IT Brand Pulse Evaluates the Cost of Disk Backup Solutions: SUSE Software Defined Storage Rises to the Top | SUSE Communities

IT Brand Pulse Evaluates the Cost of Disk Backup Solutions: SUSE Software Defined Storage Rises to the Top


There’s a concept in marketing known as ‘slippage’. It’s the difference between the price you pay for something upfront, and the cost of running it or continuing to use it. The price of a car vs the price per mile you drive – what it costs to fill the tank, tax, service and maintain. The buyer often starts with a low cost expectation from a special offer ($$$$$ off asking price!), but, over time ends up shelling out rather a lot more than expected; that cheap printer with the expensive ink comes to mind.

The modern marketing classic is TV streaming subscriptions – they start with a ‘half price’ offer, or a ‘free trial’, but always require you to put your bank card details in to access the trial. ‘If you like it, stay’, says the provider, ‘if you don’t, cancel’. Many customers forget they have taken a trial until they see their bank statements – they have ‘slipped’. Now of course cancelling your streaming service is easy – a few clicks on a web page. Changing your enterprise storage is rather more costly – but that hasn’t stopped marketers from applying the slippage principle.

SUSE has long positioned itself as the most cost effective solution in market for very large data stores on disk, online for ready access for analytics in the data lake. However, the use of those ever-present ‘slippage’ marketing messages muddies the waters. TCO maths can be difficult to do just by skimming websites and technical specs, and unsurprisingly, the more expensive vendors aren’t actually all that keen on you – the buyer – toting it all up properly as the resulting – and large – cost differences would inevitably affect your decisions. Instead they’d rather keep you focused on their trustworthy name badge: ‘concentrate on these shiny alloys’ they say, and misdirect you away from the eye-watering cost of new tyres and filling the tank; this stuff, like the famous Stella Artois ads, is ‘reassuringly expensive; and peddles the same old ‘nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’ line. They seldom mention that people seldom get promoted for it either. We call this paying the ‘brand tax’: coughing up thousands of extra dollars in support, parts, and software licenses for a logo that no customer of IT – the end user – will ever see.

Of course, we at SUSE understand the scepticism of the buyer. In fact we think its entirely justified: typical storage admins are assaulted with marketing messages and sales calls, night and day, both from vendors and from the channel organisations who sell on behalf of them. This is why we invest in detailed, independent comparisons which show the major true costs over time. We don’t pretend we’re always the best approach – we leave that ground to others – but where we do have a very strong case, we’re strong in making it.

So, we commissioned IT Brand Pulse to do the maths for us, and for you. IT Brand Pulse examines four disk arrays:

EMC Unity 330

NetApp FAS2554

HPE StoreServ 8200

IBM v5010

And four software defined:

Red Hat Enterprise Storage

VMware Virtual SAN 6

Scality Ring

SUSE Enterprise Storage 4

Entry level disk arrays were used as they meet the performance, availability and useable capacity requirements back-up to disk, with the software defined storage products using the same commodity hardware. Stark differences in tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars were found in cost over five years. Had IT Brand pulse used mid-range or high end arrays the differences would have become even more-stark – and its surprising to see at least open source provider matching their prices to the mainstream.

Who’s the most cost effective? Well, that’s pretty obvious – but you can download the full results for yourself here.


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