Scale-out storage systems promise to be able to scale as an organization's data storage and capacity demands increase. The problem is that datacenters do not scale out. When you run out of room in a datacenter you have two options: build a new one, or set a policy that "for everything that comes into the datacenter, something must come out." How can you meet scaling demands without having to build new datacenters?
Scale-out storage can bring a lot of value to the datacenter. It can meet capacity demands while also meeting performance demands. More importantly, it can meet those demands without requiring expensive storage system upgrades and migrations. But you need to scale (out or up) intelligently.
Do you really need a scale-out storage system?
The key first step is to make sure you really need a scale-out storage system. If your needs (both capacity and performance) for the next five years or so can be met with a scale-up storage system, you may find that to be an easier and potentially less expensive (upfront) approach. However, if your business, in terms of capacity and performance, is growing rapidly, then scale-out may be for you.
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— George Crump is president and founder of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments.