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Vignette From the Life of a Storage Manager

Still people generally have little idea about how much storage they need and consistently over-estimate their capacity requirements. I had a conversation with one of our support teams about providing some storage for their internal website.

‘Yeah sure you can some space, how much are you thinking?’

‘500Gb, something like that?’

‘Really?’ *raised eyebrow*

‘Well maybe a terabyte then?”

‘Going to be storing a lot of videos?’

‘No just Word documents, pdfs and may be a few autocad drawings’

‘How many?’

‘Oh a few thousand maybe?’

‘Average size?’

‘4 or 5 megabytes’

‘Okay we’ll start you with 20-50Gb…’

*confused looking customer* ‘As little as that?’

At which point, I avoid shouting do the arithmetic and simply ensure the guy that it’ll be plenty; if he needs more, we can give him more.


  1. Howard Marks says:

    This is why I love thin provisioning.

  2. It’s all perception. When consumers can buy a terabyte drive for under $100 at a local office supply store, carry smart devices that sport as much as 64+GB internally, or get as little as 5GB “free” from any number of online services, they simply have a poor grasp on a) how much of the space available to them they actually use/need and b) the costs associated with it when it’s under someone else’s management.

    So when asked how much they need, they just pull numbers from the air without much thought about it. After all, they don’t personally feel the impact physically or financially.

  3. brerrabbit says:

    49% of the requests I get follow that conversation almost verbatim. Another 49% go something like:

    them: “err, yeah, did you hear that the consultants are going to be here tomorrow to set up that imaging project, and we’re going to need some storage…..”

    me: “….imaging project?? What imaging project? And how much space?”

    them: “well, it’s not too big, only about 4 million docs. The tif’s are, like, 500KB each. Oh, and we’ll need a copy of all that as jpeg’s too.”

    me: “….Uh huh. And whose budget is this coming out of, exactly?”


  4. At one of my clients this difference of opinion occurred in recent months:

    Exchange Admin: We need 70 TB of space for Exchange 2010 conversion.
    Storage Admin: You will get 20 TB of space, thats all we can afford.

    War commences.

    At conclusion of war: Exchange admin gets 30 TB of space.

    Three months later how much data has been written? 7 TB.

  5. Think you should make a video like this one: to represent the story!

    Also – we included you in our Top Virtualisation bloggersblog. We’d like to keep expanding the list – so if you, or any other readers have suggestions please let us know.

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