Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Up the Middle

Are IT buyers in mid-sized and small businesses really so underserved by their storage and backup vendors? Every consultancy with half a pulse has issued reports that SMBs are the sweet spot in which they expect tons of new revenue to be generated, but if we haven't hit saturation yet, we must be tip-toeing right up to it.

Microsoft made perhaps the biggest splash this week by unveiling plans for a mid-market server built around Vista/Longhorn. "Centro" is intended for companies with 25 to 500 PCs and fewer than 1,000 employees, and is a separate initiative from a promotional mid-market server bundle that Microsoft launched two months ago. But Computer Associates was the first out of the blocks with data protection software that includes backup and restore capabilities, antivirus, anti-spyware and desktop migration features for the mid-tier Windows solution.

But that's just half the menu. While the mid-tier and small businesses weren't specifically mentioned, Hewlett-Packard's new storage servers and archiving services are priced with a smaller pocketbook in mind, which is to say under $10,000. Gateway went HP one better with a new small-business server with built-in RAID 5 that will go for a mere $599.

This isn't the first time this year I've highlighted mid and lower-tier offerings in this space. Have I missed something--are SMBs really that much more flush with cash for storage and archiving purchases? Clearly, vendors think they can make money outside the cluster-filled, enterprise-scale data centers. But isn't the SMB market borderline saturated? Let me know what you think before the next mid-tier deluge.

Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief, Byte and Switch