Vendors set sights on SMBs


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But Anderson says his needs--Windows file serving and replication--are the same as a typical SMB. After considering systems from EMC and HP, he settled on an EqualLogic PS400E iSCSI SAN, partly because EqualLogic's SAN was easier and cheaper to manage.

"The biggest thing a storage vendor can do to serve SMBs is to benchmark their products against typical SMB and SME application loads," says Anderson. "It doesn't mean anything for me to see a benchmark of 10,000 Exchange users."

Daniel Covell, owner of The Covell Group consulting firm for small businesses, is on the other end of the SMB spectrum. Some of his customers are so small, he says, their storage needs consist of an external USB drive.

He says a company looking to spend $4,000 on a storage system has traditionally been limited to a Windows server with DAS or an off-the-shelf NAS system that's inadequate even for small workloads.

But Covell says things are getting better. He recommends StoreVault for smaller customers because he's satisfied with the performance and support for its price. "Just in the last year, we're seeing lower priced storage models that are worthwhile," he says of SMB systems. "StoreVault isn't really designed to compete with NetApp's enterprise storage. But small businesses can afford it and have redundancy."

--Dave Raffo

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This was first published in January 2008

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