Monday, September 6, 2010

Storage Is Not Cheap!

For years, there was sort of a dark joke going around that the cost of storage was dropping so quickly, that there was no need to think twice about ordering that additional Centera Drive, “just open up another Clip-ID and go!”

It is urban myth that storage is cheap. Maybe the 1 TB USB Drive you can buy at Best Buy costs less than a full tank of gas, but that nifty backup drive does not have to live in a redundant, arrayed, hot-site-backed- up data center with security I am not allowed to describe in any detail. Here is the math for reducing storage for one firm we’ve helped recently:

Above figures depict the cost difference to store AFP compared to PDF for insurance policy and billing documents at a major insurance company.

We encounter this all the time when working with clients that are making tough decisions about whether to store in PDF format or store in a “native” format such as AFP, metacode or PCL, and dynamically transform to PDF when the documents are retrieved.

Several important facts:

• If you are storing high volume transactional output like statements, policies, EOB’s or 1099’s, the biggest part of that document are the repetitive graphics, fonts, and overlays used to make the document attractive when printed.

• By storing the native format, you can store those repetitive elements ONCE, version them, and then re-combine with the variable data upon retrieval.

• This makes even more sense when you consider that on average; only about 3-5% of any transactional document is ever retrieved from your archive. Why redundantly store all those expensive graphics over and over?

• Retrieval performance for dynamic retrieval and transformation has improved so much that users typically do not even notice that their document is being dynamically rendered.

As we all try to find our way out of the Great Recession, ideas like Storage Reduction are getting the attention of senior managers looking to cut costs.

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