Are you sure you want low-latency performance on the cheap? Isn't that a contradiction? Better yet, why not establish your exact requirements, define your performance metrics and parameters, and then seek the best technical fit from a short list of qualified vendors. Let the bidding process and your wise use of volume discounts and hard-nosed negotiations get the best price on the market. But paramount in your search should be making sure you get the low-latency performance to sustain your use demands, not the lowest price.
Many times, I've heard of companies regretting the penny-wise, pound-foolish approach. Your total costs will reflect the quality of the services you provide, and up-front savings at the expense of lackluster performance perceptions from your employees, partners, and end users does not compute. Get it right first, then seek the best value -- not the other way around.
To get the best value, make sure you get your requirements correct, and be sure and forecast those requirements out several years, as loads and demands from data and transactions have tendency not to decrease, unless your business is failing. Best any failure not come from the system not performing properly. Also seek to use the current slack economic environment to your advantage. Chances are the financial firms are not buying IT at the same clip, so you may be able to get a better deal than you expect from those vendors that traditionally sell to the financial sector. Seek the Cadillac but spending for a Buick may work this year.
This was first published in June 2008