Centralized Storage

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Ever try to pull up a file and then you find out it’s on your other computer? It is very frustrating when you have multiple computers and files spread over many of your computers. This too is often the case with many small businesses with 3-5 machines onsite. Many times to simplify the operation, one machine will be used to hold all the information and the other computers will map a network drive to the machine in order to share the files. This machine is really acting as a makeshift server and is really the only option for a small business who is not ready to migrate to a server.

With all the pressure on IT solution providers to provide solutions for homes and small businesses who are locked in this model, many IT companies are jumping into action to provide a solution. The solution its self is a very simple one, centralized storage. Many OEM’s are coming out with storage solutions that will be able to be accessed via the Internet or through a local network. Even Microsoft is jumping on board with it’s upcoming release of Microsoft Home Server. A platform that will manage this exact situation, allowing users to securely access their data centrally from an attached data storage medium through their local network or the Internet.

Recently, Dell has just purchased EqualLogic for $1.4 billion, showing exactly how important this game is becoming. With such a large investment in a successful storage company by the big guy in home computer sales, we will begin to see Dell offering solutions to solve the problem. One such solution already in the works is desktops without hard drives who access a central data storage device which will act as a server managing all the data centrally.

Of course the story can’t be all green pastures… There is always the issue of security. In an ever growing day and age that security is a growing concern in IT and personal data is at a prime, many are scarred to implement such a solution. Many people are afraid to place all of their data in a box that will be accessed by a separate devices or even the infamous cloud (Internet). I do agree that many people should be concerned, but it is no different than securing your computer. Although there is added risk since the data will always be accessed remotely, it will be ever critical to make sure the data is encrypted and protected by multiple levels of protection.

I know we are really just talking about NAS (Network Attached Storage) here, but the importance is that it is starting to become mainstream even for the home user. I personally favor the centralized data model and I am happy to see OEMs and operating systems going towards the same model. It will be great in the next few years to migrate from having data spread all over to devices accessing centralized data devices. I am ready, are you?

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