doesn’t have time to deal with.


David Floyer, co-founder and CTO of Wikibon recently published an article (http://www.storagenewsletter.com/rubriques/market-reportsresearch/cost-of-storage-array-migration-in-2014-wikibon/) where he asserts something many IT Managers have know for years: the cost of migrating a storage array adds an additional 54% to the original cost of the array.


Storage migration is nothing new.  Systems get old, they fall out of warranty, they are written off the books, and it’s time to move onto bigger and better technology, even if it is with the same vendor. Well, buying a new storage array isn’t like buying a new car. You don’t switch license plates, move your ice scraper, and hang a new air freshener. No, the fact is, you have to spend months developing a migration strategy, coordinating maintenance windows, and hoping that data isn’t lost.  Every long-term storage customer has to deal with this…or do they?


One of the key value propositions often overlooked with SolidFire is its highly available, shared nothing architecture. Yeah, it’s awesome when it comes to self healing; and adding nodes on the fly without any downtime is a huge benefit; not to mention seamless, maintenance-free upgrades. All well and good, but the sweetest feature that will bring you an additional 54% savings happens at the end of life.


With SolidFire, the life of data is no longer tied to the life of the array, and generational / forklift upgrades are a thing of the past.

SolidFire’s Mixed Cluster Support allows you to intermix different storage nodes, regardless of the age, capacity, CPU or memory of the node.  Combine this with our dynamic scale-out architecture, which of course scales-out but also scales back, and now you and your CFO can put IT dollars and resources exactly where and when they want them. Additionally, Mixed Node Cluster Support also allows you to change the performance and capacity trajectory of your storage infrastructure over time simply through the addition of new nodes with new capabilities:


So how does SolidFire eliminate the additional 54% cost associated with migrating to a new array? Pretty simply actually. First, new nodes are added to the cluster without application interruption or downtime.  Then, when you are ready, simply evacuate the old node(s) in question, and you are done! No application downtime, no data migration, no rebalancing, no reconfiguration of QoS settings. You simply add new nodes to the system and take the old ones away – all configurations and settings remain the same.


In the parlance of David Floyer of Wikibon:

  • No need to buy ahead of demand
  • No need for pricy consultants to migrate your data
  • No need to tune / optimize for performance
  • No need to keep old units on hand incase things don’t go well
  • No need to pay maintenance fees on two storage environments with the same data, and
  • No need to test the new systems to prove things are working as advertised

SolidFire continues to change the paradigm of storage management within the Next Generation Data Center. Want to learn more about SolidFire’s shared nothing, mixed clustered architecture? Now’s your chance: http://www.solidfire.com/storage-system/scale-out/

Rob Gordon

Rob has over 15 years of experience in the service provider and storage industries. Prior to SolidFire, Rob was the Technical Director for Storage Architecture at Savvis/Centurylink focused on engineering storage products. Prior to Savvis, Rob served as International Director for Storage and IT for Daleen Technologies and as a Sales Engineer with HP, Avnet, and OfficeMax. At SolidFire, Rob is charged with providing in-depth technical reinforcement for global account teams and key customer accounts.