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Cloud storage prices drop, but experts and users say hidden fees remain

Headlines: Amazon, Google and Microsoft have announced drops in public cloud pricing, but users and experts agree that hidden costs do exist.

Storage channel news roundup for March 8 to March 14, 2012

Cloud storage prices drop, but experts and users say hidden fees exist

If it seems like cloud storage prices are getting cheaper every day, it’s because they are. Amazon, Google and Microsoft have all dropped the pricing of their cloud storage recently, bringing their base storage costs down by an average of 1 cent to 2 cents per gigabyte, which translates to up to 15% in cost savings for their users. But despite these price decreases, it's important to know about the additional charges that cloud storage users pay for individual transactions.

Medical device manufacturing company MedPlast Inc. first switched to a cloud storage solution a year ago and the company decided on a StorSimple 5010 appliance to transfer data to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). Not long afterward, MedPlast IT Director Dan Streufert saw a sudden spike in his Amazon costs.

"We found we were paying three to five times more in transaction costs than we were actually paying for the storage itself with S3," Streufert explained.

He soon discovered the reason for the drastic increase. In just one month, MedPlast's StorSimple device logged a little more than 32 million PUT, COPY, POST and LIST requests with Amazon. Although GET transactions only cost Amazon customers 1 cent for every 10,000 requests, the requests for PUT, COPY, POST and LIST are billed at 1 cent for every 1,000 requests -- 10 times the cost. These cloud storage prices left MedPlast with a transaction bill for more than $300 in a single month.

Listen to this podcast on cloud storage services advice from your peers.

EMC ProSphere SRM software gets beefed-up capacity management

EMC this week upgraded its ProSphere storage resource management software for Vmax and VNX storage arrays, adding capacity management features with a greater focus on virtual environments than the prior version.

EMC ProSphere first launched last July as the eventual successor to the EMC ControlCenter (ECC) storage management application. Kevin Gray, EMC manager of storage resource management marketing, said the new management tool is required because of the rise of virtualization in the data center and the emergence of the cloud for storage.

While the first ProSphere release concentrated on performance management, EMC ProSphere 1.5 focuses on capacity monitoring -- a more traditional SRM feature. ProSphere 1.5 supports EMC Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pods (FAST VP) auto-tiering software and adds new capacity management dashboards and reporting capabilities.

Read the full story on the addition of capacity management features to EMC’s SRM tool.

Symantec aims Data Insight 3.0 at unstructured data management 

Symantec Corp. took another step toward integrating its storage management and security technologies this week when it released Data Insight 3.0 for unstructured data management items such as documents, presentations, spreadsheets and emails.

With the Version 3.0 update, Symantec also extended platform coverage to include Unix file servers, the Network File System (NFS) protocol, and extended coverage with Microsoft SharePoint and the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). The latest version of the data management application is integrated with Symantec’s Veritas Storage Foundation storage management software.

See more about Symantec’s release of Data Insight 3.0 for unstructured data management.

Western Digital, Hitachi GST make it official

Western Digital’s $4 billion-plus acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) officially closed this week -- a year and two days after the hard drive vendors first declared their intention to merge.

Western Digital is paying $3.9 billion in cash and 25 million shares of its common stock currently valued at $900 million for HGST, the world’s second-largest enterprise drive vendor.

The deal had to clear regulation hoops from regulatory groups around the world because the deal makes the combined companies the largest hard drive vendor with 47% of the market, surpassing Seagate’s 32% market share.

Check out this tip on the changing role of enterprise hard drives.

Dell offers deals for EMC, NetApp customers

Dell is trying to bolster flagging storage sales with a trade-in program that offers cash credits and improved lease terms to EMC and NetApp customers.

The Dell Storage Swap program launched today promises price breaks for organizations willing to retire EMC VNX, Clariion and Celerra and NetApp FAS arrays to move to Dell Compellent and EqualLogic storage before July 31. Dell pledges “specialized migration services,” support and “other financial incentives” for customers who switch.

Read the full blog post for more on Dell’s attempts to boost waning storage sales.

Additional storage news

Check out last week’s storage channel news roundup.

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