For example, a database may think it's accessing a volume sized at 4 TBytes, but the 3PAR system could have just 1 TB of disk capacity in place if the application uses less than that. User-defined thresholds alert administrators once the physical capacity starts to run out; 3PAR estimates customers will typically want to keep a three-month buffer of available capacity in place.
3PAR is selling Thin Provisioning as a software option priced at $6,600 per written terabyte of data.
Besides lower upfront costs, Scott says the benefits of provisioning less physical storage extend to operational expenses as well. "You're deferring disk purchases, but you're also eliminating floor space charges and power usage," Scott says. "The impact is incredible from an environmental perspective."
Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group Inc., says 3PAR's Thin Provisioning sets "a new bar for usefulness," and he predicts that other vendors will eventually follow suit with similar offerings.
"Why the hell should I pay for stuff I'll never use, just to keep a DBA [database administrator] happy? It's stupid," he says. "In the days of spending money like a drunken sailor it was fashionable to not care. Now, you have to care." [Ed. note: Or you just may get your belly shaved with a rusty razor!]