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Is Utility Storage for Your Organization?
Posted on 3/7/2012 by Asif Qureshi, Storage Product Manager

The answer depends on what your short and long term technology goals are. Before delving into the goals, let’s explore what utility storage is.

Most of the utility storage programs, offered today are not pure utility based. This means that you have to commit to some sort of a minimum for some period of time, which makes these programs more of storage-on-demand than utility based. The only way today to get pure utility based storage is to get it along with the cloud compute environment like CBTS Virtual Data Center.

Even though utility storage may not be pure utility, are there still some very compelling reasons to go this route? Utility storage or storage-on-demand will work well for your organization if:

  • Your organization likes to stay capital light. The provider is usually responsible for the capital investment and after the minimum commitment, you can increase or decrease storage as needed.
  • You don’t want to purchase four years’ worth of storage on day one. Typically cost of disk goes down year after year. So why pay now for all the capacity you are going to need in year four? Storage on-demand gives you the flexibility to buy capacity when you need it.
  • You don’t want to pay a hefty price for technology refresh or support renewals. At the end of the first contract, you simply sign up for another term, renegotiate your per GB price, and let the service provider be responsible for the refresh.

Another concept around utility storage is managed utility storage. This type of service adds value to already flexible utility storage services.

In a managed utility storage service, all you buy is storage, along with performance and availability SLA (service level agreement). At that point, you have the ability to grow and reduce your storage consumption as needed. In the meantime, all other storage related responsibilities are offloaded to the service provider. Often the service provider will bundle the cost of storage and related services, and provide you with one monthly bill.

The worry of hiring and retaining qualified staff, maintaining support contracts, and validating the storage architecture disappears. The service provider will also become first point of contact for break-fix and will coordinate with the manufacturer for any hardware replacement. Depending on the service agreement and defined SLA, the service provider now takes on the day-to-day storage allocation, management and monitoring tasks, which means your team can focus on strategic projects to meet the growing business needs. 

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