Cost of storage?

May 9 2006

Speaking of Ferris and Nick Shelness, Ferris's weblog has this from Nick Shelness:

It's sometimes argued that the high cost of hard disk storage is a good reason to invest in new auxiliary messaging technology, such as tape-based email archiving. However, some forms of disk storage are so cheap that such arguments may be invalid.
Nick then outlines three different RAID5 server-quality storage costing models, with the result being "as low as $1.60 to $22 per Gigabyte".  Or as Paul Mooney famously says, "disk is cheap -- downtime isn't".

So I realize that IT budgets are always a challenge, but when you put it in those terms, I have to challenge the logic behind highly restrictive mailbox quotas.  I actually just read an e-mail from a company which imposes a two megabyte (yes MB not GB) mailbox quota.  I haven't seen anything like that in a client/server messaging system.  On the other hand, a customer I'm going to see today says that they've finally lifted mailbox quotas from most users, realizing that the cost of organizational productivity loss of having to manage mailboxes outweighs any benefit to imposing those quotas.

This enlightened view makes a whole lot of sense to me.  Most companies wouldn't blink at the purchase requisition for a stapler, roll of tape, some pens, and a box of paperclips, but add all that up and it costs more than a gigabyte of server-quality storage.  Yes, you need a server to go with that (though you probably have that already), yes you need a backup plan to go with that, yes you may want to cluster that (at another whopping $1.60 to $22 per GB), yes you have management overhead.  But when the cost per user is less than the petty cash your company probably spends per-employee monthly, what good reason is left to have mailbox quotas of 100 MB or less?  (Perhaps I should be provocative and say 300 MB or 500 MB, but you get the idea).

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