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Wolf Etter and Co.

Storage suppliers expect small to medium-sized businesses (a.k.a. SMBs) to jump into networked storage in great numbers, but small companies usually need a compelling reason to take the leap (see Report: SMBs Need SMStorage). The one-woman IT staff at Minnesota accounting firm Wolf Etter and Co. is a case in point.

System administrator Carla Hedding turned to a SAN system from Compellent Technologies Inc. after her firms rapid growth put it constantly on the verge of running out of disk space. She says the company might not have survived the last tax season without making the change.

“Before installing the SAN, I didn’t think we’d make it,” she says. “The previous year, every day was a stress day. Weekends were scary. I was on call and got called a lot. Now I’m on call and don’t get called.”

Wolf Etter has three sites -- company headquarters in Mankato and offices in Minneapolis and Mankato. The firm has around 100 employees and uses four Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS) servers and a Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange server for financial records and other documents. Before going to a SAN, Hedding underwent a daily ritual of juggling files on each server to make sure there was enough capacity to keep everybody happy.

“I was robbing Peter to pay Paul so everyone had space,” she says. “It was a daily thing. I had to clean up space everyday and hope everybody had enough.”

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