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Does Open Source Resolve the Storage Dilemma?
By Peter Lees, Chief Technologist, SUSE Asia Pacific
As such, what are some approaches to incorporating open source storage as part of your business strategy? Maintain multiple storage vendors While it can be tempting to take hold of a vendor’s short and medium-term pricing strategy by placing all of your business with them and generating operational simplicity in the process with one set of storage tools and processes, you could be playing poker with your storage budget and gambling that your vendor partners will not punish you with price hikes later. Pay attention to the Cloud war Amazon unquestionably currently has the lead in adoption over Microsoft Azure and Google Compute. Nevertheless, everyone knows that Amazon is playing a ‘long game’ of profit tomorrow, not today. Hence, many have a foot in Azure or Google Compute, even when they have a leg in AWS because there must be an exit plan. But this comes with a price—and that price is operational complexity—a price that can be particularly high in the world of storage, where the new pricing models can be about how much data you move down the wire rather than how much you own. Maintain and expand your skill sets to avoid lockdown It’s tempting to reduce complexity by standardizing on a small set of suppliers. The upside is that you get simplicity— one approach to the storage means it’s easy to train staff, some are no longer necessary in a cloud scenario, and arguably, you can get on with that ‘core business’ proprietary vendors love to tell you about of serving customers. However, the downside is if you don’t know how to exit AWS to move to Azure without crippling operations or if you don’t know how much it costs to repatriate data, and if you've got nowhere to put it when you do, you are locked down and at the mercy of suppliers. Use open source software-defined storage — or pay more If you use only cloud or only proprietary software, your software and hardware costs will always be greater than they need to be. This is a simple fact. Open source means costs savings from moving to commodity hardware, and the total elimination of proprietary software costs. Proprietary storage vendors will tell you, rightly, that cost can reappear as skilled headcount, consultancy, and support. But then, if you don’t have a skilled headcount, how are you going to maintain your capability to switch cloud providers, and how are you going to assess which vendors to use? By researching your options thoroughly, consider open source software-defined storage, as it can provide organizations with a highly scalable solution that drastically reduces storage costs in both capital cost and operation expenditure while providing greater adaptability and simplicity in the management of your storage environment.