So have you taken my advice and started to build your own storage arrays? I certainly hope so; it’s a lot of fun and could really save your organisation some money.
Still I hope that you’ve bought some spares; thoroughly checked the code, made sure that all your components work together and have thoroughly checked out the edge-cases.
You’ve sorted out your supply chain; made sure that you can get to your data-centre at all hours and told your boss that you are happy to be phoned up and shouted at until something broken is fixed.
But you’ve saved your company a bunch of money!
And it was totally worth doing!? You might have to hire another person or two to help out but they’ll be geeks too and you’ll have great fun. You’ll be competing with Google, Amazon etc with your team’s engineering chops.
Of course, there are a lot of nay-sayers who say you can’t do this and you can’t do it at scale. They are both right and wrong.
This is a thought-process that a lot of us working in the larger-scale enterprises go through a lot. Every now and then we’ll go though the exercise and work out that the costs don’t stack up over the four or five year technology life-cycle we tend to work in. Certainly when you start to factor in the cost of support and the potential risk profile that a Business is willing to sign up to; you just don’t save enough at Enterprise scale. It might be different if you are Google or Amazon and working at a completely different scale. Building your own works at the small scale and the hyper-scale.
But the big vendors are very worried about this trend; you might simply just move wholesale into Public Cloud and then they are going to see very little of your money if you go into one of the big Cloud companies who do their own engineering. I’m finally beginning to see this fear being reflected in the traditional vendor’s pricing; their four year costs are getting closer to the cost of building out excluding the ongoing costs.
Vendors who supply both software-only and appliance versions of their infrastructure generally price their appliance versions at a lower price point than software-only with bring-your-own-hardware. This allows them to maintain revenue at the expense of pure margin; the big analysts tend to report on revenue and market-share as opposed to raw profitably; it seems to be more important to be the biggest and not necessarily the most profitable.
Buying whitebox is not a game that most Enterprises are in yet; whitebox almost takes you to a world where servers are consumables like pen and paper; this is how the hyperscale works. In the Enterprise, we might not be too far off this; if Enterprises start to change their depreciation cycles for compute tiers, it is entirely possible that the software layer becomes the real capital investment and not the tin.
Dell, HPE and the likes simply become the equivalent of a Ryman’s catalogue.