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Next Up from DCIG – Small Business Storage Array Buyer’s Guide

A few months ago DCIG released its first ever Buyer’s Guide – the Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide – to gauge the interest of such a guide among users and vendors alike. Needless to say, DCIG has been overwhelmed with the positive response and has received numerous requests to produce more like that one. But due to the amount of research and expertise required to produce these guides in an authoritative fashion in other segments of the storage market, DCIG elected to reach out to other analysts in the industry who have the needed experience to do this task.

To handle this Buyer’s Guide DCIG contacted Stephen Fosket of Foskett Services to perform the research, data collection and analysis for the DCIG Small Business Storage Array Buyer’s Guide that DCIG plans to release in the fall of 2010.

The DCIG Small Business Storage Array Buyer’s Guide differs from the earlier Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide in some of the following ways:

  1. It only looks at storage arrays with up to approximately 30 TBs of storage capacity.
  2. These storage arrays will likely NOT have all of the redundancy features found in enterprise midrange arrays such as dual controllers, dual power supplies, dual fans, spare disk drives, etc.
  3. Their price point starts in the $500 range and usually will not go over $10,000.
  4. They will usually have some intelligence built in (RAID, iSCSI, NAS) but not the full feature set found in a midrange array. Minimally they must have at least two disk drives and support some type of RAID configuration.

One of the primary reasons that DCIG and Foskett Services selected small business storage arrays as a focus for a Buyer’s Guide is that these have become big business over the last few years. Small businesses as well as prosumers (professionals working from home) are looking to centralize and organize their data as well as support applications like email archiving and server virtualization. Technology has improved which is bringing comprehensive enterprise class features to them at very affordable prices. Further, performance and scalability are also improving on these arrays as well allowing these small arrays to grow along with the business.

As we prepared our questionnaire we were struck by the diversity of options available on these systems.  File oriented NAS products have been joined by small SAN systems that are able to support high performance clustered applications.  These systems often sport multiple interfaces, and many have hot swappable components and are rack mountable.  Though scaled down in size and price, many appear on the surface to be as capable as they are larger enterprise midrange array counterparts.

Differentiating between the systems requires a deep knowledge of the end user storage needs and enterprise storage capabilities.  The DCIG Small Business Storage Array Buyer’s Guide will do more than present these options.  It is designed to help end users make sense of the product landscape, identify the differentiators that are meaningful to their own use case, and pick the best product for their needs. It will undoubtedly also be useful to the OEMs and resellers of these storage products, enabling them to better communicate with the growing small array marketplace. 

We have already done a great deal of research on this product segment and expect to begin distributing our online questionnaire next week to key product vendors in the space. Developers of these storage arrays should feel free to contact us regarding the Buyer’s Guide to make sure they are included and as well to to offer any clarifying information that DCIG and Foskett Services may need to make an informed decision when the features on these products are scored and ranked.

Some of the companies that we tentatively plan to include in this Buyer’s Guide include:

If you do not see a storage array or company included in this list drop me a note at or leave a comment on this blog entry and we will certainly consider it for inclusion in the Buyer’s Guide.

The list of vendors to be covered was last updated on August 24, 2010, at 3:20 pm CST.


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