I saw a tweet this morning from Stephen Foskett (@sfoskett): “Looks like 3PAR, BlueArc, Compellent, Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM, NetApp, and Pillar all claim to offer thin provisioning of some sort” .
My answer on twitter was: “it’s time to take a better look to implementations!”
All vendors are working to offer new features on their storages and this is a never ending race that brings users new functionalities and lower prices for their storage! That’s good because innovation rules technology and technology is one of the base factors to do better with less resources, save money and improve efficiency!
There are lots of aspects to evaluate when you chose a new storage, from my personal point of view one of the most important is TCO (total cost of ownership), but, at the same time, TCO is one of the most difficult to calculate. You need a deep dive in every feature to understand how it will impact in your environment to calculate your piece of storage TCO. Indeed it is very difficult without a true benchmarking activity because each vendor tries to show you only the good things while hiding the bad ones!
Thin provisioning (just like all other features) may help you to save money cutting your TCO but the difference between a good and a bad implementation can drastically change the final result and the money spent versus saved ratio!
And, last but not least, a feature cannot live just its own life alone, it has, more or less, to be integrated with every other features: the implementation itself is important but if its use limits other features it may turn out to be a real pain: limitations and constraints cut down your operations while TCO soars up again!