Myopia and SMB Storage

I went to the local eye doctor last week to get my new eyeglasses. The eye Doctor knows that Zerowait has something to do with computers and storage and he started peppering me with questions. First he wanted to know if I could help him with his backup. I asked what he was doing now for networking and storage infrastructure. I explained that we specialize in high end storage and high availability networks but I would hear him out. I learned that he has three networks in his office because he is afraid of hackers. However, two networks can’t get to the Internet. The three networks can’t communicate with each other and are backed up to tapes. I asked if he ever tried to test his data with a restore from tape. He said that he had not, but he had five copies of his tapes. I asked how he could tell if he was backing up anything useful since he has not tested a restore. He paused and said that he did not now how reliable his back ups were.

As we proceeded with my eye glass examination other questions surfaced, I tried to explain why he might want to install a firewall and centralize his storage onto a single system, which would also be simpler to back up or mirror. He wanted to know what would it cost. I explained that the cost would be in the thousands for a firewall and centralized storage and backup to meet his data storage requirements. He looked at me and assured me that he could not spend more than $1000.00 for his backup system, and that is why he does not want any firewalls and a centralized storage solution.

The Doctor is a nice guy and he has at least as many employees as we do at Zerowait. I imagine his gross sales are similar to mine on a yearly basis, although I don’t know. But he has the problem that I see so many times when I discuss computer storage with my friends who are the fabled ‘ SMB customers’. They don’t see the value of secure back ups and centralized storage. I have a close friend who has a land planning and engineering company with 30 people. He does not understand the value of centralized storage either, but we have at least finally convinced him that he should have a firewall.

After over 20 years in the business of High Availability networking and storage, I have seen a very small percentage of small and medium businesses that see the long term ROI in investing in centralized storage, back ups and coordinated networks. Perhaps my definition of small and medium sized business is wrong. But most of my friends work at companies with less than 50 people. The rarity among our friends is the folks working for companies with more than 500 people.

When I read articles about the huge SMB marketplace for High Availabilty storage, I am left wondering where it is.

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