It is Inevitable that Data Explosions Will Soon Happen in a Wiring Closet Near You

Follow these tips to avoid certain disaster.

As the product guy for a networking and storage company, I often get asked questions about what equipment people need to buy. What will work for me today and will also work next year? What would it cost, and do I really need all this hybrid cloud, and what is hyperconverged and containerized?

Owners of small businesses, the main customers of our kit, know that there are developments in performance, capacity and they also know how much stuff they have and what they spend on IT.

And when it comes to choosing a networking and storage setup, they set their priorities in a very straightforward way:

  • It needs to simply work
  • It should be affordable
  • It needs to be easy to install and use

Over the past 10 years, nothing has really changed in regards to the needs of the small business professional. Procuring the necessary IT equipment has not become any easier. With offerings of “anything-as-a-service”, a lot of hidden cost and contractual complexity has been introduced. So, it becomes that it isn’t that easy to install or use, it is certainly not affordable and, with all the tiny print in many of the contracts, it may not even work.

Small businesses buy their storage equipment from resellers or via websites that don’t really provide tailor-made advice that addresses their needs.  Sometimes these small business owners end up with something that does not fit their needs and that is actually more expensive over time than a simple appliance.

Data storage is one of those areas with fat price differences. Here are a few examples from this week’s small business reality:

–  You need to save a bunch of files for later. No urgent need to access – simple – you can pick up an internal 2 TB HDD (hard disk drive) for under $60. You could stick that in a PC, server or in a network storage device you already have, with no additional cost.

For cloud storage, if you go to Google for example, you will pay $50-$55 per month for the same 2TB. Why would anyone want to do that?

– Let’s say your business needs something like 8TB of total storage space, and you want to always have your data safely stored in two different locations, accessible to your staff at any time. You are not very technical and you want to keep it that way because you are busy. This is a fairly common scenario. In this case you would, without knowing, be adding more fancy features like redundancy, remote access, replication, auto backup, quotas for users, etcetera.

If you came to  NETGEAR, we would advise you of a much more simpler and cost effective solution by simply installing two 4-bay business ReadyNAS (model RN314 or RN424) and populate each of them with 4 pieces of 3 TB hard disks.

This option would set you back about $1,100 each and if you put these together yourselves, it is about 10 minutes work per unit. Setting up and configuring, let’s say, another half an hour. Expect this setup to last for more than 4 years. However, this same 8 TB in cloud storage would cost you about $220-$250 per month depending on speed and services. Over 3 years that is north of $7,500. Do the math and make the move to a ReadyNAS! And it is not just cost, you need to be worried about security and access, and if you have multimedia files as part of your data set, the challenge of uploading files to the cloud becomes even more cumbersome.

Another example that made us create a whole new category of equipment: the high density storage need.

Imagine you are the owner of a creative studio, and you produce and edit video. Your customers are asking for higher resolutions and framerates. The video file sizes explode. Moving all this data around has become a drag. Sticking it in the cloud or in someone’s data center is not an option because these guys charge per gigabyte and download/upload speeds are a bottleneck. The files are huge, the internet, PC’s and Macs are clogging up and have you seen what Apple charges for a big SSD in their top Macbook? That’s right, $1,200 for a 2 TB SSD instead of the 512GB standard one! Imagine having to buy that for five of your creative pros. And you still need to back this data up from their laptops.

Wouldn’t it be easier if each of those designers could have a couple of Terabytes on a central storage appliance and nobody has to worry about it? For this exact need, we have built a ReadyNAS that can expand to 132 drives. It has 60 hard disk drive bays to start with, in a wiring closet 19 inch rack format. So, for example, you could start with 15 drives, and expand over time. Setting this up is as easy as setting up a 2-drive ReadyNAS in your home, since it uses the same software. It will only take an hour or two to setup and configure and NETGEAR specialists can help you with that, remotely.

Total cost of this behemoth in a 600TB (60 x 10TB drives) setup is about 5.2 cents per gigabyte. For that price you own the thing. It’s the same amount as Google would charge you every two months.

From these examples it is abundantly clear that local network storage is far more affordable than cloud storage. Especially if you expect a data explosion.

The performance is another topic. Performance can be measured in data throughput speed. Our rack mount 43xx series ReadyNAS go up to 24 gigabit per second, while your internet provider probably gives you only about one percent of that, around 240 mbit/sec. No matter how fast any of your other equipment is, if you go ‘cloud’, that internet speed has now become your bottleneck.

To summarize, if your storage capacity and performance needs go through the roof, but you want to manage cost – there is really only one option: keep your data local. And if you want the highest possible security, ReadyNAS is your best bet.

Richard Jonker

Vice President of SMB Product Line Management

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