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Best Practices: Systems, Network, and Data Management

Business’s information technology more expensive than ever before

Even smaller companies are seeing their data storage needs explode by as much as 50% to 100% per year.5-1 Depending on the nature of your business, there are a number of ways you can meet your burgeoning data storage needs. To ease storage management hassles, you may want to venture into some sort of networked storage alternative (see the sidebar at right entitled Data storage solutions: options).

To figure out what’s best for your business, you’ll need to ask and answer these questions:

• Is the data critical for continued business operations getting backed up in a timely and reliable fashion? If your overnight backups can’t be completed overnight, it’s time to rethink your whole process.
• How much care and feeding do data backups take? If they consume more and more administrator resources, it may be time to centralize and automate your backup activities.
• Do you have some storage devices that are overloaded while others are mostly empty? This signals a need for network storage.
• What kind of data performance do you need? If your data can’t be accessed quickly enough by the staff who need it, you may require highly-available storage.
• Can your business afford to lose all its systems and data? Doubtful, so you need a disaster recovery system that replicates essential data and applications offsite.
• How much data storage will your company require over the next few years? Probably much more than you thought you’d ever need.

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