SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

August 24, 2010 17:46 ET

Fragmentation Solutions: Watch the Cost of Ownership

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - August 24, 2010) -  "Cost of ownership" is an interesting metric for a company. For example, a company can buy a fleet of used vans at a reduced price. In addition to the purchase price, however, the company has to also watch the prince of insurance, fuel, and general upkeep. When one or more of these run unusually high, it can be seen that, combining them with the initial price, the cost of the vans was actually more than the company bargained for. In this case, the company would have fared better if they had made a higher initial investment in newer vans that would probably have also had better warranties.

Cost of ownership is a valuable measure in the world of computers also. Used servers can be purchased for a bargain price, for instance. But will they be able to run the latest applications, at a speed necessary for company operations? How long will they last before parts have to be replaced? In answering such questions, it's obvious that more than the initial purchase cost must be taken into account.

On the software side, cost of ownership could be applied to a solution for fragmentation. An initial low cost might seem very attractive -- especially since fragmentation is such a prime issue and it must always be addressed. But before any IT director signs off on a free or low-cost fragmentation solution, there are several factors which should be examined.

The cost of ownership would include the cost of operation: How many valuable IT man-hours will it take to schedule and run the software? How much downtime will it require on servers and workstations for the solution to run -- costing the company potentially lost income?

It would also include costs to the company in terms of lost system performance and reliability if the solution doesn't perform. How much do system personnel have to work to rectify conditions -- such as slow performance -- that should be addressed in handling fragmentation? How much does it cost the organization when hard drives don't last their expected life spans? What is the cost when backups or other processes hang?

It can be seen -- just as in the example of the vans -- that the cost of ownership in such a case far exceeds that low initial investment. A higher up-front cost for a robust solution tailored to enterprises and their particular fragmentation issues would result in considerable savings down the line. Operating costs would be reduced to near-zero, once the solution has been installed, as it would operate invisibly, in the background. Because fragmentation is always kept in check, system performance and reliability would always be maximized.

When examining cost of ownership for any potential purchase, make sure all factors are taken into account.

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