Is cheap disk storage really cheap?

Unbelievably inexpensive networked storage options have emerged, but the saying 'you get what you pay for' still applies

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Well, who is supporting it? If a dedicated IT resource is on the payroll -- a somewhat unusual occurrence in small businesses -- that person may be well-suited to recover from a storage failure. Or not. If not, there's a good chance they will pick up the phone and call in some kind of outside contract help to diagnose the problem and work out a solution. Assuming that process takes a day or two, that cost could easily dwarf the cost of the storage device that just failed.

And who is depending on the storage? In our example, our 60 insurance agents and support staff suddenly have no access to most of the information they need to do their jobs. If a customer calls, they may have no idea what policies the customer has or how to resolve claims. In this sort of business, productivity will plummet to perhaps 10 to 20 percent of a normal day and cause the business significant embarrassment with customers. Suddenly, it starts to look as if the prospect of a one- or two-day outage might justify the cost of an enterprise device.

So be careful when you venture into the land of low-cost storage. Take a hard look at what your storage will be used for -- and how it's going to get fixed when it breaks -- before you congratulate yourself for saving a dump truck full of money. Sometimes, the dump truck you know is better than the one you never saw coming until it ran you over.

This story, "Is cheap disk storage really cheap?," was originally published at Read more of Matt Prigge's Information Overload blog and follow the latest developments in storage at

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