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SMBs Get Market Respect

If you work for a business with fewer than 1,000 employees, you're no doubt aware that storage networking suppliers have you in their sights. But you've probably noted an uptick in the pitch level lately.

At the SNW tradeshow in Dallas this week, numerous vendors pounded the SMB skins with fresh vigor. And while they've courted the segment for years, many suppliers now seem more serious about actually changing their products to fit the needs of smaller businesses.

What's driving the SMB (small to medium-sized business) revival? One factor is the ongoing growth of iSCSI, which is viewed by key providers as chiefly an SMB technology.

"We expect that over time, iSCSI will be a popular choice in lower segments of the market, particularly for those who have not or won't invest in Fibre Channel, but who have enough pain that will move them to networked storage," states IDC analyst Brad Nisbet.

IDC predicts that sales for products priced in the "under $5,000" range will grow an average of 184.3 percent annually through 2011, compared with growth of 52.4 percent for products priced between $15,000 and $50,000.

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