If data storage vendors made cars…

Posted by on April 23, 2014

flash car

Take a moment to consider the things we put up with on a daily basis because they have been understood and accepted as the status quo. Perhaps the old adage, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” rings no truer than for traditional on-premise data storage systems. Sure, there have been numerous improvements in data storage over the years. Sure, the slower, capacity-limited storage systems of yesterday continue to be replaced by bigger, faster storage systems all the time — but has there really been much improvement to address the most common idiosyncrasies that have existed for so long?

While data storage systems and cars have very little in common, imagine what automobiles would be like if they suffered from the same constraints and requirements have become the accepted norm with storage systems. Quite simply, owning an automobile would be a vastly different experience. How different? Think about all the things you would need:

  • A replacement every three years regardless of whether you needed it or not, or risk your payment rising drastically
  • A second automobile housed in a distant garage that is seldom used, except in the case of disaster — and once you replace your primary car, you have to replace that second one, too, whether it’s ever been driven or not
  • A permanent auto mechanic who works in your house
  • A supply of spare parts in your garage as part of regular operation and maintenance
  • The ability to keep growing your garage space and driveway to hold more automobiles as you expand to an entire fleet
  • An expanding portion of your time transferring your belongings from old to new automobiles as part of a never-ending replacement process

Whether or not you agree with the premise of this analogy, the point remains that the requirements and constraints of managing data storage may suddenly seem unacceptable when applied to a more well-known context.

Of course, if you find the requirements of managing on-premise storage to be borderline absurd, consider the cloud as an alternative to on-premise data storage. In particular, cloud-integrated storage offers a way to manage storage without:

  • The need to replace systems on a regular basis
  • Dedicated and seldom used secondary sites for disaster recovery
  • Significant administration
  • A large inventory of spare parts (i.e. spare drives)
  • A constantly growing need for floor space

Are you bothered by the quirks associated with managing your on-premise data storage? If so, let us know what they are.



5 Responses to If data storage vendors made cars…

  • Maciej 4/23/2014

    I like that analogy. Think about the case when someone heavily depends on the car, say fire brigade or transport company – they have all of above, and it makes sense for them.

  • IT guy 5/1/2014

    This analogy does not work for an enterprise IT shop. Just doesn’t. As you state in the blog, cars and data storage are very different. Anyone can come up with ridiculous comparisons to make a point. Doesn’t make them valid.

  • RobbieM 5/1/2014

    No different than the vendors touting ‘converged infrastructure’ today.
    You buy the car, along with a secondary like auto, you may be able to start driving it sooner, but you will still have a ‘specialized know it all’ mechanic or several more focused mechanics sitting in your garage and you still need to move your belongings into the new mobile. So are we really that far ahead?

  • Joel Berman 5/1/2014

    I get your point and like the blog but.

    Todays cars, compared to cars of the 80’s, if they improved as storage did, would cost a few dollars, hold a million passengers, got thousands of miles per hour, and it would not be a huge burden to keep an extra one.

    As I wrote, I like your blog, but I do think people fail to appreciate the incredible change in IT. I read that an iPhone has more computing power than the entire Apollo man on the moon project used.

    • Nicos Vekiarides 5/1/2014


      Thanks for your comments. Good points regarding the pace of technological advancement — but also consider the business benefits cloud solutions bring to the table beyond the technology.


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