Small Business Cloud and Storage Trends for 2014 - Page 2

By Drew Robb
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Cloud Backup for Small Business Evolves

People enamored by cloud apps, however, should be aware that the rules of small business data backup still apply—even in the cloud.

"Small businesses that use, or plan to use, cloud-based applications, must ensure that a data backup and recovery strategy is in place in the event of a data loss," said Eran Farajun, executive vice president at Asigra, a cloud-based data backup provider. "It's not the application provider's role to ensure data recovery; the cloud user is responsible for this recovering lost data."

A year or two back, it was good enough to send vast quantities of data to the cloud to serve as backup protection. The problem comes when you have to recover that data due to a failure or disaster. Suddenly, an issue emerges—it can take an age to get data back down from that cloud.

Enter Recovery as a Service (RaaS). You don't pay for how much data you back up to the cloud (which can get expensive). Instead, RaaS startups such as Bluelock charge based on how much data you recover in a given period. This can markedly change the economics of cloud backup for some SMBs.

Bluelock Virtual Datacenters (VDCs), for example, let you store as much data as you want for a small fee. If a disaster happens, users pay for the additional resources required to recover—like CPU, memory and software licensing.  As soon as the disaster event subsides, those costs go away.  Thus they don't have to incur large hardware and software costs as an ongoing basis in case a disaster occurs. Look for RaaS to be a growing trend this year.

"Small businesses also can't assume that, just because they have a local copy of their data, that they can recover their applications," said Pat O'Day, CTO at Bluelock. "It can take them days or weeks to get up and running from just backups. New equipment needs to be procured—along with space to put that equipment—and the backup tapes need to work with the new hardware. Protecting your data and ensuring availability is best done off-site."

Remember the Small Business Network

Many SMB's get caught up in the rush to the cloud. But don't forget about your company's network performance capability. A bunch of new cloud services can suddenly create a bottleneck. 

"Increased cloud deployments will put more focus on wide area network or Internet performance," said Everett Dolgner, director of product management at Silver Peak. "The Internet is often the weak link in a cloud deployment."

Simplify It

A side current of the cloud is that people are getting used to not having to deal with all the complexity normally associated with storage technology. Therefore, in 2014, small businesses will insist more on storage that's both simple to manage and cost effective. 

"Simplicity of managing storage in virtual environments will be recognized as a critical metric for success," said Saradhi  Sreegiriraju, director of product management at Tintri. "Small business owners should carefully evaluate their options and adopt storage and cloud technologies that give them the greatest payoff, while carefully considering the security and the cost-effectiveness of these services."

Drew Robb is a Los Angeles-based freelancer specializing in technology and engineering. Originally from Scotland, he graduated with a degree in geology from Glasgow's Strathclyde University. In recent years he has authored hundreds of articles as well as the book, Server Disk Management by CRC Press.

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This article was originally published on January 08, 2014
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