Comparing the Cost of EMC Centera and HPE/SUSE/iTernity Compliance Archive Solutions

The following are results of a total cost of ownership study. The report includes actual price quotes for compliance archive solutions from Dell EMC and HPE/SUSE /iTernity. The study analyzes the cost of hardware, software and support for 500TB of storage, growing 25% per year, and used for backup to disk. Detailed cost data is in the analyst report and can be downloaded here.

Highlights of the Study:

  • In year 1, the cost of the Dell EMC Centera CAS solution was almost $200,000 more and twice the price of the HPE/SUSE/iTernity iCAS solution. At the end of the 5 year period, the TCO of the Centera solution was $350,000 more and over double the cost of the HPE solution.
  • The costs in this analysis were grouped into hardware, software and service & support. The HPE/SUSE/iTernity iCAS solution was at least 40% less than Centera in every category, and 74% less in the software category.
  • Modern server, storage and networking infrastructure is instrumented for remote monitoring and management to lower the cost of operation, service and support. In spite of this trend, Centera stands out with an extraordinarily high 33% of its total cost going to service and support.

Object Storage Compliance Archives

Compliant data archiving is a type of storage that must adhere to compliance regulations such as GxP Data (Pharma), SEC17a4 (Banking), HIPAA, patient record (Healthcare), and product liability (Automotive). A new class of compliant archive solutions (CAS) is emerging which is based on industry standard servers and object software defined storage. The new generation of solutions is far more open and scalable than previous generations of CAS that were closed and high centralized. This case study will reveal if they are more cost-effective.

Modern Compliance Archive Architecture

Two Leading Compliance Archive Solutions

This TCO case study compares the costs of two pioneering products. Centera is one of the first enterprise-class archive solutions which has recently incorporated long-overdue support for industry standard servers and software defined storage. The delay in the Centera refresh has put customers at a crossroads and this analysis provides pricing data which may be useful in helping them choose a direction.

The second solution, with products from HPE, SUSE and iTernity, is one of the first “open” archiving solutions that also support industry standard servers and scale-out storage.

Dell EMC Centera Compliance Edition

Highlights: Centera provides content authenticity, governance and compliance, long-term retention, and high availability. Introduced in 2003, it is integrated with over 300 archiving applications to manage email, file, medical imaging, content management, videos, and voice archiving on a single archiving platform.

Why it wasn’t the Lowest Cost Solution: I would have expected mature Centera software to command the biggest premium, but the biggest difference in absolute dollars between Centera and the HPE/SUSE/iTernity solution was in the cost of hardware, service and support. Given that both products are more similar than different, it is difficult to rationalize why overall, customers are expected to pay over twice the price of the HPE solution.

Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $685,146

HP/SUSE/iTernity iCAS Solution

The Right Product at the Right Price: The promise of software-defined storage is to get costs under control by leveraging industry standard hardware  and open source software. HPE and SUSE fulfill that promise in this solution while providing a trusted platform for the enterprise-class but affordable eternity ice’s application.

Highlights: The combination of HPE servers, SUSE Enterprise Storage, and iTernity’s iCAS solution provides an open, flexible, and expandable long-term archiving solution for fast-growing unstructured data. The solution also addresses a wide variety of regulatory compliance requirements spanning automotive, financial and healthcare industries.

Why it is the Lowest Cost Solution: The Dell EMC CAS solution is 2xs more expensive than the comparably configured HPE/SUSE/iTernity iCAS solution because the hardware is 47% more expensive, the service & support costs 354% more, and the software is 97% higher than Centera. Clearly, much of the lower cost of industry standard servers and open source software is passed on to customers with the HPE/SUSE/iTernity solution.

Five-Year Cost of Ownership: $336,271

Cumulative Five-Year Cost of 600TB Growing at 25% Per Year

Cost of Hardware, Software, Service & Support

Cost of Hardware, Software, Service & Support as a % of Total

Software Defined Storage Addresses the Elephant in the Room

The IT industry is experiencing unprecedented velocity in the generation of unstructured data, and the growth is accelerating.  The best enterprise storage for fast-growing unstructured data is disk-based online archive which should scale much more cost-effectively than flash-based solutions built for high performance. The bottom line for this TCO case study is Centera from Dell EMC retains the high cost of its proprietary past, while the HPE/SUSE/iTernity iCAS solution leverages open-source CEPH object storage software and industry standard servers to offer new economies of scale which address the elephant in the room–the high cost of compliant archive storage.

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