By Jarrett Potts
Just because a customer is not an enterprise does NOT mean they do not have the same issues as an enterprise. SOX, for example, applies just as much to the small/medium sized customers as it does to large ones. So, the SMB customer needs to get enterprise functionality that fits the SMB budget and model.
Data deduplication is a consideration as everyone’s data is growing. SMB customers have the same need as their larger brethren. Making the long-term storage of data becomes efficient when dedupe is added to the mix. Having up to 90 percent less of the storage requirements is beneficial to any customer regardless of size.
Time is a HUGE consideration. If you store data today, how will you retrieve it in 7 to 15 years? All customers need to have their data “roll forward in time.” In other words, as technology changes, the data must move forward on that technology. For example, 15 years ago we were writing to DLT tapes, which would be extremely hard to read today. However, the smart customer migrated, not copied, the data to newer media whenever the new devices were installed in the environment. For example, 9 track to DLT to DLT2 to Magstar to LTO1 to LTO3 to LTO5. While moving that data forward on the new technology, the smart customer will also make sure the data is still viable every step of the way. To verify the data, it must not be copied, but migrated. This assures that the data is still in its original form. It must also be migrated via the tool that put it on the tape in the first place so that it is content aware.
Another consideration for the SMB customer is recovery. The speed of the recovery must match the value of the data. If you financial system is not online and you are a small company that cannot take orders, you have a good chance of going out of business. Data recovery is the most important item to consider because without that recovery, nothing else matters. Therefore, the SMB marketplace needs to be especially aware of the recovery time for their data.
This leads to the last consideration: Beware of “The Cloud.” SMB customers cannot be fooled by the story of cloud offerings. The cloud is Internet-based and solely dependent on the speed of the Internet and your connection to it. If you need to recover your production environment, how long would it take via the Internet? Also, some cloud vendors charge extra for recovery. It is one price to back up and another price to recover. Be very careful when it comes to cloud. You get what you pay for.