Keep It Simple: Storage

Think of the original PC, the Apple Mac, HP Printers, smart phones – even the internet itself. All have broken into the market to deliver a pervasive and long-lasting impact on consumers’ expectations and use of technology.

In many cases cheaper, faster and bigger “me-too” products hit the market following these innovations and disappeared soon afterwards. So what is it that ensures the longevity of one product while others come and go? The answer is that the right products are ones that we rely on every day of our lives and those are always the easiest to use.

Today there is a need for easier storage for your digital information. Your music, pictures, and videos; computer backups, work information – the list keeps growing. Never has the need for easy, affordable and reliable storage been so high.

Large enterprises have got it covered – they spend billions of pounds on the most expensive and sophisticated gear and then add teams of dedicated specialists to manage it all. There are channels dedicated to installing, configuring and maintaining large, complex storage hardware.

What about the 72 million SMEs worldwide? Research shows this is the market segment with the fastest growing demand for digital storage. Each one of these businesses also requires the functionality that comes with the best of enterprise-class hardware but they rarely have the budgets, staff or time commitment to do what the big enterprises do – they need something EASY and look to spend on average less than £15,000 for a solution.

Most SMEs require the ease of use to be delivered without compromise; that means a solution that is easy with the right features, the right automation and the right price. The right product is one that is easy to buy, easy to setup, easy to use, easy to maintain and expand. Sadly (and predictably), most of the companies that provide storage to this demographic follow the “cheaper, bigger, faster” formula and deliver very forgettable and complex resource-hungry solutions.

Two of the newest technologies helping to drive faster adoption in storage are the cloud and solid-state storage devices (SSDs). Although still in their infancies, both the trend towards cloud storage and the rise of SSDs promise in their eventual maturity to make storage faster, more reliable and easier in the long run. So how do small and medium businesses extract the immediate benefits from these two mega-storage trends in the here and now without having to become an expert at all of the technical and economic tradeoffs?

How can they harness the power of the cloud and SSDs without needing to harness an offshore bank account and a team of storage PhDs at the same time? SMEs require a solution that automates their usage and provides an easy-to-understand user interface can package the power of these new technologies in a way that is understandable and beneficial – instead of being reserved for the elite domain of the largest and richest enterprise customers.

There is a fantastic opportunity for those who can deliver the right products for SMEs and inspire the widespread adoption of storage solutions which are easy to use and fit for purpose. The trick in technology is always to keep it simple – that’s the secret to making a big difference.

Tom Buiocchi is the CEO at Drobo Inc. - currently the storage of choice for SME business customers worldwide. The company is known for products which are uniquely automated, application-driven and affordable. Recent advances into their technology include automated data-aware tiering, the incorporation of SSD technology and partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud storage.