Strategic and tactical thinking about your storage infrastructure.

When you consider your enterprise storage strategic plan do you consider a ROI of three years, or five years? What does your vendor consider the term of their strategic alliance to be? What happens to your service and support budget and QOS if your chosen vendors’ agreement falls apart with their suddenly not so strategic partner? What happens if a vendor cancels support after 18 months for the product you just purchased?

Many enterprise storage companies face this problem, and when the vendors say that the only choice is to upgrade and spend even more money, and get an even more proprietary solution, customers often agree to the upgrade because they see no other solution. But there are other viable solutions, and avoiding vendor lock in is an enterprise customer’s best defense.

I was at a conference recently in Tampa, and I was speaking to some managers of big data centers, every one of them was interested in how to avoid vendor lock in. Each of them had a nightmare story about their storage vendor and hidden lock in costs. We had a great discussion about the different tactics there are to fight vendor lock in. Fighting vendor lock in starts at the negotiations stage, but it is very important that you add addendum’s to the vendor’s RTU (Right To Use) license agreement and also make certain your PO reflects the special changes you want starting with the right to a transferable license and the right to use third party support without any changes to your warranty. Tactically you can save tens of thousands of dollars at purchase, but strategically you can save hundreds of thousands by negotiating aggressively with your storage manufacturer.

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