My guidance here is to go slow, even if your testing goes flawlessly. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a product test go great in the lab and the company buys significantly more capacity than they need because the were offered the "deal of the century." Then when the production system is implemented, the new product falls to pieces. Labs and testing are great. I love ours, but as I always advise clients, we can't test every scenario, find every flaw, measure every performance impact; only production does that. Buy small, roll out as slow as possible, and add to the production system as it passes certain milestones.
Look for companies that will accept this rollout strategy. By doing so, they are giving you an indication that they are looking to build a partnership with their customers. Always be suspect of companies that come up with an amazing price to get you to buy more than you need. You want to do business with companies that want your business, but not those that are desperate for your business. As the saying goes, if the deal sounds too good to be true ... it probably is.
George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.