Businesses are well aware of the fact that IT environments generate data that needs effective storage technology and data recovery technology like backup and disaster recovery. This applies to all kinds of businesses regardless of the size (SMBs, SMEs, Large Enterprises). So, why are SMBs, SMEs or startups reluctant about purchasing and setting up these technologies? It’s the price tag on them.
IT infrastructures tend to be very costly and besides these CapEx costs, there are OpEx costs to them as well. An IT infrastructure requires maintenance, power, cooling and teams that manage and maintain them. For small scale businesses, that’s just too much to ask. In other words, they know that it’s necessary but they simply choose to direct their budgets to the core operations of the business instead. This is the typical “make-do with what you have” approach. Instead of pushing IT environments into the corner, businesses can opt to setup value products and support their IT environments. There are a number of technologies available that can make this happen and I’ll be exploring some of them.
Why not just the Cloud?
You might find yourself asking this question: “Isn’t it more convenient for SMBs/SMEs/Startups to just setup Cloud technology for storage and backup?”
Yes, it is convenient but is it efficient enough? Well, there are better solutions out there. Consider enterprise cloud storage, you can store your workloads in public clouds like Azure, AWS etc. This is definitely cost effective. SMBs do not have to bear heavy initial costs, instead they can just pay for what they use. The thing with cloud storage solutions is the latency. If you’re keeping your frequently accessed data there, then it’s better to keep them closer for a faster response.
If you’re going for a cloud-first strategy from the start, then that means you’re integrating storage, backup and disaster recovery in the cloud. This requires a number of resources to manage and is usually a complex ordeal.
Allow me to sum up my answer to the question: “Why not just the Cloud?”
- It’s good but not as efficient as on-premises infrastructure
- It gets complex when you integrate it for storage, backup and disaster recovery
- It’s susceptible to network connections, bandwidth limitations and file size limitations
The best choice for SMBs/SMEs/Startups: Hybrid Storage & Backup Solutions
I know, this is a cheesy and rather cliché sub-heading but hear me out on this one. Hybrid solutions deliver the best of the on-premises and the cloud worlds. That’s because they connect both of them.
If you’re not aware of hybrid solutions, allow me to briefly shed light on them. Hybrid solutions are simply the combination of on-premises infrastructure with cloud based services. An example would be a Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliance with cloud connect services. Using this storage appliance, an IT environment can setup unstructured data storage on-premises and then use cloud connect services to move older data from the NAS appliance to the cloud. Another use case of the same appliance is that the IT environment sets it up as a backup target. Data that has a higher probability of being accessed is kept on-premises while older and less relevant data or archival data is slowly moved to cloud storage tiers. All of this data migration can be done with automated tiering technology.
Are you thinking, “Well, NAS appliances aren’t inexpensive either”
Actually, there are hybrid solutions that are scalable and inexpensive. There are even companies that are willing to provide equipment financing to facilitate small businesses. Instead of setting up larger appliance and thick provision business IT environments, businesses should focus on the acquisition of scalable hybrid solutions. If it’s a “All-in-One” box that is also scalable, then the business does not have to worry about their future requirements.
Instead of fat provisioning their IT infrastructures, they can simply setup what they immediately need and then scale-out or scale-up as they go. This reduces the initial cost implications and allows the business to continue putting the major portion of their budgets to core business operations.
Conclusion – What am I talking about?
The bottom line is that small businesses have variable workloads and setting up dedicated solutions for them is expensive and complex. Cloud technology is convenient but for SMBs, it isn’t good enough. Businesses need faster and simpler solutions that are also cost effective.
Hybrid solutions, whether used for storage, backup or disaster recovery, are the best choice for Small-scale businesses. With hybrid solutions, businesses get what they need immediately and their infrastructure is also future-proof as long as they pay attention to their chosen vendor and their offered technology. Services like scalability ensure that the infrastructure is capable of adapting to the future requirements of the business IT environment. That’s why businesses should focus on solutions that offer simplified and unlimited scalability.