Q: How can a provider determine a customer's data growth rates if the customer doesn't know what it is?
Without having a storage resource management (SRM) tool continuously scanning the customer's environment for several years, there is no 100% accurate method to help you answer this question. However, there are some good tools that are freely available on the Internet and commercially available that can allow you to scan file systems and determine based on creation date how things have grown in the past. The caveat is that these tools have no way of accounting for data that may have existed in the past but that was deleted. Typically, you will see that growth in a customer environment has ramped up over the last three years, so even taking this potentially inflated number as the guideline may turn out to be a fairly accurate representation of what the next three years will look like. Also, be sure to consider any potential large projects that the customer may have coming up that would significantly skew the storage requirements.