They Also Serve, Those That Keep Things Ticking Over

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There’s a lot of talk these days about the merge, the so called mythical dissolving of the work/life boundaries that sees us checking emails at ludicrously early and late times but taking advantage of having the time to do things for ourselves. But when it comes to cost justification, well here’s where never the twain shall meet.

Look around your house and you’re sure to find something that maybe you didn’t exactly need even if you wanted it badly. That sports car; the pine flooring; the designer-clothes; garden decking; the Italian coffee maker. Hugely desirables objects for sure, and so not to risk accusations of hypocrisy from this author, there’s nothing really wrong in having them at all. They are nice to haves. And what is life without those? You wanted, them, you could afford them — you could, couldn’t you? — and you just went and bought them.

Now look around where you work: I challenge you to find anything bought on such whim without anything other than personal gratification as a justification. Nice to haves are very much a thing of the past. But what about those items that are essential whose immediate value is not readily apparent. In our rush to audit everything are we missing the value of the less glamorous but no less important items of technology that we depend on?

Take storage. Although they are all essential to business continuity, backup and recovery, have you ever thought what the immediate gain is from a server rack, SAN or NAS of some description? Most likely not.  Well you buy the things to just work don’t you? They have to be resilient, available and quick.

But let’s flip the argument. What happens when such things aren’t so resilient and aren’t available. Downtime does have a dollar value. Potentially a big one, especially if you’re running a customer-facing website or application, and are being inundated with a flood of calls to your customer support teams, or you’re scrambling to placate  customers considering alternatives to your firm.

For example just look at the recent event at Norwich International airport whose website was down for over a day after a hacker managed to take it offline over a weekend, in a bid to expose common web security failings. Now it wasn’t storing confidential information, unlike say at TalkTalk, but the result was the same: a customer facing site was down, and for a long time. Where was the contingency? Would you trust the business?

It’s in these cases that the value of well configured storage is more than apparent. It sure is a lot more than a nice to have.

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