Just because a customer is not enterprise does NOT meant they do not have the same issues as an enterprise. A small customer has all the same issues that a large one may have, but they usually do not have the same type of resources available to remedy that issue. To be honest, we really need to define what a small, medium or large business really is. The market talks about them like they are different when in actuality, they are more alike than most care to admit.
Do we define a small customer by number of employees or by the amount of money they make. Maybe by the amount of data they have. None of these really make sense as they are all subjective. Here is what I propose, we call a business a business and stop caring about what the market says their size is.
What is the difference between a Credit Union and a Bank. One is smaller in the amount of people they serve but Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) applies to both. As an example, SOX applies just as much to the small/medium sized customers as it does to large ones. So the SMB customer needs to get enterprise functionality that fits the SMB budget and the SMB model.
So the question really is: What should “SMB” companies really think about in the data protection arena?
Data deduplication is a consideration because everyone’s data is growing. SMB customers have the same need as their larger brethren thus they must make the long term storage of data become more efficient. That is why dedupe must be added into the mix. Having up to 90% less of the storage requirements is beneficial to any customer regardless of size. Smaller customers have smaller work forces and this helps them utilize their existing resources more efficiently.
Time is a HUGE consideration. If you store data today, how will you retrieve it in 7 to 15 years. All customers need to have their data “roll forward in time” In other words, as technology changes, the data must move forward on that technology. For example, 15 years ago we were writing to DLT tapes which would be extremely hard to read today. However, the smart customer and migrated, not copied, the data to newer media whenever the new devices were installed in the environment. For example, 9 track to DLT to DLT2 to Magstar to LTO1 to LTO3 to LTO5. While moving that data forward on the new technology, the smart customer will also make sure the data is still viable every step of the way. To verify the data it must not be copied but migrated. This assures that the data is still in its original form. It must also be migrated via the tool that put it on the tape in the first place so that is it content aware.
Another consideration for the SMB customer is recovery. The speed of the recovery must match the value of the data. If the financial system is not online and you are a small company that cannot take orders, you have a good chance of going out of business. Data recovery is the most important item to consider because without that recovery, nothing else matters. Therefore the SMB marketplace needs to be especially aware of the recovery time for their data.
This leads me to my last consideration. Beware of “The Cloud”! SMB customers can not be fooled by the story of cloud offerings. The cloud is internet based and is solely dependent on the speed of the internet and your connection to it. If you need to recovery your production environment how long would it take via the internet. Also, some cloud vendors charge extra for recovery. It is one price to backup and another price to recover. Be very careful when it comes to cloud. You get what you pay for as my dad used to say.