Backup strategies for SMBs – the reseller role

Chris James, EMEA marketing director for Overland Storage

For small to medium sized businesses, price plays an important factor in selecting a backup strategy, as well as the seamless integration into existing environments. Often, SMBs lack the budget to completely overhaul their storage environment every time there is a new piece of kit. They may also lack the relevant expertise internally to manage this transition, so require a solution that is automated and easy to use. Understanding which strategy is right for their business, is also a key issue for SMBs.

Autoloading tape libraries provide the most economical way to automate data backup. Although not suitable for primary backup or where performance is a factor, tape storage offers an inexpensive way of securely backing up large amounts of data. Disk backup is recommended where fast recovery times are required. Such applications where this would apply include, access to email or mission critical databases.

In order to ensure all data is securely backed-up, SMBs should encompass both forms of storage and take a two-stage, “Disk-to-Tape” strategy. The choice of technology largely depends on the importance of data but, in the main, tape libraries are suitable for long-term storage, with disk systems deployed for fast access and restore. So how does an SMB select the right strategy? How does it know if it needs the high performance features of disk or what data should be backed-up on tape? This is where a specialist consultant can help define the best strategy for the business.

Specialist resellers play an important role in the SMB market, as smaller businesses rarely have IT specialists in-house, so rely on the experts to provide advice and expertise. The storage market is crowded however, so in order for resellers to stand out from the crowd, they need to provide added services and after sales support. This includes analysing individual customer requirements and offering tailor made solutions as, in this market, it is definitely not a “one size fits all” approach.

Resellers also need to ensure they are continually developing themselves and keeping up with the state of the market and any new trends/developments. Industry organisations such as SNIA can help with this. Current data storage trends are moving more towards disk based backup. The storing – and above all restoring – of data to disk is substantially quicker, making this medium more and more favourable. Tape systems will still, however, have a use for archiving purposes. As SATA drives continue to become more affordable, this will also provide a cost-effective option for SMBs to deploy a disk backup strategy.

We have also seen VTL strategies become more popular amongst SMBs, as a more cost effective alternative to replacing or adding capacity to storage solutions. VTLs offer SMBs optimum flexibility and the ideal way to transition between disk and tape storage, without the associated prohibitive costs.

Overland Storage is exhibiting at Storage Expo 2008 the UK’s definitive event for data storage, information and content management. Now in its 8th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme and over 100 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 15 - 16 October 2008 -

Source: StoragePR