Why can’t you just increase my mailbox size, storage is so cheap

Just had to deal with a passive/aggressive type exec who wants more capacity for his mailbox. After I politely told him that he has to comply by the policy set for the corporate and we don’t have budget this year to buy extra storage, this is the reply I got:

How expensive is storage really?  I will go buy 1TB storage from staples.

Now as system administrators we get it and we do understand end user frustration with .pst for people who want to use their ipad  and still keep all their emails handy. But these are business decisions not to spend money on archiving solutions or buy more storage not my decisions.

Regardless, I just started thinking what would be good answer for him. Although I haven’t replied back yet, I just started noting down the  differences between business-class storage and  home storage. These are not in order of importance.

1. Backups. There is a central backup of all enterprise storage. This includes cost of the backup licenses, backup server. Every extra GB of storage added to a server adds extra tapes in the rotation for the backup, increases backup window and the cost of offsite backup storage.

2. Speed. Enterprise storage systems(called SANs) are optimized for speed(other points would come later). 1TB external drive vs an array of  15k rpm fiber channel drives front-ended by a read and write cache system nark a day and night difference between speed.

3. Reliability. Hard drives fail and that is a hard fact. Enterprise drives have a lower failure rate plus they are configured to run in raids which means if one or two drives fail, your systems can keep running without any glitch.

4. Replacement. Home drives fail and you might get a replacement from the manufacturer if you are lucky after spending hours on the phone with tech support. In case of enterprise SAN systems, most of the times if there is a drive failure, the SAN vendor is notified automatically and they come replace the drive for you rather quickly.

5. System vs drive. As discussed in speed and reliability above, it is a whole system and not just a single drive that makes it high performing and highly reliable. Enterprises get systems because of the critical need of the  business operations and pay(through the nose) for the systems(SAN).

6. Staff. Specialized systems need specialized staff.

I am pretty sure I am missing other important points here, but just wanted to share some of the points.

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