Storage is an increasingly important issue as data proliferates at a seemingly exponential rate within business operations. Government agencies, enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses, and other organizations all must solve the problem of where and how to store an increasing volume of critical data.
There are several options for companies looking to implement a data storage solution. Dedicated servers are a natural choice because they provide benefits including security, reliability, recovery from outages, and the ability to manage costs.
But not all storage options are created equal. In an effort to save money and stay on budget, companies increasingly have turned to generic servers to meet their storage needs. These servers, sometimes called white boxes, may seem like a reasonable solution, but a careful examination of server options shows that name-brand storage options may provide advantages over their generic counterparts in four categories.
Unlike generic servers, name-brand servers are typically backed by a company that has a vested interest in preserving its reputation and that wants to associate its products with a high level of service in the marketplace. Because of that, name-brand servers are more likely to come with support from the manufacturer, providing faster availability and ensuring that software upgrades and product versions are kept up to date.
The concept of generic in any category implies a no-frills approach to delivering the product to the end user, and generic servers are no different. White box storage solutions offer very little in terms of features, whereas name-brand servers offer added value with a variety of features. Name-brand servers are more likely to include remote access controls and advanced diagnostic tools. In addition, name-brand servers may provide more reliable RAID card functions as well as better fans.
Data is useless if it is unavailable due to an outage or hardware failure. To keep costs to a minimum, white box storage solutions are more likely to use cheaper or lower-quality components, including memory, hard drives, and fans. Companies that choose generic solutions to save costs may end up spending more over the long term to fix problems that arise as a result of lower-quality components.
White box storage solutions may only work with one operating system and exclude others, which can be limiting. Manufacturers of name-brand solutions, on the other hand, will typically incorporate support for multiple operating systems.
White box solutions can also be limited in their ability to run a common operating system on different generations of hardware. Name-brand storage options are usually capable of providing this type of intergenerational functionality.
With security concerns at an all-time high and the increasing importance of being able to access data reliably, companies are finding they can’t skimp on storage solutions. When calculating the monetary benefit of a white box solution versus name-brand storage, businesses must take into account the possibility of unforeseen costs related to maintaining and repairing lower-quality equipment as well as the data losses that could result from using such equipment.
Name-brand storage may provide the most value for the money spent in terms of services, features, reliability, and compatibility offered and may ultimately be a more cost-efficient choice despite a higher initial cost.