Big Storage, Little NAS

By Lauren Simonds | Posted August 17, 2006

While small-business storage needs continue to grow at an exponential rate, you may be glad to know that storage solutions designed to handle that data are actually shrinking in size as they increase capacity.

Case in point: MicroNet's newest network attached storage solution, the PlatinumNAS 3.0, fits up to three terabytes of data into a compact, 7- by 8- by 9-inch, 18-pound box. That could come in handy for companies awash in data but short on office space.

The Torrance, Calif.-based company first made a name for itself back in the late 1980s when it delivered the first hard disk array for the Mac. Today, it markets the PlatinumNAS 3.0, which sells for $3,700, to SMBs that generate between one-half to three terabytes of data per year.

"Small businesses need storage solutions that are flexible, reliable and scalable," says Joe Trupiano, director of marketing at MicroNet. "By the time they're looking for more storage, they need it yesterday. The PlatinumNAS lets small companies add more capacity as their data-storage needs grow."

He also notes that the box doesn't require much tech knowledge to set up, and that it supports any operating system. "The PlatinumNAS is easy to set up. You configure the device through the browser, and a wizard for both the Mac and PC platforms makes quick work of installation," he says.

The box contains up to four hot-swappable 750GB SATA drives which, in addition to lots of capacity, means if one drive fails, you can remove and replace it without shutting down the network — and your business. It also means that, as your need for space grows, you can add more drives without dealing with downtime.

Trupiano notes that the NAS box comes with two dual gigabit Ethernet ports and offers RAID 0, 1 and 5 support across four independent channels for, he says, high-speed performance and reliability.

For any business owner trying to conserve energy and reduce utility bills, Trupiano says the PlatimumNAS 3.0 provides 50 percent more capacity while consuming 35 percent less energy than its competitors' products. He also notes that the unit's compact size lets you easily store it on a desk, shelf or other out-of-the-way spot. "Its small size also makes it easy to add another unit as your company's storage needs grow," he said.


MicroNet's PlatimumNAS 3.0
MicroNet's PlatimumNAS 3.0 holds up to three terabytes of data.

Small Business NAS Products Abound
MicroNet, of course, isn't alone its attempts to address the ever-increasing storage needs of small businesses. In fact, a list of companies targeting the small business NAS market reads like a who's who of the storage industry: Dell, IBM, HP, Network Appliance, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems all have products and distribution channels geared for smaller companies.

Many SMBs have already started to make the move direct-attached storage to network-based storage. According to the Yankee Group, a Boston-based market research firm, 56 percent of companies with 250 to 499 employees have implemented NAS storage. Even businesses with fewer than 100 employees are stepping up their storage systems as the Yankee Group reports that more than 40 percent of companies in that category has deployed NAS products.

Dan Muse contributed to this story.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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