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Until now, small businesses faced pretty expensive IT charges once they hit around 25 employees – because a SAN was the next step up from a NAS, and that level of sophistication made convenient retrieval extremely handy for most business models.

 

The difference between the two options was made in the server software. A SAN would house a server with external storage bins. The server would manage convenient and quick retrieval of information from the bins. The entire business would upload data into the storage bin commons for this to work.

 

The NAS alternative was based on a similarly collective design, but it didn’t have the executive function. Employees would need to dive in and manually retrieve files from the storage bins. That would take some time, causing workflow drag. The drag was the pain point that would bring businesses into the SAN buying cycle.

 

But now there is a newer, shinier, and cheap business networking solution for SMBs: VMWare’s Virtual SAN.

 

How Virtual Storage Area Network (Virtual SAN) works

The idea is simple but effective. VMWare uses software to more powerfully harness the power of the hardware that you do have – so you don’t need to buy more hardware. A Virtual SAN is a program that collectively pools your hard-drives into a single cluster, while providing all the executive features of a SAN.

 

This resulting speed, performance, and redundancy is truly exciting, especially considering how far storage has come over the years. Workstation harddisks can now house TERAbytes of data, so the VMWare Virtual SAN could allow many small businesses join the mid market before even thinking about upgrading to a SAN infrastructure.

 

The system promises to reduce upfront cost and maintenance costs. This is simple exciting, design joining the SMB market.

 

We are currently playing around with a Virtual SAN at Centerpoint Headquarters. Performance looks great so far. If you are interested, come in and take our Virtual SAN for a test drive. We’ll do a Virtual SAN lunch within the next month or so, but we would definitely advise anyone who is considering a large IT purchase to check this out first.

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