As the owner or operator of a small to medium-sized
business, there are unique challenges and concerns that you address on an
everyday basis. In addition to being in charge of daily operations, you
probably have a hand in everything from client service to human resources to
accounting. These are traditional business functions that most of us are
familiar with, so executing them shouldn't pose too great of a challenge, right?
But what about information technology? IT has grown tremendously in importance
as a business function over the past decade, yet it is still the one that
average businesspeople know least about. IT is often touted as an
enterprise-level concept - a sophisticated, expensive, high-tech business
advantage that should only be of concern to Fortune 1000 companies. But its
importance to small and medium-sized businesses cannot be overstated. Every
document ever created or received by your staff, whether it be an office memo,
customer database, inventory log, or client correspondence, must be safely
stored and easily accessible at all times. Imagine not having access to your
data. What would the impact be on overall productivity? Or imagine losing that
data entirely. The importance of implementing a network infrastructure that
supports your business 24x7 becomes increasingly clear.
smart enough to know that data, and the successful management of that data, is
critical to the success of your business. But for those of us who don't have a
technical background or specialized training, the task of building and
maintaining a network infrastructure can seem rather daunting. Smaller companies
also cannot afford the luxury of outsourcing the task to an IT specialist. So
what is the solution for small to medium-sized businesses that require a simple,
reliable and cost-effective way to manage their data? A network-attached storage
(NAS) system. Whether you have 5 employees or 50, a NAS solution will keep your
mission-critical data safe, and enable your staff to share files quickly and
reliably for maximum levels of productivity.
In order to understand
the value of a NAS system, it is first important to understand what it's
designed to address: data storage. Data storage is probably the most ubiquitous
concept in the world of technology. As a businessperson, you are directly or
indirectly dealing with data storage everyday when you're accessing a
file, running a software application, e-mailing a colleague, or drafting a memo.
As your business grows, so does the amount of data you generate. If you don't
have enough storage capacity to handle that data, you will inevitably slow down
your network, and as a result, lower your productivity. In the business world,
seconds tick by like hours, and time is money. Chances are that you've
experienced the frustration that occurs while waiting for a file to open. It's
also likely that you run a variety of software applications as part of your
business, and that you've experienced slowdowns with them as well.
problems are probably occurring for two reasons:
1) You have a lot of
data being shared from workstation to workstation; and
2) There is a
lack of storage space on your server.
By installing a NAS system, you
can drastically increase the speed of your network so you no longer experience
the downtime, frustration, and lost productivity and profitability that results
from insufficient data storage. NAS systems are completely dedicated to
storage, making them the best solution for improving the speed and functionality
of your network. NAS relocates the storage onto its own independent platform,
effectively separating file sharing from application serving. Since applications
and storage are no longer running on the same system, this frees up file server
bandwidth and reduces overhead on existing application servers. The result?
Applications are processed more quickly and efficiently, and your staff has fast
and reliable access to data - both to the benefit of your bottom line.
addition to accessibility, NAS also offers high levels of
Almost all NAS systems incorporate a feature called
RAID (redundant arrays of
independent disks). A system with RAID capability can protect and provide
immediate access to data, despite a single disk failure or concurrent disk
failures. Different levels of RAID offer different levels of protection. With
RAID 0, data is striped across all physical drives to improve access times. With
RAID 1, the second set of drives duplicates the information from the first set
for maximum data protection. RAID 5 distributes data and parity across all
drives and is capable of tolerating the loss of one drive, providing full drive
As a small to medium-sized business owner, cross-platform
file sharing is also an area of importance to you. Your current infrastructure,
like those of many businesses, may contain a mix of Windows, Windows NT, Apple
Macintosh, Novell Netware, UNIX, and Linux platforms. Traditionally, sharing
data across these different platforms can be both challenging and expensive. The
good news is that with a NAS system, cross-platform sharing becomes quite
simple. On the network, a NAS system can appear like a native file server to
each of its different clients. That means that files are saved on the NAS
system, as well as retrieved from the NAS system, in their native file formats.
So you don't have to worry about converting your entire office to one single
platform, or losing your initial investment in your desktops, servers and
Another key benefit of network-attached storage lies in
its simplicity. NAS systems are incredibly easy to install. This is great news
for today's small to medium-sized businesses, which have neither the budget nor
the daily need for an IT manager. Technological enhancements to your network
should not be difficult or require significant time or effort from your staff.
Today's NAS systems are out of the box, plug and play. They are up and running
in minutes about the same time it takes to program a VCR. Nor does
installation require high levels of technical skill or a background in computer
science. Any user, regardless of experience level, can create networked storage
within five minutes and two mouse clicks with minimal effort. Not only are NAS
systems easy to set up, but they are also easy to use. Intuitive software
programs guide you in managing your network and getting the most out of your NAS
system. Again, they are designed with simplicity in mind.
from FIA Storage Systems Group
About the Author
Ortegon, Director of Marketing, FIA Storage Systems Group
has spent the last 20 years in marketing and management at high technology
companies such as Gateway, Advanced Logic Research (ALR), AST, and Computer
Automation. Her working experience encompasses a wide range of technologies,
including PCs and PC servers, networking, and mini-computer products.
1999, Ms. Ortegon has served as a marketing consultant to small and medium-sized
companies, helping them position and market their products more effectively via
product launches, sales programs and global marketing campaigns.
Ms. Ortegon heads the corporate marketing communications and product marketing
activities for the FIA Storage Systems Group, providers of entry-level
network-attached storage (NAS) systems. She is key in establishing new business
processes and positioning FIA and its POPnetserver products.