The Emergence of the Agile, Affordable and Proven IT Infrastructure Technology for SMBs

Large organizations are putting new demands on their IT departments to deliver IT infrastructures that are more agile, make data protection a snap and facilitate the adoption of private and/or public clouds. However many small and midsized businesses (SMBs) still feel like they are on the outside looking in when it comes to achieving these objectives. Changing that requires they identify a technology that enables them to accomplish these objectives that neither breaks their budgets nor overwhelms their IT staff.

Organizations of all sizes increasingly recognize that today’s IT infrastructures no longer meet tomorrow’s needs. Instead, they want IT infrastructure that are easy to manage and provide them with an experience like “they have at home.” All organizations now expect IT to deliver:

  1. Agile IT infrastructures. The IT infrastructure must function as a business enabler. To accomplish that, the IT infrastructure needs the flexibility to grow and scale in real time as the needs of the business change. In this new role, IT is expected to add capacity and performance to applications that need it when they need it and accomplish these tasks securely and non-disruptively.
  2. Better data protection options. Organizations expect IT to do more than just quickly and successfully backup their application data. They expect to also have options to recover application data onsite or off. Further, they expect these recoveries to occur in hours if not minutes as few businesses or applications have the luxury to be out of commission for any period of time.
  3. Public and/or private clouds. While few organizations yet store much data in public or private clouds many are looking to put in place a foundation so they may do so in the near future. Most current efforts center on moving archival and backup data to either a private or public cloud with an eye towards potentially recovering applications and/or data in the cloud.

These expectations fall into the “good news, bad news” classification from an SMB perspective. If they have lots of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars) there are plenty of options available to create more agile IT infrastructures, better protect and prepare to use a public or private cloud. On the other end of the spectrum, they may try the consumer route as there are a plethora of low-cost offerings available.

However neither of these options is desirable. The substantial upfront investment for enterprise solutions is well beyond the means of almost all SMBs while consumer offerings lack the robust set of features that SMBs need to confidently and reliably implement those solutions.

SMBs instead need a technology that bridges this gap of meeting their enterprise-like expectations on an SMB budget. The good news for SMBs is that such a technology already exists in the form of RDX.

RDX (Removable Disk Technology) sets itself apart from most other storage media offerings in that it enables SMBs up to achieve these three objectives by offering enterprise features at SMB prices. What specifically makes RDX unique is that it delivers the benefits of both disk and tape. At its core, RDX offers:

  • Portability. RDX cartridges are “ruggedized” so they can withstand the normal ejections, insertions, handling, movement and even drops which tape cartridges experience. However they contain hard disk drives instead of tape media so they perform like disk.
  • Scalability. SMBs may start with the capacity they need (as little as 320 GB) and then scale the capacity as they need it and can afford it by acquiring new RDX cartridges that are up to 1.5 TB in capacity. Further, by acquiring storage solutions that are built on RDX technology like the Imation DataGuard or InfiniVault appliances, SMBs may start with only as much capacity as they need and get the flexibility to scale it in increments that meet their budget and particular needs.
  • Data protection investment. As a disk-based, portable technology, SMBs can copy data on one RDX cartridge to another and use that second copy as either a backup or even take it to a second site to have it available to do a disaster recovery. Further, no time is spent copying data from tape back to disk to recover an application as the application may run using data on the RDX cartridge.

While RDX has had all of these capabilities since its inception, SMBs may now fully realize its full potential using the emerging assortment of products that are built on RDX technology. The Imation RDX A8 Hard Disk Storage Library is a prime example of how they may implement data protection using best of breed technologies.
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The Imation RDX A8 supports data protection in ways that are already well understood by SMBs. It may be configured as tape library and direct connected to a backup server running Symantec Backup Exec, IBM Tivoli or Retrospect so they may continue with backup as they always have. However because they are using RDX, they have a multiple options to get the data offsite or even into the cloud.

Should they have no offsite location, they can do what they have traditionally done – eject the RDX cartridge, replace it with a new one and them take the cartridge with the backup data offsite and store it in a company safe or at home or use it to seed the cloud. Alternatively, if they do have a secondary site, they may configure the RDX A8 for replication and send the data offsite once the daily backups are complete without the need to handle the RDX cartridges at all.

RDX-based products such as Imation offers also gives SMBs more flexibility to upgrade to larger RDX-based appliances (such as going from the RDX A8 to the Dataguard or InfiniVault) and repurpose their existing cartridges for them. The portability of RDX cartridges gives them the flexibility to be re-used in other Imation appliance. This approach makes scaling an SMB’s IT infrastructure more affordable and practical while removing the data migration headaches that normally accompany such upgrades.

SMBs want and need agile infrastructures, data protection and private/public clouds just like enterprises do. However to accomplish these objectives and still end up with a solution that is reliable and stays within budget means they need to take a fresh look at what new options are available.

RDX and RDX-based technologies position them to accomplish these objectives without either having to pay either a high price tag or sacrifice on quality. They offer the “new” approach needed to accomplish these objectives as proven technologies that are just now coming into their own. Using RDX-based appliances like the Imation RDX A8, DataGuard and InfiniVault platforms and the RDX technology upon which they are based, SMBs get the agile, cloud-like, scalable IT infrastructure they want at a price point they can afford with the confidence they need to confidently deploy and support them.

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