Post of the Day
November 27, 2000

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Network Appliance

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Subject:  Back to Reality
Author:  jbgbbs

Hello Fellow NTAP'ers (and EMC'ers who read these boards). As you may know I have posted here before relating my REAL LIFE experience with both company's products as a systems application developer / architect (not a systems admin techie).

My experience leads me to believe that the issues which have been discussed in the past thread regarding the degree of fail safe / redundant / "bullet-proof" data storage between EMC and NTAP are comparing apples to oranges in the context of how each type of system is used in REAL LIFE.

No doubt, EMC provides kick-butt fail safe storage at a premium price. This storage is PRIMARILY used to store a company's mission-critical data. Data such as Customer account information, product manufacturing information, etc. This is information which must be available 24 x 7 and must be "bullet proof" storage. The majority of this data is stored in large Oracle / DB2 databases. Let's call this "primary data".

Then there's other information which may not be so "mission critical" (important, yes - mission critical - no) like weekly / monthly sales report information, expense report information, consolidation of financial spreadsheet information, engineering drawings, etc. Now this type of information doesn't need to be stored on "bullet proof" storage. Yes, it should be safe and secure - but does it really need to be on the mission critical data storage devices? Let's call this "secondary data".

Please remember what is being referred to when discussing storage of "secondary data". I am referring to processing data bits at lightening speed and being able to ensure that they are permanently stored on the disk. I am not referring to a sales transaction which takes about a millisecond to process and therefore if the disk fails in the middle of the transaction the user is not really sure if the transaction was actually recorded or not. What I am referring to with "secondary data" is data which can be uploaded / stored as a large unit (a digitized movie, a large spreadsheet, an engineering drawing file, etc.) and you know whether it "got there" in one piece or not. Once there, it can be backed up and should be good "forever".

IT management must make the determination considering storage budget constraints and equipment footprint - and often attempts to get the most bang for the buck. If an IT manager can store the "not-so-mission-critical" secondary data on NTAP filers for one-third the price (and still have pretty darn good fail-safe features) then they can still pony up the big bucks to store the mission critical primary data for the Oracle / DB2 databases on EMC.

So, I see "mission critical" data storage applications growing as more and more companies implement "data warehouses". A consolidated storage space where management can aggregate sales and/or purchasing transactions and analyze them for strategic direction (OLAP - On-line Analytical Processing).

But, I also see a tremendous demand for use of secondary storage. Based on my observations, maybe there is a slight advantage to the lower-cost (NTAP) storage solution due to economies of scale and the types of "secondary data" which are also currently being deployed online (not the mission-critical type). Rich (secondary) data types such as video on demand, interactive / on-line training, on-line availability of engineering drawings, etc. will also eat up storage at an alarming rate.

So, my experience tells me that there is a real need for both storage solutions going forward and I have a very significant portion of my portfolio in both EMC and NTAP.

So, Let's just both get along!! It will be a much happier and more fun party if we do.

Fool On! and hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

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