In our last post, we talked about de-duplication software that makes life simpler for IT managers in enterprise scale companies. Today, we’ll talk about the data management problems of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). On a smaller scale, these problems can be just as complicated.

Most SMBs start out with internal storage, and then begin to add direct attached storage (DAS) as their needs grow. Over time, these companies tend to end up with several DAS systems. They’re typically different models, and often they’re a collection of systems from different vendors, which makes maintenance, upgrades, patching and back-up processes difficult and inefficient. Another problem with DAS systems is that they’re notorious for under-utilization, so their cost-per-MB is higher than it should be.

Changing to a more efficient storage area network (SAN) usually makes sense for companies operating four or more servers, but migrating to a SAN can be intimidating.

In order to simplify the process of data management, the Dell AX4-5 storage array can help do the job (If your company is running four or more servers).

Specifically, this array comes with integrated EMC® Navisphere® Express and Navisphere Manager software that takes the complexity out of array installation and provisioning. It supports the iSCSI protocol, which uses standard Ethernet technology that is easier to deploy and more familiar to technicians than Fibre Channel. (The AX4-5 also supports 4Gbps Fibre Channel, but that protocol is generally not recommended for small IT organizations because it requires special skills to deploy and maintain.)

For maximum cost efficiency, the AX4-5 allows mixing high-performance Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives with cost-effective, high-capacity Serial ATA (SATA) drives for backup and archiving, giving SMBs many of the cost benefits of the tiered storage models employed by much larger companies.