5 Small Business Storage & Virtualization Trends - Page 2

By Drew Robb | Posted January 05, 2012
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Meanwhile Greg Schulz, an analyst with StorageIO Group, adds that many SMBs are used to the cloud as an easy and inexpensive way to backup files and store archives. This year will see them experiment across a wider zone.

“The SMB space continues to be a market sweet spot for all forms of public cloud, expanding beyond backup and archive,” said Schulz. “For example, cloud-based data protection either enables enhanced business survivability or compliments what is currently being done.”

Trend 4: Virtual Desktops Are Coming

Virtual desktops have been threatening to be the next big thing for nearly a decade. Instead of dropping an expensive PC on every desk, desktop virtualization eliminates most of that hardware and makes it possible to place cheap, simple units on desks that don’t necessarily belong to one person.

Instead of the software and data files residing on one PC at that desk, everything sits on the server, which creates a virtual desktop for the user when he or she logs on.  This move towards the virtual desktop also lets employees bring their own laptops, or use other devices to view their files, and for them to travel while having instant access to their own files and applications.

“Virtualization enables the seamless security and flexibility needed to provide full, anytime access,” said Theil.  “An example is the adoption of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which allows employees to access secure, encrypted company information regardless of their location, thus significantly increasing productivity.” 

Trend 5: The Rise of Shared Storage

There are many different ways to store data. The smallest firms just keep files on a PC or on a laptop. That progresses up to keeping files on a central server. For many small companies though, the explosion in data has forced them towards more sophisticated storage setups, which include Network Attached Storage (NAS) and for larger or more IT centric businesses, a Storage Area Network (SAN).

NAS is a natural progression for SMBs that can no longer manage with a central file server. It offers more room and a way to unburden an overworked server from storage overload so that it can focus on running key applications. NAS technology is fairly user-friendly, and it can often be deployed without the need for trained IT support. 

On the other hand, SANs are a whole different beast. They require either in-house know-how or IT resources on call (typically through a service contract). But they allow a business to keep large amounts of data in-house, which can be accessed rapidly.  Larger SMBs can often be found with SANs.

Now factor in virtualization. For server virtualization to perform well, the files that formerly resided on a physical server are best offloaded to NAS or a SAN. Schulz therefore sees more SMBs having to deal with forms of shared storage such as NAS and SAN as they increasingly virtualize their servers.

“Shared storage is important for realizing the full benefits of server virtualization,” said Schulz.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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