In this days, an interesting discussion was running around in the Storage Community.
Is there a precise storage definition or rather categorization of what is High End Disks or Entreprise, Mid Range Disks, Entry Disks Systems ?
Question is more and more often asked by customers, due to the fact that smart functionalites used to be present in those storage subsystems that used to be classified as Enterprise Systems/High End Systems are more and more available in those used to be classified as Mid Range and Entry Systems.
In the past, there used to be huge differences in function between these categories but today that is less and less the case. More and more, the differences between entry, midrange, and enterprise storage revolve around things like smallest size, scalability, performance. Broadly speaking, Entry, Midrange, and Enterprise are all relative statements.
There are no industry-standard definitions for terms such as “entry”, “midrange”, “high-end”, “enterprise-class”, or “tier 1” disk systems. There are no industry-standard criteria for placing a disk system in one of these categories: not performance, not availability, not capacity, not function.
High End systems used to be highly available (minimum 5*9 or plus in certain server environment like Z), high performance (what is minimum level to reach high end / entreprise performance or IOps below certain resp time ?). They used to have RAS criteria like online non disruptive maintenance, or enhanced functions like remote monitoring and capacity to provide 3 sites DR and connectivity criteria.
Today some storage products use exactly the same binary I/O code used in other storage box that used to be classified in High End or Enterprise family.
So your $10K storage box, is essentially running the same code as your $1M box, and should be matching the same mainframe availability,relaiability and serviceability requirements.
Hence, I don’t think we should be talking about ‘entry’ ‘mid’ or ‘enterprise’ and I don’t think that any customer likes being classified into one of those categories, just because of the budget they have. They all demand the same reliability and availability in fact a “single shop” customer has more to lose if they have an IT failure than a “big shop”…
When we talk about storage subsystem it is just a matter of how much you have to spend, and how big you want your single box to grow in term of disk space and performance.
In the disk system industry vendors, customers, and analysts all struggle to position disk systems relative to each other in broad categories whether those systems are in the same vendor portfolio or in competing portfolios. Our brains like to classify things because then we can talk about the classes and not talk only about specific things. However, the current state-of-the-industry is such that actual products overlap in many attributes and, if history continues, what many today consider to be high-end systems will look a lot like tomorrow’s midrange systems and today’s midrange systems will look a lot like tomorrow’s entry systems.
So, what to do?
Customers should identify their storage system requirements and find the lowest cost system and best vendor to meet those requirements. I definitely frown upon RFPs stating something like “we want an entry (or midrange, or high-end) disk system” since that is nearly meaningless.