Survey: Nearly Half of SMBs Cool to Public Cloud Storage

Despite the rising popularity of online services, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) are taking a cautious approach to cloud storage.

Drobo, a maker of data storage systems, recently surveyed IT professional in 239 organizations — the majority of which were SMBs — and found that nearly half of them are giving cloud storage the cold shoulder. Forty-six percent of the businesses polled by the company said that the public cloud didn’t fit into their storage setups.

Only 26 percent of the small-business IT pros surveyed said that they back up data to the cloud in tandem with on-site backups. Why are SMBs so down on the cloud? A look into the networking challenges faced by smaller firms offers some clues.

Bandwidth Crimps Offsite Data Backup

Many small businesses find it tough to implement offsite backup and disaster recovery. Thirty-eight percent cited these inhibitors: limited bandwidth and network quality that falls short. Cost, while an obvious consideration, was a major concern for 32 percent.

The results indicate that the network constraints that prevent some SMBs from setting up remote backup sites also make distant cloud data centers impractical storage targets. So, more often than not, on-site backups win out.

Among the surveyed organizations that keep their backups local, 52 percent expressed interest in the budget-friendly tactic of using storage area networking (SAN) capacity on a system that is separate from primary storage. Forty-seven percent of respondents plan to use data deduplication, a technology that maximizes disk storage space, as a cost-reduction strategy for data backups.

Small Businesses Prefer Software

Software is the data-replication technology of choice among SMBs.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said that virtual appliances and hypervisor-based solutions make the most sense for their businesses. More than a third of those polled (36 percent) said that they’d rather have their storage systems handle replication duties.

Drobo’s study also sheds light on the backup and data protection needs of businesses.

A third of respondents said that they run five or fewer servers. Expansive IT infrastructures are a relative rarity among those that participated in the survey. Just 20 percent reported operating 50 or more servers.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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