Think Like an Economist, Talk Like an Accountant, Act Like a Technologist
by David Merrill on Aug 9, 2011
I have been marginalized.
With all the recent news and talk of budget caps, debt limits and austerity plans, it seems as if everyone is an economist these days. There certainly is a lot of frightening news, and some predictions that we may return to business and national economic patterns that we saw 3-4 years ago. This time, we can get ahead of the curve and make preparations to secure last minute CAPEX or budget funding to optimize our IT and storage infrastructures against another round of cutbacks and IT spending limitations.
First, think like an economist
- Look at your macro and micro economic situations and determine if your company might be heading into an austerity phase (If you work for a state, regional, provincial or national government IT shop – sorry to tell you, but you are already there)
- Understand your capital approval process and slip in an un-forecast request to invest in technology and practices that can get your storage capacity demand through another (possibly extended) drought
- In your justification, use the following phrases to capture the attention of capital owners and make a lasting impression:
- Wanting to improve ROA (return on asset), I want to invest in some areas that will increase the usage and value of what we already have, without buying more capacity needlessly (don’t admit to your utilization rates) In fact with a small investment I can reclaim enough capacity to meet our organic growth needs by xx months
- I want to sweat our assets, without incurring additional new costs, but it will take some small investments now
- By changing or influencing consumption behaviors, I can squeeze out more efficiencies in our IT infrastructure and work to provide continued storage optimization
- Did you catch the key words from above? Optimize, ROA, sweat, reclaim. There are many key words that economists like to use.
Second, talk like an accountant
- We need to understand our costs, all the costs – not just purchase price. I have a paper that outlines 34 types of costs – so this is the time to isolate and prioritize the costs associated with storage, VM, server infrastructure, etc.
- Take the high priority costs, and put in place tactical plans to invest and reduce these costs now (in this quarter)
- Measure your costs before and after you act, that way your tactical decisions (technically) will make you a rock star (economically)
Finally, act like a technologist
- In a capital crunch (like what we saw from 2007-2009) all budgets are reduced, which is more painful in the storage area where demand and growth continue, even during budget-cutting times
- Take action to invest and extend what you already have:
- Consolidation – identify and act to collapse multiple, smaller storage islands into a single pool of manageable storage. Virtualization can be a key enabler to make this happen with limited time, effort and business impact
- Reclamation – reclaim space (not delete data) with zero page reclaim, virtualization, active archive (move from production tier to archive tier)
- Optimization – with tools like thin provisioning, de-duplication, and policy based management/provisioning and capacity re-balance
- Oversight – start capturing and reporting on usage abuse, those applications or departments that notoriously underutilize or lock-up precious capacities
Now you want to instill confidence that these technology levers are proven and stable. See the Gartner Hype Curve below, and show your management and architect that indeed these are processes and game-changers that work (and are viable).
This is not a prediction of chicken-little, or a reminder call to think of Joseph (in Egypt), who advised the Pharaoh to store away during times of plenty – but this is an opportunity to look into the recent past and take actions now for cost and asset improvement.
Fool me once, or fool me twice, I will not be marginalized or spooked again.
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[...] Storage Economics at HDS is approaching its 13th year, and along with the thousands of engagements done around the world, we have prepared many people to think like an economist, talk like an accountant, and act like an architect. [...]
[...] around storage, cloud, VM and VDI economics are very popular with IT planners and executives to identify, measure and reduce the cost of IT [...]