Big companies aren't the only ones wrestling with big data. Work documents, images, and videos pile up at today's data-driven small businesses, faster than they can efficiently and cost-effectively manage with onboard and external storage alone.
And then there's the matter of creating a mobile, collaborative work environment based on secure, file access and sharing—something that USB thumb-drives, while handy in a pinch, don't handle well.
It's time to step up to network-attached storage (NAS).
Advanced Small Business Storage
Western Digital has launched a new line of My Cloud Business Series NAS devices that offer small businesses many of the advanced data management, protection and collaboration capabilities that larger organizations can provide their workers. Available in 2- and 4-bay versions, the hardware packs Intel processors to serve as a sharable storage foundation for multi-user environments.
Western Digital's My Cloud Business Series DL4100.
Western Digital executives were on hand to show off the company's latest storage products at a recent New York City media event. During a live presentation, Scott Vouri, vice president of consumer marketing for Western Digital, said that one of the main challenges small businesses face is "centralizing all their content, so that they can collaborate."
As the branding suggest, the new My Cloud Business Series DL2100 (2-bay) and DL4100 (4-bay) NAS systems, plus the underlying My Cloud operating system software, let small businesses enjoy cloud-like access to data, but on their own terms. Employees can fetch files and work together on documents "not just inside the company, but anywhere on the road," courtesy of the company's cloud-enabled storage ecosystem, said Vouri.
The DL2100 and DL4100 support Western Digital's My Cloud mobile app for Apple iOS and Android. The password-protected app gives employees with smartphones and tablets secure access to data stored on the systems, regardless of where they roam. No longer do they have to rush to a desktop or crack open a laptop to make edits to a proposal. Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive integration lets them move files between the public cloud and their private cloud.
The Power Inside
The DL2100 and DL4100 contain dual-core Intel Atom C2350 and C2338 processors, respectively. Paired with either 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM on the DL2100 or 2 GB of RAM on the DL4100 (expandable to 6 GB), the chips deliver plenty of processing power to juggle multiple, concurrent users and a host of capability-enhancing third-party applications.
Vouri also revealed that the My Cloud OS is installed on flash memory—not the unit's hard disk drive (HDD)—which not only improves performance but also helps buyers make the most of their precious hard drive space. There is no software to install and download. Flip the switch, and My Cloud OS is ready.
Two gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports provide network connectivity. Other business-friendly features include Microsoft Active Directory support, volume encryption and multiple RAID levels (0, 1, 5 10). Hot-swappable drives let you add capacity without having to power down the device, which would disrupt productivity.
Western Digital also built the Business Series NAS DL2100 and DL4100 to help small businesses with another critical necessity: data protection.
According to Vouri, Western Digital's small business customers seek simple, user-friendly backup solutions. In general, they look for "both onsite and offsite disaster recovery, without needing an IT degree to do it," he said.
The NAS DL2100 and DL4100 provide a wealth of backup options, including the cloud or an array of third-party solutions. The revamped My Cloud OS is an intuitive, point-and-click affair. During the demonstration, Vouri showed how the software provides at-a-glance monitoring of free capacity, connected users, network activity and shared storage resources. Most configurations for more advanced setups are just a click or two away.
Businesses can also pay as they grow. Bare, no-drive DL2100 and DL4100 start at $349.99 and $529.99. Fully stocked, the DL2100 tops out at $849.99 for 12 TB while the DL4100 offers 24 TB for $1,529.99.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE
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