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Make sure your storage can grow with your business

Tips for the canny SME

Capacity concerns

The final aspect is scalability. When I wrote the synopsis for this feature I was going to head off on a ramble about adding extra disk units as demand increases.

And that is indeed an option open to you – with some SME-targeted storage arrays you start with a device that combines the controller and a set of disks and then bolt on additional “dumb” disk enclosures.

The thing is, though, when you start looking at the SME options for storage you read spec sheets that tell you that the maximum capacity of a single 2U device is 48TB or 72TB, and that is easily enough for the average SME.

So yes, you can scale with extra devices but there is every chance that you won't have to.

To sum up, how do you make storage scalable for the SME?

Implement a dedicated backup LAN, preferably using stackable 10GbE-capable switches as they are not ridiculously expensive and will give the LACP/EtherChannel capability you need.

Choose a storage unit with multiple hot-swap power supplies and multiple LAN interfaces, which supports iSCSI and CIFS/NFS and which can replicate with partner units for resilience.

Go for a 2U model with plenty of drive bays so you can stuff more disks in.

Consider a device that you can expand with dumb additional shelves, but don't get fixated on it unless you are going to need daft amounts of storage.

Oh, and implement a retention policy that means you actually archive or throw away data on a schedule rather than simply needing more and more storage as time goes by. But that is a subject for another day. ®

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