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How does unified data storage apply to SMBs?

Greg Schulz explains how SMBs can benefit from using unified data storage in this ask the expert response.

How does unified data storage apply to SMBs? When should you use it? And what should you look for?
Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and unified data storage can be the perfect match for each other. Likewise, unified storage is also a good fit for remote office, branch office (ROBO) and small office, home office (SOHO) environments as well. The reason unified data storage is good for SMBs is because of its flexibility and general multipurpose capabilities. It can also easily adapt to the diverse needs of an SMB. Larger data storage environments may have the luxury of different types of storage solutions to meet various needs, but SMBs can take advantage of a data storage solution that is more flexible.

Larger enterprises can benefit from unified data storage as well, but SMBs can benefit from unified storage specifically from getting more use out of a given IT asset. SMBs should use unified data storage when they want or need the flexibility of supporting block and file, or a mix of SAS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel (FC) block, or iSCSI and network-attached storage (NAS). For example, if you need 5 TB of usable storage as well as data protection with a mix of RAID levels, you may end up needing 10 TB of physical storage. So rather than buying a 5 TB NAS for general file serving, home directories and other data as well as buying a 5 GB block storage system for database, exchange and other applications, look at a unified storage solution that supports 10 TB with room to grow.

Also, you should look for a solution that supports different protocols that meet your applications needs, along with support for tiered storage (i.e.solid-state drives (SSDs) and fast 15K SAS disks with high-capacity SAS/SATA disk drives). Other features to look for include support for various RAID levels, ease of management tools, snapshots, full volume copy and data movement capabilities, data replication and component redundancy.

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