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What's in Storage

Just when you were getting used to gigabytes, now there are even bigger ways to store and manage your data.

All those business bits and bytes add up, and finding ways to store them can be a constant challenge. Most entrepreneurs will turn to a combination of storage technologies ranging from USB flash drives to full-on network storage systems. We used to talk about storage mainly in gigabytes (GB), but we've now magnified that into terabytes (TB). The onward march of storage technology is turning in bigger storage, more advanced features and lower prices for growing businesses.

The Dell PowerVault MD3000i iSCSI SAN is a Storage Area Network (SAN) system with some muscle to handle more sophisticated storage needs while still working with your existing Ethernet network. Dell's iSCSI solution is a more affordable option than the Fibre Channel systems that have dominated the SAN market. With expandability up to 45TB, it gives a business plenty of room to grow. The $1,400 Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ RND4210 is a 2TB Network-Attached Storage (NAS) solution tucked into a compact appliance. It's stuffed with user-friendly features like printer sharing, built-in backup, system monitoring and automatic alerts.

For a single computer or a very small workgroup backup, the $550 2TB Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition is ready to keep two copies of all your data. The two hard drives can be set to mirror the data using RAID 1 technology to protect your information should one hard drive fail. In a similar vein, the $300 Newer-Tech Guardian MAXimus 500GB has both Firewire and USB connections and two 500GB drives that mirror each other. It's available in sizes up to 1TB (with two 1TB drives).

Portable storage can be just as important as storage at the office. If you take your laptop home to work or for travel, you still need to back up and store the data. The Buffalo Technology MiniStation DataVault features a 320GB hard drive mounted in shock absorbers. It includes automatic backup software and encryption to help safeguard your data on the road. For a huge amount of storage, the Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive USB 2.0 is a 1TB external drive that weighs 2.4 pounds. You might not want to carry it around with your laptop, but it can be easily moved between computers. Other hardware storage solution providers to check into include Advanced Vault, Kingston Technology, SanDisk, Other World Computing and To-shiba.

Not all storage options hang out in your office. HP Upline Professional is an online storage service for businesses. With unlimited storage, it's a handy option for businesses with remote and mobile employees. Data can be backed up, managed and shared online. Symantec Online Backup is another option, and it starts at $9.99 per month for 10GB of backup space. The price goes up for the amount of storage and the length of historical data retained. Online services can also act as an extra layer of protection along with an on-site storage solution. Some other online storage options with business-level capabilities include Box.net and Nirvanix.

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This article was originally published in the November 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: What's in Storage.

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