Data storage management tips, techniques and options for SMBs

With a growing number of storage options available to SMBs, it's important to nail down a data storage management strategy. Learn tips, strategies and techniques in our guide.

Advances in technology have improved data storage methods and have made it easier and more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). While this eases some of the headaches associated with finding, configuring, securing and integrating new storage options, the technology changes also affect the way data storage management is handled and effectively employed.

From virtual data centers to a multitude of different physical servers, your options for data storage are greater than ever. Learn more about the data storage options now available, and new storage management techniques in our guide.

This guide is part of's Midmarket CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the Midmarket CIO Briefings section.

Table of contents

  Buying a physical server for data storage needs
  Table of Contents

When it comes to buying a server, the first question to ask is: What exactly do you need? Whether you've made this decision already or someone else has tasked you with the assignment, buying a server for your IT department can be a long process. There are a number of different types, models and options, including blade servers, freestanding floor models, 1U rack mounts and more -- not to mention your options if you're considering a virtual or cloud-based environment.

And that's just scratching the surface: There are myriad options to consider, including packaging, functionality, interoperability, performance, availability, survivability, capacity, energy efficiency and the economics associated with servers to navigate.

To guide you through buying a server, and to prepare you for data storage management, we will cover three important components:

  • Determining needs and requirements.
  • Understanding your available options.
  • Putting it all together

Learn more in "Buying a server? How midmarket CIOs can determine their needs." Also:

  • Understanding server options: How to assess your business requirements
    Understanding server options is a crucial step in determining which servers will work best for your business. From there, it's time to focus on specific product offerings.
  • Server options: Matching server requirements with business needs
    Available physical space, power and cooling costs, and performance can affect your current business' server requirements. Learn how to find the best match.
  • Acquiring, implementing and configuring a new server solution
    Now that you've selected the server solution for your environment, it's time to implement it. Learn how to acquire and configure your new server to integrate with existing tools.
  SMB storage management tips
  Table of Contents

Although small to midsized businesses (SMBs) tend to have smaller data storage environments than larger enterprises, their data storage needs are often the same. Moreover, they often run into similar data storage management issues encountered by enterprises, but with smaller staffs and fewer resources.

Bob Laliberte, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said he notices the struggles SMBs can have with storage management, compared with larger enterprises. "SMBs tend to have much smaller, less complicated environments [from a scale perspective], but they have the same issues: Keep production data highly available, make sure it is fully protected and recoverable to the stated recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs), and respond to business needs," Laliberte said. "The difference is in the enterprise environments. There are hundreds, if not thousands of IT resources [for larger enterprises]. In an SMB [environment], one person may be wearing different hats. [This] may be why newer technologies like virtualization take hold quicker in the SMB space. Automation enables the same number of people to manage larger environments."

Learn more in "Top five SMB data storage management tips."

Find out about storage training and management resources in the U.K. on

  • Five tips to save data storage costs for SMBs
    SMBs are storing new data at alarming rates. While most SMBs have budget reduction initiatives, they have little control over the amount of data produced. In this tip, find five ways to save on storage.
  Data storage management technology options
  Table of Contents

Data storage technology has changed over the years to meet the ever-evolving needs of midmarket organizations. Increased "as a service" technologies utilizing the cloud have been beneficial for SMBs across the board, letting them take advantage of flexible services, often at a lower price. Such is the case with data backup and Storage as a Service -- but does that mean leaving disk backup behind?

Learn more about storage area networks vs. network-attached storage, virtualized storage, assessment strategies and more -- and why these are important considerations for midmarket CIOs looking to explore options for data storage technology.

Learn more in "Data storage technology: Know your FAQs and options." Also:

  • Hot data storage technologies for SMBs: Small business storage trends
    Read about the top SMB data storage technologies and storage trends that will have the biggest impact on small and midmarket companies.
  Virtual data center options
  Table of Contents

The days of the garage startup are gone. The latest economic bust has paved the way for a boom in entrepreneurship that will usher in a new era of how businesses run. Why? The technology is now available for every single member of a small startup to operate in separate locations across the country, or even across the globe. The cubicles are gone -- replaced with cell phones, home broadband access and mobile Wi-Fi.

In distributed startups, your digital documents are your lifeblood. Plus, time is money: A small business simply can't afford to re-create or hunt down documents. For one vice president of operations with a growing online marketing firm, implementing new technologies to improve business efficiency was a challenge. One major issue he faced early on was finding a free (or very inexpensive) Web-based file sharing and storage solution.

Learn more about the available options for Web-based storage in "Inexpensive Web-based file sharing and data storage options for SMBs." Also:

  • Presidio CTO on virtual data center strategy dos and don'ts
    Dave Hart, chief technology officer of $1 billion IT infrastructure service provider Presidio, discusses virtual data center conundrums and how midmarket CIOs can get around them.
  More resources
  Table of Contents

Dig Deeper on CIO strategy

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing
Data Center
and ESG