When you buy storage solutions on price alone

Most people won’t bat an eye buying a car. It is a status symbol for many, but the value of the work returned from the car to the cost of buying the car is a great disparity. Furthermore, the price of the car depreciates quickly, making the “investment” more like an act of losing money fast.

So the story begins. When it comes to buying a storage technology platform, the initial price on the quote more or less decide the outcome. The reply of “Too expensive!” with little consideration about the returns of certain values relative to the initial buying price is far too frequent and plenty.

There has to be more considerations about these values. Here are in buying a storage technology platform besides just the initial price.


One recent conversation was about Intel® Optane™ vs NAND Flash. An well-known online eCommerce proprietor in South East Asia decided to go against the grain, and went for the more “expensive” Optane™ instead of the getting an array of NAND Flash NVMe SSDs.

As you can see from the results below, the initial buying price of Intel® Optane™ is hard to justify because the NVMe SSDs would have been much cheaper. However,  the “expensive” cost of Optane™ turned out to be more valuable because the eCommerce company was able gain tremendously which translated to a more sustained low latency and a significant response time to the thousands of hits they get per-minute on their websites.

Intel Optane performance prowess over NVMe NAND Flash SSD

Seamless workflow integration

Have you ever had the feeling that you are “in the zone“? Everything feels right, and every moment clicks from one to another. In the end, your heartbeat becomes one, and  the outcome is pure bliss.

IT supports the business workflow, the development pipeline. And it is absolutely critical to connect up different segments of the business effectively and efficiently, and the storage platform plays a big part of that workflow. The data, the files, the folders in a NAS (network attached storage) link to create the sharing and collaborative environments. Read more about the data pipeline in storage in my previous blog:

In the testimony video below, Clockwork9 shares the bliss of collaborative workflow from the seamless technology integration of the iXsystems™ TrueNAS® M40HA system to their business environment.

The TrueNAS® that Clockwork9 invested in is likely to be costlier than their previous storage array (mentioned in the video above), but solving the challenges of inefficiencies and disruptions to the workflow negates the price as the only factor of buying a storage technology. The returns for Clockwork9 are faster delivery of projects, better quality of work, and stronger business trust to their customers.


Many years ago, I once met a company where they have 4 different “cheap” firewalls. Every time they encounter some vulnerabilities or heard about some hacks, the company owner would go and buy a cheap firewall from a “trusted advisor”. First of all, it was ignorance but the owner thought he was making his network as secure as possible. Secondly, his philosophy was get the cheapest one in the market. The result was horrendous and their network access was extremely poor.

At the same time, I have seen many companies opting for the cheap NAS in the market. And these NAS have their security vulnerabilities because of uneven software development. Security has a cost, and unfortunately the consequences of a security breach has an even higher cost. In fact, it could cripple or devastate the entire business.

Experience and Support

Often end users like to cut corners after seeing the initial price on the quote. Support is reduced to the minimum, consulting is cut most likely, and training is never needed.

Unfortunately, these 2 components are crucial in extracting the best value of the storage technology platform.

Price is based on the problem

There is a considerable amount of truth to the saying “You get what you paid for“. Everything has a price, and the value exchanged in return for a peace of mind, a good sleep, a delighted customer is the price to pay.

If the work gets done faster with a higher quality, the essence of the customer experience is greatly enhanced. Storage is at the heart of data, files and content for every organization, and believe me, there are many more values returned besides just the buying price alone. You just need someone who has the experience to show you.

What I have written are some of my experiences over the years. It is not to degrade the buyer’s buying decisions, but far too often, the conversation to discuss about buying a storage platform starts and ends with initial buying price alone. And these happen too quickly as well.

I read a posting from a guy in the FreeNAS® community some time back where he complained that his FreeNAS® was running sluggishly. When asked, he said he had an Intel® Core 2 Duo with 4GB of RAM. Many advised him to upgrade, but he did not want to spend the money. I chuckled at the comments and his replies, and at the back of my mind, “You get what you paid for“.

Buying on price

In the end, the opportunity to better returns, better outcomes is washed away because the initial buying price alone determined everything. Solution has a premium.

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About cfheoh

I am a technology blogger with 30 years of IT experience. I write heavily on technologies related to storage networking and data management because those are my areas of interest and expertise. I introduce technologies with the objectives to get readers to know the facts and use that knowledge to cut through the marketing hypes, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and other fancy stuff. Only then, there will be progress. I am involved in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and between 2013-2015, I was SNIA South Asia & SNIA Malaysia non-voting representation to SNIA Technical Council. I currently employed at iXsystems as their General Manager for Asia Pacific Japan.

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