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NAS, SAN, RAID, iSCSI, FireWire, USB, NTFS, FAT 32 … Heck, Just Make Backups Simple!

In today's economic climate, small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) are facing budget constraints and an increasing lack of hardware resources necessary for essential IT tasks. One of the first casualties of a beleaguered IT staff (or IT person) might be the company's backup strategy. In the face of all your other, seemingly more pressing duties, are you ensuring that you're minding your storage?

What if storage were made easier? We know it can sometimes seem a complex, labyrinthine subject to navigate—an acronym-plagued wasteland of highly technical terms and technologies. At Windows IT Pro, we've covered storage for SMBs, and we might have some resources that you can use right now.

Let's start with an older article—"Sophisticated Storage Solutions for Small Businesses"—in which Elliot King provides still-valid advice for SMB storage. He says, "The emergence of backup appliances for small businesses mirrors the response that large-scale enterprises have had to the data explosion: The storage infrastructure must be layered, but those layers must work together and be easy to manage to solve the problems they're meant to address.

Next, try David Chernicoff's "Flexible Storage for Small Businesses", in which he talks about how NAS products are coming down in price, within the reach of SMBs. "Advanced storage technologies are coming down in price. Even small business users, who are often ignored by the major storage vendors, now have an excellent selection of products targeted at their needs and pocketbooks."

Take a gander at Anne Grubb's "iSCSI Storage Arrays buyer's guide, which discusses how iSCSI SANs can provide an affordable way for businesses to get acquainted with the benefits of centralized storage. "Storage vendors and industry analysts have historically tended to peg iSCSI SANs as a low-end storage technology offering budget-priced products that skimped on features and performance. Fortunately for IT pros, that trend is changing. Today's iSCSI storage arrays—even the lowest-priced offerings—offer standard features such as support for data snapshots, storage-management software, hot-swappable components that can be switched out quickly—in some cases, without taking the storage server down—and failover and redundancy support."

More recently, we've received interesting news from Data Robotics, about the second generation of its expandable Drobo storage robot. "It's so simple, anyone can use it, yet it's powerful enough for business." Drobo plugs into Windows, Mac, or Linux systems for redundant data protection without the complexities of RAID. Perhaps the Drobo is exactly what IT pros need—automated, easy-to-use, plug-and-play backup functionality in the form of a cool gadget.

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