I saw a post the other day that you should definitely go check out. It’s a cost/benefit decision, and although the author gives it a quick treatment and doesn’t take all points in the decision into account, you should focus on the process he follows. It’s a quick and simple example of the kind of thought process we should have as data professionals when we pick a server, a process, or application and even platform software.
The key is to include more than just the price of a piece of software or hardware. You need to think about the “other” costs in the decision, and then make the right one. Sometimes the cheapest option is the cheapest, and other times, well, it isn’t. I’ve seen this played out not only in the decision to go with a certain selection, but in the options or editions it comes in. You have to put all of the decision points in the analysis to come up with the right answer, and you have to be able to explain your logic to your team and your company. This is the way you become a data professional, not just a DBA.
You can check out the post here – it deals with Azure, but the point is the process, not Azure itself: http://blogs.msdn.com/eugeniop/archive/2010/03/19/windows-azure-guidance-a-simplistic-economic-analysis-of-a-expense-migration.aspx