Remember Jan Brady in the 1970s sitcom The Brady Bunch? She was the awkward and often overshadowed middle child stuck between a glamorous older sister and an oh-so-cute little sister. Well, when it comes to IT infrastructure, that’s exactly how midmarket companies feel—like the overlooked middle child.
And they’re right. In fact, many IT vendors have great products for large-enterprise customers, and many others have great products for small-business customers. But few vendors focus on the midmarket. As a result, these companies often find themselves sitting at the far end of the table.
Midmarket companies typically have two options. One option is to cobble together a solution of different pieces from various vendors. But this approach often becomes a nightmare because they lack the people, resources and expertise to integrate different modules from different solutions and make them all work together seamlessly.
The second option for midmarket companies is to go beyond their depth and choose a high-end solution built for the large enterprise. The problem here is that these products are much too feature rich and expensive for their needs. Some enterprise vendors will try to “dumb down” their offerings for the midmarket, but that strategy hardly ever works. These solutions are still extremely difficult to deploy and manage, requiring the large budgets and fully resourced IT staffs that the average midmarket company simply lacks.
Between these two approaches is a gap in which the midmarket feels vulnerable—some would even say abandoned. And their abandonment issues are especially acute when it comes to business continuity.
Midmarket companies have deployed applications that are critical to the operation of their business. But what happens if those applications go down? Who is there to support them? Unlike most enterprise organizations, midmarket customers lack redundant data centers they can rely on in an emergency. According to the Aberdeen Group, the cost of downtime is now $260,000 per hour on average. That amount can cripple or even kill a midmarket business.
Here are three ways midsize companies can solve the abandonment issue.
1. Look for Converged Solutions
A converged scale-out solution with integrated data protection has been standard for some time at large enterprises but not the midmarket. Some vendors, however, are now catering specifically to the midmarket with solutions that not only offer data protection and disaster recovery but also converge primary and secondary storage. This feature is critical because integrated data protection eliminates the need for third-party backup and replication software and hardware.
Unified data management also reduces the need for extra manpower and enables midmarket organizations to manage their IT architecture easily and more cost effectively. After all, these companies want to spend less time managing their backup and storage infrastructure and more time focusing on priorities that deliver business value, such as deploying new applications.
2. Future-Proof the Data Center
Future-proofing isn’t about constantly replacing technology; it’s about making investments that allow companies to continually maximize their IT resources. Doing so is especially critical for resource-constrained midmarket companies.
A future-proof data-management infrastructure is necessary now more than ever because midsize businesses are choking on the amount of data they have to manage, and the problem is only going to worsen. As organizations grow, their storage requirements increase, so they need a solution that can infinitely expand the available storage capacity quickly and cost effectively—with zero configuration and no application downtime.
3. Put Yourself in Position to Recover Quickly and Easily
Midmarket companies must do everything in their power to minimize downtime in the event of a hardware failure or software malfunction. So, look for a data-protection system that’s simple to deploy, easy to manage and reliable even under the most demanding circumstances. A system designed for the midmarket should also deliver orchestrated recovery with a single click. In the event of system failure, you should be able to recover and restore your entire infrastructure in minutes—not hours or days.
Jan Brady didn’t like being overlooked, and like middle children everywhere, she did something about it. She dared to be different, staked her place in the world and solved her own problems. Midmarket companies are doing the same. They’re demanding respect. And vendors that can give them what they want will be justly rewarded.
About the Author
Shridar Subramanian has more than 23 years of experience in IT. He joined StorageCraft with the acquisition of Exablox in January 2017. Before StorageCraft, Shridar was the VP of Marketing at Virident Systems, a leading provider of PCI SSDs, where he was responsible for product strategy, go to market, and awareness and demand generation. In addition, he was the senior director of marketing at Monosphere, a storage-virtualization software company, where he handled market and product definition.