Small and medium-sized businesses are the great untapped market for the computer storage industry. They remain untapped, for good reason. Money. Or lack of...the sort of sums bandied about for computer storage systems aimed at the enterprise look prohibitive. However, all the reasons that big businesses are investing in storage …
Clouds for them
If you are too small to have an IT department and associated BOFHery then outsourcing the backups, security, etc to a Cloud is the easy and safesty way to go.
Sure there are theoretical risks associated with going to a cloud supplier, but they are a lot less than the risks of trying to do them internally with inexperienced and overworked staff.
Sure there are theoretical risks with Google docs etc, but I'm sure Google will set things up far better than the boss's 15 yo son.
ZFS is the future...
...and SME's can get themselves a box with 4TB of RAID-Z2 storage (RAID 6 on steroids) running on OpenSolaris for around 1000 euros these days. The future of storage has never looked better, even in these credit crunchy days :)
Here's something similar I prepared earlier in the year, for home use, but is suitable for a small business too:
I am not disputing the technical excellence of ZFS, but for privisioning a small storage server to an SME, it is probably no better (or worse) than many other file systems. This might change when ZFS gets dedpulication. Nice site by the way.
Lets face it, disks are cheap. The SME can buy a small NAS raid box for perhaps £500. Slow yes, but maintenance free and will probably last 5 years+
Thanks, and yes you're right. I would also add that IMHO ZFS *is* much better than other currently available filesystems in the marketplace today (discounting things like NetApp which cost mucho $$$), as you get several huge advantages like:
1. no need for an expensive and, more to the point, proprietary RAID card, as ZFS uses software instead of hardware (spare CPU cycles are abundant and cheap these days) to control storage access.
2. transactions to guarantee consistent disk state -- you can only have either (1) the state before the file was written/updated OR (2) the state after the file was written/updated, and never an inconsistent state.
3. end-to-end data integrity: what was in ECC RAM is what is guaranteed to be written to, and read back from disk later -- old school RAID solutions don't give you that. This is the #1 selling point of ZFS -- you can easily build setups that won't lose data, and the more redundancy you build in, like double parity and hot spares, the more unlikely it becomes that you will ever experience data loss. And large capacity SATA disks are dirt cheap: 95 euros per TB now.
4. a one line command (zfs scrub pool_name) which will go through all the file systems in your ZFS storage pool and will automatically detect *and correct* any latent failures (caused by bit rot, or dropped bits)
5. admin is extremely simple, and sharing via NFS, SMB/CIFS, and Samba is a one line command on the ZFS server.
6. it can manage virtually infinite amounts of storage -- the only limits you'll encounter will be determined by your wallet.
I could go on but I wont :)