Comparing two science projects: New Horizons and DIY server storage

It’s truly stunning when a major scientific exploration project succeeds like NASA’s New Horizons did. The New Horizons team planned for all kinds of expected and unknown problems and we all were rewarded with some of the most amazing photos we will ever see. Huge props to NASA’s New Horizons team for this extraordinary achievement. Now THAT’s a science project!

By contrast, people sometimes think they can put together their own enterprise storage ( aka. science project ) that will be just as good, if not better, than the enterprise arrays they can purchase from storage vendors. In some cases that might be true, but many times things don’t quite work out the way they expect and there can be extended periods of downtime and sometimes data loss.

The question is why do it? I understand the desire to build things that work, but the risks and rewards are usually not balanced because so few people can appreciate the effort, much less the design. Unfortunately, the risk of running into unanticipated problems is always there. For example, look what happened at SourceForge this week. I suspect the people working on storage there are good at their jobs, but still these things happen.

Enterprise storage systems have a reputation of being expensive, but part of the cost is having an engineering staff that understands how things work and how to deal with problems. FWIW, one of the things that drew me to Tegile is the engineering discipline at work here. There is no guarantee that things won’t go wrong with an array in the field, but this company is totally committed to ensuring our arrays work as advertised. I’ll post again soon about what we are doing to make sure our customers get the highest quality support and products possible.

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