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"If backing up your 15 servers takes all night and is not done when people arrive for work next morning, you have a storage problem," says Mike Smith, executive vice president of Emulex. "If you have one server that is full of data, another sitting empty, and you can’t easily move around the data, a storage network might be a better way to go."
Data backups, for example, can often be greatly simplified by using a centralized storage box. And if the losses during downtime could be very steep, a disaster recovery system should be considered, complete with offsite copies of everything deemed vital to your daily small business operations.
Yet with $100,000 being the entry point for many storage products, and their management being more complex than the instrument panel of a Boeing 747, no small business would ever even consider such an option. Or would they?
Lorensen tells the story of a 120-person company that was using two aging non-Windows servers with DAS. The company switched its 120 users to six Windows servers and set up the type of storage network normally reserved for larger operations. Lorensen and other storage executives believe that as prices continue to drop, this type of network plus storage upgrade will become more commonplace.
"Storage costs are falling at 35 percent per year," says Anders Lofgren, senior storage manager at Computer Associates. "By using Linux servers and cheaper disks, there may be a business case for small businesses adopting sophisticated storage setups."
Another alternative for cheaper storage would be an upgrade to Windows Server 2003. It comes with greatly improved storage features that small businesses can use out of the box.
Still, at the end of the day, is it really necessary to go after the toys of the big boys? Most SMBs shouldn’t even think about the fancier end of the storage market, such as fiber optics or exotic storage boxes that have enough storage capacity to contain a small country and a price tag bigger than that country’s GDP.
"A lot of small businesses will do fine with DAS," admits Smith.
In other words, if data performance, storage capacity, and disaster recovery requirements are relatively mild for your small business, it likely makes the most sense to stick with the storage solution you have in place.
Feature courtesy of Small Business Computing.