Big Ideas for Small Storage

In a few years' time, we may not even be talking about 'enterprise-class' storage

August 29, 2008

3 Min Read
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EMCs decision to bulk up its latest low-end Celerra device with high-end features reflects one of the biggest trends in storage. In addition to EMC, a whole host of vendors, both large and small, are attempting to prise open SMB wallets.

Smaller firms certainly have money to spend, something which is not necessarily the case for their enterprise counterparts. Recent research from AMI Partners, for example, highlighted the fact that U.S. SMB spending is growing faster than GDP, and a whole host of storage companies are attempting to jump on this bandwagon.

For users, this spells good news, according to Jeff Janover, director of technology at Wall Township Public Schools in New Jersey, who says that more and more enterprise features are being built into low-end storage offerings.

“There’s no question that these capabilities are coming to the smaller devices,” he says. “A lot of people look at a K-12 environment and say ‘it’s just a school’ but we look at it as an enterprise – we have got very important data that we have to protect.”

No organization, whether they are a Fortune 500 firm or a Garden State school district, wants to hit the headlines because of a data breach, something which is pushing SMBs more and more toward enterprise storage.”Every piece of information that we goes in and out of a school district has to be stored someplace,” says Janover. “We don’t want it on desktop computers; we really need enterprise-class storage.”

At least one analyst agrees that enterprise and SMB storage are becoming increasingly difficult to separate.

“There’s obviously an enormous commercial opportunity for vendors with SMBs – there’s a huge number of SMBs out there, both in the U.S. and overseas,” says Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT research.

The analyst adds that the days when enterprises and SMBs pursued very different storage strategies are over.

"SMBs today are storing volumes of data that would have been enterprise level just half a decade ago – the only companies that are reducing their use of storage are the ones in Chapter 11,” he says. “That trend creates a great opportunity for companies like EMC to take their products and re-cast them for smaller businesses.”With the renewed focus on the lucrative SMB market, however, isn’t there a risk that vendors could "dilute" their enterprise products, potentially pulling resources away from higher-end technologies?

"That’s a good question,” admits King, but he adds that vendors such as EMC and IBM are shrewdly letting their partners do much of the SMB leg-work. “It’s unlikely that SMBs will contact EMC directly – it’s more likely that a reseller or channel partner will take the lead in selling the storage.”

If the current trends continue, we may not even be talking about "SMB" and "enterprise-class" storage in a few years time, referring instead, to just plain old "storage."

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  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Pund-IT Inc.0

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