Choosing a new primary storage solution can be a challenge for any organization. Aside from selecting a product set that will provide the capacity and performance you require -- a difficult task on its own -- you also need to consider how difficult the product will be to manage on a day-to-day basis.
Storage products' management software provides the lion's share of differentiating value. Whether you're talking about more complex features such as site-to-site replication or simple stuff such as being able to schedule snapshots or clone a volume for a test environment, all those features are essentially software features. The trouble is that very few potential customers ever get to run these features through their paces to get a feeling for how easy they are to manage and how much value they provide.
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The result is that new primary storage owners invariably discover that something they just bought doesn't quite do what they thought it did. At best, this means that you may have to change your approach to a given problem -- perhaps by writing a script with vendor-provided API tools that will run on a schedule to perform a repetitive maintenance task instead of just being able to handle the scheduling through the management GUI. At worst, you may have just spent a pretty penny on a product that simply doesn't do what you thought it did or realized afterward that there was an expensive license you needed and weren't sold. That's a position nobody likes to find themselves in and is challenging to completely avoid.
The traditional way for a new customer to learn this sort of information from a prospective vendor is through a demonstration. The vendor might invite you to a lab to get your hands on it or, if you're lucky, might come to your site and set it up for you and let you kick it around the block for a while. That's great, but how much can you really learn in a few hours while you have a vendor looking over your shoulder pointing out all of the strengths of its product?