Four questions to help you get started on chargeback

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In the last post we talked about the importance of business-level visibility into the storage environment. Administrators would know exactly what capacity was out on the network, how much was being used and by whom. This information could be used to determine policies and then plugged into a formula to determine the true cost of storage. This transparency would streamline the provisioning process, make users think twice about each capacity request and, most of all, improve relations with the application team.

A good chargeback solution provides this information, informing key stakeholders about the storage environment so they can make informed decisions. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is if you know the right questions to ask.


Who needs to know?

It sounds coy and a bit obnoxious, but arming the right people with the right information is critical to making sound storage decisions. Typically, the folks that are in charge of managing the budget and spending money should know the true cost of the provisioning requests they’re tasked with approving. They are the gate keepers and, frankly, the people most likely to complain about out of control storage costs.

Other decision makers include the people who are making the requests, including business unit managers, project managers and the application team. Their sole responsibility is to get business systems up and running quickly with reliable performance and near-ubiquitous availability. In their mind, it’s the storage team’s job to provide them with the capacity and the media they need to meet their performance and availability expectations. It makes sense to request more capacity than you require when you think it costs three cents per gigabyte.


Why do they need to know?

Well, because storage is expensive when you factor in data management, data protection, varying costs of storage tiers and security. It’s the storage team’s responsibility to inform them of the true cost of storage with all these elements factored in. Ideally, they can share the information before the request is made. At a minimum, they need to be able to share it after the resources are actively being used. 


How expensive is expensive?

That’s where chargeback comes into play. Knowing exactly what is on the network and how it is being used allows administrators to determine the exact cost of storage requests based on pre-existing policies and compliance requirements.

Storage administrators also have to factor in duplication, backups and disaster recovery. 100 TB of data requires much more than 100 TB of storage capacity. Availability and performance SLAs as well as security and compliance policies vary requirements, but three copies are standard: primary, local replica and a remote or backup copy. There’s also the human cost of managing and protecting storage as a good administrator is rarely cheap, and it takes a team to manage a typical enterprise.

According to Forrester Research, the true cost of on-site enterprise storage is $3 to $5 per usable gigabyte. Need something more specific? It’s time to implement a reliable chargeback solution.


What is gained by knowing the answers?

Visibility. Peace of mind. Informed decision making. An efficient storage environment that is in line with business needs. Basically everything that you need to empower an enterprise to do business in the 21st century.

APTARE—the global leader in IT Analytics—is the only company delivering unified backup and storage insights for heterogeneous IT environments across on-prem and hybrid-cloud