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October 28, 2015

Costs, data & cloud: 5 availability challenges for SMBs

List: Disaster recovery and backup go hand in hand when looking to avoid business outages.

By Joao Lima

Talking availability challenges for SMBs at VeeamON 2015 yesterday was Rick Vanover, senior manager of product strategy at Veeam, Russ Kerscher, global product marketing manager at Veeam and Jimmy Thai, network manager at Camico.

CBR lists their top five challenges SMBs face when it comes to availability.

1. Total cost of ownership

Adopting an availability strategy brings associated costs that often are forgotten by businesses. Kerscher said: "It is more than just the upfront purchase. You really have to think about the time and people resource more than just the cost."

He also said SMBs need to think about the day to day management and that I is important to think about the difference between CapEx vs OpEx (upfront purchases vs subscription services).

"Also think about what type of off-site infrastructure to you need (rent or build). How are you going to take data out of the four walls [of your infrastructure]."

With data growing at a rate of 30 to 50% a year within an environment, an average SMB will go from 1TB in year 1 to a maximum of 5.06TBs or a minimum of 2.8Bs on year 5.

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"Look at cost of downtime and cost of lost data."

2. Easy-of-use

"In an SMB, IT pros wear multiple hats. Complexity is the enemy, ease-of-use is the key," Kerscher said.

"It is really important that whatever product you bring to you plate it alleviates work instead of making it more complex."

He also said that more than half of companies are concerned about the complexity in managing backup products. "It is more than just a simple UI, product reliability comes into play."

3. Data recoverability

Vanover highlighted how SMBs are in a better position to backup data when compared to larger firms.

He said: "For most SMBs, backup is manageable. Traditionally they have less data to backup."

Backup in these businesses can be done after working hours or at the most on a given weekend, according to Vanover.

SMBs also have less complicated infrastructure which "is not a bad thing", and high speed recovery "is really what makes the biggest difference."

He said: "It is all about recovery. 92% of VMs recoveries take longer than 15 minutes. Yet, recovery expectations within SMBs are the same as those of large enterprises."

4. Taking advantage of the cloud

The cloud hides several business applications that are often forgotten by firms. By 2018, 50% of an enterprise’s data will reside external to the data centre, up from 15% today, according to Vanover.

"These ideas of cloud might be coming as a delusion of grandeur, but they are important. Yet, 40% of businesses do not send their backups off-site."

To address this, Vanover said Veeam’s 3-2-1 rule could be used. The rule dictates that businesses do 3 copies of their data, on 2 types of media, and that 1 must be off site.

5. Disaster recovery

Speaking on the last challenge – disaster recovery – was Thai who explained the importance of a clear plan and to "make sure you understand your data".

He said: "You have to get close to your business people. The key of DR planning is just making sure you do not go over so quickly, and have a clear plan."

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