Solid-state drives (SSDs) are an increasingly popular choice for businesses looking for faster performance and lower power consumption than magnetic hard-disk drives can provide. As SSDs continue to slowly fall in price and improve in performance, businesses are implementing SSDs across server farms, laptops, and desktops.
Data center have a number of ways to use SSDs: in conjunction with other storage, as cache, or as a tier zero--the best and fastest level of storage you have available. That way, the most-used files can be stored on SSDs, relegating less-accessed files to slower media. In enterprise storage, you can find all-SSD systems as well as those with SSDs used alongside older, rotating media.
There are a variety of new technologies advancing in 2012 that you should investigate, if you aren’t already doing so, to give your small business a leg up on the competition. These recent technologies are beginning to be widely adopted and will continue to drive business forward.
Tablets are highly visible, and many users want them, if only to read books and consume media. However, from a business perspective, replacing notebook computers with much lower-cost tablets may have a double benefit of reducing capital expenditures as well as increasing user satisfaction. Security can be an issue, both protecting company data and keeping malware and other threats out. Fortunately, both encryption providers and antivirus vendors are busily creating business-focused products that can help ensure security.
When it comes to ethernet switches, what do you get for the extra money, besides more ports? You can buy a basic eight-port ethernet switch for connecting PCs together for well under $100, but data center versions with 24 ports or more can often cost well over $1000. Speed, network segmentation, power over Ethernet (PoE), quality of service (QoS) and management features are some of the more common extras. Here's what each of those features can do--and why you should spend extra for them.
1. More Speed
The original ethernet specification provided 10Mbps. Speeds have increased through the years, from 100Mbps to 1000Mbps or 1Gbps, and then all the way up to 100Gbps. It’s ideal to have the faster speeds for connecting servers and storage, or as a backbone to connect multiple switches to each other. For instance, if your PCs are connected at 1Gbps, then 10Gbps or 40Gpbs will be better for connecting multiple switches, or for connecting servers or storage that must support multiple client PCs at the same time.
Recent flooding in Thailand has affected many hard drive manufacturers, resulting in price hikes for hard drives of as much as 50 to 100 percent. How long this will last is unclear, but in the meantime, you can postpone new purchases of storage gear by implementing these methods to help reduce unnecessary files, reduce the space used on the system, and allow for expansion with existing systems.
1. Use Storage Management
Storage Management software is available in a wide variety of price ranges, from free open source packages, to expensive enterprise-class systems that continuously monitor storage and optimize usage. Of course, you can also simply search your drives manually for large files, MP3s, JPEGs, or PST files. The general idea is to identify possible files that aren’t needed or could be stored on other storage, like local PC hard disks, which often have lots of unused space.
A majority of respondents report at least some progress towards controlling the proliferation of mobile devices, or at least ensuring some security on devices allowed to connect to company networks. Yet, a large minority--33 percent--either have no policies yet or don’t control which devices are allowed on their networks.
Sixty percent of IT managers say they use wireless access points or network access control (NAC), or only allow mobile devices that they issue with pre-installed security and management tools. However, 26 percent haven’t developed policies for mobile devices yet, and 7 percent have policies but don’t actively enforce them.
First there were sewing-machine sized portable PCs, then laptops, the Newton, the Palm Pilot, and phones with built-in PDA functions. The iPhone led the way to the ubiquitous smartphone, and the iPad ushered in an era of tablets. Now wireless hotspots, printers, storage, and a variety of other devices are making their way onto your office network, possibly without the knowledge of managers.
These devices have the potential to compromise security, whether by introducing malware onto other devices on your network, or transporting company data outside the network. Fortunately, antivirus and encryption apps are available for all the major smartphone and tablet platforms, and most allow remote management.
First there were laptops, and then came PDAs, smartphones, tablets, netbooks, e-readers, and a host of other portable devices. Many gadgets first used in the home migrate to work, where users expect to connect them to the company network.
Unfortunately, while PCs or Macs are relatively simple to manage and secure, mobile devices can create a nightmare for the IT administrator. Each type of device requires a different antivirus client, and management options vary from one operating system to another, as well as from carrier to carrier.
You can include network access control systems to ensure that devices have minimum security software and settings before they can connect to your network; wireless access points to keep insecure devices on a separate network; and management systems that remotely wipe lost devices or enforce encryption standards.