Remote Possibilities - Page 3

 By R. Paul Martin
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How you get the data to the SAN is another question, and is frequently a major sticking point. We all know that databases and ancillary documents can be huge these days. Obviously if you wanted to make an enterprise-wide 100 GB upload to your SAN every day you could not use your 56 Kbps modem to do it. In a case like this you'd need to make arrangements with the SAN for uploading your data to them. They're usually experienced in this issue and can help to tailor your backups to fit your bandwidth. Larger companies might just rent fiver optic cables or T3 lines, while others may need to strategize on exactly what gets sent to the SAN on what days.

Eventually, we get down to the scale of a SOHO or individual user. At this level there is unlikely to be a lot of money to throw at the problem. As a result SOHOs are probably going to be dealing with resellers of SAN services. Most resellers have a rate card displayed on the Web which lists how much you can store with them for what price, and other terms.

Whereas large companies spend millions on remote storage services the SOHO crowd can get 10 MB to 100 MB of remote storage for between $6.95 and 19.95 a month. There are quite a few variables among these smaller companies, and here is where I still have some qualms.

Whom Do You Trust?
Whom to trust with your valuable data can be a real question here. Some of the smaller stand-alone SAN companies are themselves vulnerable to economic conditions. If they go belly up one afternoon you could be left either scrambling to move your remotely stored data or out of luck entirely. The advantage is that you can probably get a hold of someone at the facility if you need to. Some of these companies claim to be protecting government secrets, one will also store your wine in their facility. It's good to remember that quirky need not mean unreliable. Some of these stand alone companies also offer additional computer related services, such as digitizing and storing your existing paper documents and the creation of disaster recovery programs.

The resellers are usually reselling a piece of the remote storage space they rent from one of the larger SANs and they're also a varied lot. Besides being resellers, some of these companies also outsource their billing, accounting, support and seemingly everything else. This particular sort of operation tends to be one guy with a Web site selling what he sees as a commodity. While this may not sound great at first blush it may be good enough for the small user. It depends on who the SAN really is.

This article was originally published on Jun 15, 2001
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