Every time I turn around it seems I seem to be running into the same question.
Is it better to be multi-vendor or single source?
Well the easy answer to that is, it depends. Different vendors do things differently, work better/worse with some hardware, etc.
The arguments in favor of a single-vendor solution is easy. Cost, Simplicity, Management, Interoperability.
Even if you’re buying a more expensive solution, there can STILL be major cost savings.
First, in staffing. When you maintain multiple vendors, you have to maintain support-staff knowledgable for each vendor.
If you’ve got a storage team that consists of 5 people, and two of them work almost exclusively on Veritas Netbackup. You *MIGHT* be lucky if you get one subject matter expert capable of doing Tier1 (IE Symmetrix) one for Tier2 (Clariion) and one for NAS (Celerra) .
But throw in HDS, IBM DSxxxx, XiV, IBM GPFS, IBM HPSS, NetApp, SONAS, Sun StorEdge, etc. etc. etc. And what do you have?
You either have an overworked staff (and as i’ve discussed, union protected salaried federal employees aren’t known for 70 hour weeks) or stuff just plain doesn’t get done.
If you don’t spend the money on staffing, you *WILL* spend the money in support and professional services. Now support is one thing. If my XiV or Symm or whatever loses a harddrive, I expect the vendor to own that problem and fix it.
They will *NOT* however send people out to help with day-to-day provisioning without a pretty hefty P.O. associated with it.
And the last reason for single-vendor options is simple. I want stuff that is going to work together. Now yes, functionality costs, but one of the things I like about EMC is that when it comes down to it, it *ALL* works together. I can move data from Symm to Clariion or vice-versa using SanCopy, I can migrate fileservers to celerra and within storage tiers as needed.
There is nothing worse than needing to expand one storage system by 20TB and having the storage somewhere else, but unusable. It means you’re wasting money buying storage you already have. (Especially when your purchase cycle is 4-6 months on average.)
Not a happy thing to explain to the boss.
“Yes we have 80TB of Clariion avaialble, but the IBM DS4800 is running short so I need to spend an extra $100k on disks.”
“Yes, I know this isn’t budgeted, but the data grew faster than we’d expected.”
(Of course, you can span filesystems across arrays, as long as it’s not replicated data, because you can’t get a consistent split when half of your extents are on one array and half on another)