Midmarket CIO Briefing

Data storage management tips, techniques and options for SMBs

SearchCIO-Midmarket.com Staff

Advances in technology have improved data storage methods and have made it easier and more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). While this

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eases some of the headaches associated with finding, configuring, securing and integrating new storage options, the technology changes also affect the way data storage management is handled and effectively employed.

From virtual data centers to a multitude of different physical servers, your options for data storage are greater than ever. Learn more about the data storage options now available, and new storage management techniques in our guide.

This guide is part of SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's Midmarket CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the Midmarket CIO Briefings section.

Table of contents

  Buying a physical server for data storage needs
  Table of Contents

When it comes to buying a server, the first question to ask is: What exactly do you need? Whether you've made this decision already or someone else has tasked you with the assignment, buying a server for your IT department can be a long process. There are a number of different types, models and options, including blade servers, freestanding floor models, 1U rack mounts and more -- not to mention your options if you're considering a virtual or cloud-based environment.

And that's just scratching the surface: There are myriad options to consider, including packaging, functionality, interoperability, performance, availability, survivability, capacity, energy efficiency and the economics associated with servers to navigate.

To guide you through buying a server, and to prepare you for data storage management, we will cover three important components:

  • Determining needs and requirements.
  • Understanding your available options.
  • Putting it all together

Learn more in "Buying a server? How midmarket CIOs can determine their needs." Also:

  SMB storage management tips
  Table of Contents

Although small to midsized businesses (SMBs) tend to have smaller data storage environments than larger enterprises, their data storage needs are often the same. Moreover, they often run into similar data storage management issues encountered by enterprises, but with smaller staffs and fewer resources.

Bob Laliberte, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said he notices the struggles SMBs can have with storage management, compared with larger enterprises. "SMBs tend to have much smaller, less complicated environments [from a scale perspective], but they have the same issues: Keep production data highly available, make sure it is fully protected and recoverable to the stated recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs), and respond to business needs," Laliberte said. "The difference is in the enterprise environments. There are hundreds, if not thousands of IT resources [for larger enterprises]. In an SMB [environment], one person may be wearing different hats. [This] may be why newer technologies like virtualization take hold quicker in the SMB space. Automation enables the same number of people to manage larger environments."

Learn more in "Top five SMB data storage management tips."

Find out about storage training and management resources in the U.K. on SearchStorage.co.uk

  • Five tips to save data storage costs for SMBs
    SMBs are storing new data at alarming rates. While most SMBs have budget reduction initiatives, they have little control over the amount of data produced. In this tip, find five ways to save on storage.
  Data storage management technology options
  Table of Contents

Data storage technology has changed over the years to meet the ever-evolving needs of midmarket organizations. Increased "as a service" technologies utilizing the cloud have been beneficial for SMBs across the board, letting them take advantage of flexible services, often at a lower price. Such is the case with data backup and Storage as a Service -- but does that mean leaving disk backup behind?

Learn more about storage area networks vs. network-attached storage, virtualized storage, assessment strategies and more -- and why these are important considerations for midmarket CIOs looking to explore options for data storage technology.

Learn more in "Data storage technology: Know your FAQs and options." Also:

  Virtual data center options
  Table of Contents

The days of the garage startup are gone. The latest economic bust has paved the way for a boom in entrepreneurship that will usher in a new era of how businesses run. Why? The technology is now available for every single member of a small startup to operate in separate locations across the country, or even across the globe. The cubicles are gone -- replaced with cell phones, home broadband access and mobile Wi-Fi.

In distributed startups, your digital documents are your lifeblood. Plus, time is money: A small business simply can't afford to re-create or hunt down documents. For one vice president of operations with a growing online marketing firm, implementing new technologies to improve business efficiency was a challenge. One major issue he faced early on was finding a free (or very inexpensive) Web-based file sharing and storage solution.

Learn more about the available options for Web-based storage in "Inexpensive Web-based file sharing and data storage options for SMBs." Also:

  More resources
  Table of Contents

This was first published in August 2010

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