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Data Storage The Internet Businesses

Internal Costs Per Gigabyte — What Do You Pay? 420

Posted by timothy
from the wonder-what-the-dept-of-education-pays dept.
CodePwned writes "I recently took over a position at a rather large company where I discovered my group was paying $30 per gigabyte per month! That's $360 per year per gigabyte to our own IT department. While I understand costs are different depending on the scale, redundancy, backup and support methods, there doesn't seem to be any good papers on what range you should expect your costs to be. So far, my research shows an average of $1 per gigabyte or less for internally hosted space. What do you pay?"
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Internal Costs Per Gigabyte — What Do You Pay?

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  • $3/Gb/Month (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:36PM (#33075546)

    $3/Gb/Month

  • Costs for what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by georgewilliamherbert (211790) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:36PM (#33075560)

    For backed up to tape storage? Storage replicated to another, remote datacenter? Snapshotted at regular intervals?

    SAN storage? NAS? Direct attach? On arrays with 10 drives, 100 drives, or 1000 drives?

    Fast SAS or FC drives? SATA arrays? 5400 RPM? 7200? 10k? 15k?

    If you're paying $360/GB/yr for low end storage that sucks. For very high end, with replication and snapshots and the fastest drives and so forth, that's pretty high, but not an order of magnitude high.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

    by XanC (644172) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:42PM (#33075674)

    "Internal" in the question refers (very obtusely) to the cost within a company. In other words, $X per gigabyte is taken from his department's budget in order to "pay" for their IT use.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by porkThreeWays (895269) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:44PM (#33075710)
    I don't think it's as vague as everyone is making it to be. Since his department is paying the IT department it most likely means data on a windows network through CIFS that is backed up and redundant. This is a common thing.
  • Cost Drivers (Score:5, Informative)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:46PM (#33075758) Journal

    Hi,

    I am willing to bet that the "gigabyte" usage is simply a cost driver. Accounting simply needs to know how to divide up IT costs and settled on this as a cost driver, possibly one of many, to determine what it takes to support each department.

    This is neither new nor entirely bad. Sometimes it is better to go with an easy-to-implement, but only partially accurate number than one that is perfectly accurate but impossible to implement.

  • For storage, right? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:53PM (#33075874)

    Higher ed, 4gb FC EMC SAN, weekly tape backups:

    First 2GB is free, after that it's $7/GB/yr

  • Re:$40 (Score:3, Informative)

    by spike2131 (468840) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:56PM (#33075930) Homepage

    No monthly cost to our group. Once its bought, the ongoing operations cost comes out of someone else's budget.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Surt (22457) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:06PM (#33076104) Homepage Journal

    He's at a large company, where one department (IT) actually charges other departments (sales, development) for services. He wants to know what he should expect to be charged by IT per GB of storage. He thinks the IT department at his company is overpricing to provide for Aeron chairs.

  • Additional details (Score:2, Informative)

    by CodePwned (1630439) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:13PM (#33076190)

    This is just storage space, not web pages/applications, or software etc. We're talking digital assets of the company such as documents, images, videos... etc. Basic, run of the mill file storage is being priced at $30 per gig, per month. It's basically just a giant network share. It doesn't need to be co-located just your typical raid array with some method of disaster recovery.

    I'm interested in what other companies charge internally for file storage.

  • My Cost (Score:3, Informative)

    by Target Drone (546651) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:16PM (#33076226)

    At the universisty where I work. IT charges $3.00 per GB/year to store data on a NetApp SAN. It then costs you another $3.00 GB/year for backups.

    NOTE: In case you're wondering the two prices are charged separtely in case you have data that doesn't need to be backed up or have data that needs to be backed up but isn't stored on the SAN.

  • why this happens (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:19PM (#33076268)

    The big reason for internal IT departments to charge other departments for services rendered is this:

    When it comes time for a manager to "earn" his bonus, the first thing he looks at is cutting the budget for less profitable departments.

    The IT department rarely has external clients for income, but is absolutely vital to keeping the business running.

