Moves by EMC and HP to introduce metered storage services, conceptually similar to IBM’s utility computing, are encouraging, says IDC Australia storage specialist Graham Penn.
“It shows vendors are prepared to understand what customers’ real business needs are and do something about it.”
However, the idea isn’t totally new.
“In a sense, IBM got there first and Sun has been working on a similar strategy.”
EMC last week unveiled Open-Scale, which meters customers’ use of storage devices and reports back to EMC, who, under the model, then bills the customer.
OpenScale utilises another EMC product, the Collector, a server or workstation installed on the customer’s premises.
The Collector polls storage devices, servers, applications and databases on the customer’s premises at hourly intervals, sends the results to a data warehouse at EMC, where it is analysed and bills compiled on the basis of usage patterns.
HP has a metering product, not officially announced as of last week, and an alternative called Capacity on Demand for Storage-Works Financing.
As its lengthy title suggests, the latter service allows users to lease storage capacity in increments as demand increases.
Penn says such products “will meet a need for the future, not now and not necessarily in small countries like New Zealand”.
However, in larger enterprises with lots of files and documents that need to be kept long term, such as medical files, it will be used, he says.
“They’ll say ‘we’re a medical organisation, not a storage one and we’ll pay someone else [to manage the storage].”
Metered storage as per the EMC and HP models is a case of vendors wanting to take part in building customers’ new server and storage infrastructure so that they support the whole organisation “and sell them a bit of hardware now and then”.
Storage metering will be relatively easy in environments homogenous with one vendor’s products, “but doing it on a third party’s equipment won’t be so easy.
“There are changes and integration involved, but it’s not impossible.”