Start From Your Storage Needs

Every time I talk to customer that is joining the Racker family or run’s into an issue with scaling their IT infrastrcuture, I find that they either don’t know how backup and storage needs will effect their business or how to best enable today’s storage product’s to better enable their business needs. It seems that when it comes to architecting the largest most bullet proof solution in the world either the storage portion or the backup solution are thought of last. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why this is the case and in most case understand why it is the last thing to consider. However I would like to recommend a new way to think about architecting your solution when storage or backup is needed.

The new approach I like to take is what I call “Block-up” infrastructure planning. Block-up planning is a very easy process. You first decide how much data space you need (in term of GB), what do you need it for (In terms of a business application, like a database) and how much this data is worth to your company/business? I will give you an example of this and how this is important.

Let’s say that you have 100 GB of data stored on some device (any device, could be a home computer) and it is a database that stores all of your customer contact information, locations, addresses, etc. Now let’s assume that your total net worth for your business is 5,000 dollars. One could assume that this kind of data is either worth as much as the net worth or close to it with a large percentage need to be taken into account for. Even if you took 80% of your businesses assets net worth at 4,000 that is till a large chunk of your business propitiatory assets if it were to be lost/stolen/corrupt. However assuming we used 5,000 dollars you would have just found out how much, at a per GB level, your company’s data is worth. So some quick math, 5,000 USD divided by 100 get’s you 50 dollar’s per GB.

So I already know what you are saying. “Chad, does this mean I can take this kind of calculation to my boss and get one of these or spend 50 dollars per GB on my next storage/backup solution?” Not quite. All I did is just helped you find how much at a very simplified level your data is worth to you, your business or your company. Granted there are still a ton of other factors to find your true net worth of data within your organization. There is a reason they call it “Economies of scale,” if all business based any single calculation for how they were to grow, expand or operate their business then, well no one would ever create a profitable company or do well.

What I defined above with this data only helps you start with a base (assuming you wanted to calculate everything to the price per GB) that should enable you find what your data is worth and eventually what you would be willing to pay to house the data and eventually what to pay to back it up.

Today was just a first step in understanding what you data is worth to your company. In my next few posts I am going to help you understand how to store and protect your data, as well as justify the costs for different options such as high availablity (HA) and scalibility, using other factors within any common business.

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