    Therefore to keep some short sighted pencil pusher from crippling the company with a failing infrastructure, the IT department has to show a "profit" for the services it renders.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by oracleofbargth (16602) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:27PM (#33076388) Homepage
    The $30/month price likely includes an enterprise SAN array (~$150k+), a high-end server fail-over cluster (~$20k-$30k), an enterprise tape backup system (~$80k), a network to connect them all to each other and the users (~$200k), and 4 people's salaries (the SAN admin, the server admin, the backup admin, and the network admin) (~$50k-90k each).
  • by flink (18449) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:27PM (#33076390)

    Well, you can start with probably $400k to pay salary and benefits to the guy who maintains it for 3 years, plus equipments costs, plus backup solution, network, physical premisis, insurance, power, HVAC, UPS. Plus you want high availability, then double pretty much everything.

  • Our Cost (Score:5, Informative)

    by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:28PM (#33076398) Homepage

    Our data center provider offers storage on their FC SAN ( > 150mbps I/O) at a cost of $2.50/GB/month and an additional $2.50/GB for backups. This includes 24x7 support, 99.99% uptime, and is hosted in a tier 3+ data center. My guess is that smaller SANs cost more per GB, but you are getting boned at $30/GB.

    On the other hand, if you are requiring some sort of high performance DAS with off site replication, then I bet the cost is considerably higher.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Java Pimp (98454) <java_pimp@NOspam.yahoo.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:30PM (#33076424) Homepage

    I think it's hardly vague given his post contained terms like redundancy, backup and internally hosted space. Not sure but I think "internally hosted space" was the givaway...

  • $12/gb per year (Score:3, Informative)

    by FishNiX (601128) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:16PM (#33076986)
    We pay about $12/GB/year for storage on 15k FC disks with RAID-DP and replicated across town. This does not include backups to tape, that's an extra fee. We are also in the process of working out lower cost storage without replication and on SAS (or SATA) disk. It's really silly to compare consumer grade USB storage to enterprise, replicated and professionally supported storage but it happens all the time.
  • Re:Eh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:48PM (#33077906) Homepage

    He's paying the loan IT took out to integrate a system to provide 1TB in 2005 across who knows how many platforms probably including wonderful legacy applications from 1982 written in COBOL.

    Yeah, but both programs and data from almost 30 years ago would have exceptionally small- if not negligible- storage requirements by modern standards, so those likely aren't adding much to the total.

  • Re:CDW, Newegg, etc (Score:3, Informative)

    by mge (120046) on Friday July 30, 2010 @12:40AM (#33079648) Homepage Journal

    Right, so this means that the IT department in the summary could buy a new storage system every month, since they are charging $30/GB per month.

    Actually, no it doesn't.

    They have already paid over $25 dollars for every GB that they offer to the rest of the company.

    Now, if you want to reduce these costs, you have to do a risk assessment. Under the model described in AUD above, there are at least 5 copies of a given set of data. Do you NEED the two DR copies ? Depending on the processing model, some intermediate files don't need to have any more than a single copy. In other words, storage space CAN cost $25 - $30 / GB, but thats for the rolls royce version.

    Just make sure that if you ask for the Trabant version [wikimedia.org], that's really all you need.

  • Re:$40 (Score:2, Informative)

    by fredc97 (963879) on Friday July 30, 2010 @12:54AM (#33079708)

    40$ per Gigabyte is not that bad if you don't have to pay to acquire 15K RPM SAN drives which can easily run into 2500$ for a 600 GB drive with dual path fibre channel. Fibre channel HBA will run into the 1000$ a piece (twice for redundancy) plus all the SAN switches needed to connect your SAN to your server, again very expensive costs to front for an IT dept. Oh and you get to pay also for nice 24/7 maintenance contracts plus all that support staff with their big salaries because no janitor can build a SAN infrastructure after all, and if he can he will charge you big bucks anyway.

    You can't expect 24/7 99.99% reliability out of consumer hardware, and as for the commenter that said that for 300 000$ he'd buy 100 servers that he would host at 100 different sites and replicate all that data, hum well good luck with that and that thing won't get implemented before a year of running around the country and bandwidth costs will probably double the operating budget.

