Art Wittmann at InformationWeek wrote a great article entitled Practical Analysis: The Storage Stockholm Syndrome.  I took the title of this post from the subtitle of that one

Bleeding your customers dry rarely works as a long-term business strategy. So something’s gotta give.

The key excerpt from the article is

That got me thinking: What’s the right price for a terabyte of enterprise SAN storage space? Consumers now pay less than $100 for that much storage on one spindle, so that’s the low-water mark. Businesses obviously pay a premium over that rock-bottom price for systems that are better engineered and have lots of software and hardware features that make them “enterprise ready.” But that premium is now 30 to 200 times, depending on the performance and features.

There’s probably another industry with this kind of pricing variance, but I can’t think of one. What if that were the case in the auto industry, with Joe Consumer paying $20,000 for a car while the fleet manager for his employer forks over $4 million for a tricked-out version of the same five-seater? Hard to imagine.

I’ve got to tell you, this thought has been hitting me with increasing vigor and frequency of late.  At the time this is being written, anyone can buy a 3.5″ 7200RPM SATA commodity 1TB disk drive costs $89; a 1.5TB drive costs $120.

And yet NAS, SAN, and deduplication device vendors are charging an enormous amount for their storage.  There are always some set of features that justify it – and yet by the nature of the technology industry those features diminish over time.

Wittmann calls out

Storage architects are a conservative lot, and with good reason. You only need to lose the company’s data once to find yourself looking for a new gig, and no one ever got fired for buying … EMC, IBM, HP, HDS, and so on. But maybe it’s time to take some managed risks and evaluate some innovative–and significantly less expensive–options.

I think backup has to be a big part of of a managed risk strategy.