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Each of these factors will affect the cost of storage and the expected cost reductions. Some might say the answer will be Flash, but both Jeff Layton and I have detailed why this will not be the case in his recent article on Flash density and my take on why SSDs won’t replace traditional spinning disk. Like it or not, hard drives are going to make up the bulk of any large data storage requirement. So how does this all impact budgeting for storage costs?
Storage Budgeting Impacts
If you take the technology into account there are good reasons why costs do not go down in a linear fashion. In addition, anyone doing storage planning needs to consider that the cost of disk drives often accounts for the majority of the cost of the storage infrastructure. Ten years ago when disk drives cost more than $50 per GB, the cost of power was a small part of the overall cost. Today power can cost as much as one-tenth or even one-fifteenth of the overall cost of storage. Because current perpendicular recording technology is at its density limit, adding disk drives can be very costly, given the cascade for all of the things needed to support additional drives. There is no way that I can imagine that the cost per byte of storage will continue to drop on the same slope it was dropping back in 2006 or 2008 because it is not on that slope today. Storage density improvements are going to take far longer until new technology enters the market in 2013 or 2014, and that will increase the cost. Since the biggest single cost item for storage is disk drives, you will need to change your cost models to take into account both the lack of density increases and the additional costs within the infrastructure. The bottom line is that you are going to need to have to plan on budgeting more than you likely though you would need.
Henry Newman, CEO and CTO of Instrumental, Inc., and a regular Enterprise Storage Forum contributor, is an industry consultant with 29 years experience in high-performance computing and storage.
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