    Good and efficient IT operations are like race car teams, they cost a lot, can do trivial operations in seconds and can plan for the worst and still come out ahead. Other cheap solutions ? Go the Google way and let the advertisement pay for it all, other than that put everything on your cheap 1TB pc hard drive and hope it never fails or gets flooded, or stolen, after all how long does it take a human to fill 1TB of actual work data on average ? Multiply that by the hourly costs of such employees and soon you'll discover that HR costs are much higher than typical IT costs.

  • $30 May not be bad (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:13AM (#33081176)

    I pay nearly $55/GB/Month for a couple applications, so $30 isn't that bad. Complaining about it based on the fact that a hard drive is $0.05/GB is an idiotic argument at best.

    And I do have a chargeback breakdown that covers the entire amount, and it's well justified for a regulated enviroment that's replicated to multiple sites with dual backup and guaranted 5ms average I/O response time.

    The original question should be is the value of the application and associated data worth $30/GB/month to the business? If it's a bunch of PST's and MP3's, then obviously not. If it's an order entry system, CRM, DSS, SCM, etc...then it quite possibly may very well be worth that much.

  • $8/GB/year (Score:2, Informative)

    by amunter (313014) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:30AM (#33081274)

    In a government agency we're charged internally $8/GB/yr for online storage. We have a hot replica ready to come online if the primary goes down for any reason, it's incrementally backed up to tape (using Tivoli) each night and the encrypted weekly tapes are transferred to an offsite location each week.

    All that for $8/GB/yr. Supposedly that's the cost-neutral point for them including hardware maintenance, salaries, power, cooling, etc.

  • Re:$40 (Score:3, Informative)

    by jon3k (691256) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:03PM (#33086276)
    I'm sorry where are you getting fiber channel storage for $0.10 per gigabyte? That's like the cost of bare RAID1 consumer 7200RPM sata disks ($0.05 * 2). We pay $1,000 for a 400GB 10K RPM fiber channel drive. That doesn't include: (redundant) controllers, (redundant) fiber channel HBAs, (redundant) fiber channel ports and a million other associated costs (everything from support to backups). I'm not necessarily agreeing with $30/GB/mo but $0.10 per gigabyte for the raw storage is not even remotely plausible for enterprise storage.
  • Re:$40 (Score:3, Informative)

    by jon3k (691256) on Friday July 30, 2010 @06:26PM (#33090394)
    Without getting into specifics it's impossible to say, but with your workload and the vast majority of the SAN being composed of SATA you might be able to get raw storage costs down to $3/GB across an entire large storage system. But at the petascale we're talking about dozens of controllers, shelves, UPS and a massive switching infrastructure to support it, not to mention software licensing costs, maintenance contracts and a staff to run something of that size. You mention the costs of things like 10GbE and the storage system itself, but I can't tell from context if you're including all of those things in that per-gigabyte figure.

    I'd also point out that backing virtualization installations with fiber channel is not even remotely uncommon anymore because of the density that the current generation of servers can deliver. Single RMU dual socket six-core x86 machines supporting 10, 15, 20 or more VMs is standard operating procedure these days and without something like 10Gb DCE you're going to be hard pressed to deliver enough IOPS over ethernet via iSCSI. Shit 20 VMs on a single machine at 8Gb/s FC you're talking about splitting up 1GB/s of storage throughput between 20 machines would mean only 50MB/s total throughput distributed evenly between them (fictional case to prove the point). That's a fraction of a single consumer grade SATA drive.

    I'd be curious to see you're actual CapEx for acquiring storage. When you consider all of these factors I wouldn't at all be surprised to see something in the $30-$40 per gigabyte range. You'd need to include things like:
    - Controllers (cache, licensing, maintenance, etc)
    - Assuming 10GbE iSCSI you have to allocate some portion of that cost/management to your storage system
    - Redundant systems? Maybe not an issue for your installations?
    - Backups (frequency, off-site rotation, etc)
    - Cost per square foot (lease(?)/HVAC/power)
    - Cost to design/acquire/maintain over lifespan (think storage architect, sales meetings, other soft costs - rough figures are fine obviously)

    And as you pointed out, what you can buy at the petabyte scale for let's say $20/GB CapEx could easily be in the $40/GB range for someone acquiring a storage system in the 20TB range. So to make blanket statements like "$40/gig is way more than the capital costs of the storage" is definitely, if I give you absolute benefit of the doubt, misleading at best.

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