About

SMB IT Journal is an online publication dedicated to providing small and medium businesses with the resources that they need to manage their Information Technology: Small and Medium Business Information Technology Journal.

In many ways, the SMB market has the same needs as large enterprises, but they often lack the experience in managing technology and they obviously lack the advantage of scale that larger corporations are able to leverage.  What an SMB may lack in scale is often made up in agility and nimbleness.

Given the right tools and support, small businesses can compete with large businesses by taking advantage of their relative size to move more quickly, adapt more rapidly and to take risks that big companies are afraid to take.  Information Technology is an important enabler of this behaviour and, if managed correctly, can bring many of the same benefits to smaller enterprises as it does to the Fortune 500.

SMB IT Journal’s mission is to educate small businesses in how they can utilize Information Technology in the same ways that large businesses leverage it.  Small businesses often fail to compete adequately with their larger counterparts because they neglect to treat IT as a strategic, competitive advantage, but this is not the way that it has to be.  IT can be a strategic advantage to the SMB market in exactly the same way.

21 thoughts on “About”

  1. I read your article ” Why IT Pro’s Home Computers are Different”

    One question: I have always had a fear down loading anything off line. How do I know that it is who they say they are. For example Microsoft how do I know it is Microsoft and not someone else trying to get me to down load something I do not want.

    It is a very interesting information you have presented.

    Dave

  2. The best was to tell that is to look at the address bar in your browser. Are you on Microsoft’s website? If not, then don’t download Microsoft software. Microsoft makes sure that their sites are very easy to identify as being their own.

    You can further protect yourself from bad downloads by using a service like OpenDNS which can be configured to block malware websites. This can act as a second layer of protection (after you yourself being the first layer by only downloading directly from the websites of companies that you trust.)

  3. Hello Scott,

    Very interesting articles for sure. I just found the site so I have not went through them all but I will be reading a lot more I am sure.

    I recently moved into a new job where we have 6 physical servers, one of which is used for virtualization, a large NAS and tape backup system. These servers are old (3 to 4 years) and in the new year I will be putting together a proposal to have them replaced. I was originally thinking to replace them with 2 much more powerful physical servers, and virtualize everything using Hyper-V or VMWare.

    I have also been on SpiceWorks and read about the SAM-SD it sounds like a far better option than the old NAS that we currently have. Creating the SAM-SD would give better performance and be cheaper than buying a new NAS from what I have read. My problem is that I am very familiar with Windows, but no so familiar with Linux. I have not seen how it is possible to create a SAM-SD with only Windows, although I have read that it may be possible. Perhaps I should just take the plunge and learn about FreeNAS.

    I noticed that the previous IT person used the NAS for ALL application installs and data. Is that a typical way or doing things or would it be better to just install apps on local storage and use the SAM-SD/NAS for data?

    All that being said in your “Choosing a Storage Type” you recommend Local storage over NAS, so perhaps it would be better to just set up Local storage in a OBR10 configuration and use the SAM-SD/NAS just for backup?

    Any advice or comments you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Happy Holidays!

    Tim

  4. Hi! I just stumbled on your site after following a link on Spiceworks for The Smallest IT Department. I loved the article as it really nails the challenges we face with my 3 person IT team.
    I have also read several other articles on the site and I just wanted to say how impressed I am with your insight and to encourage you keep up the great work. I plan on coming back to your site often to read your articles.

    Thanks!

    Doug

  5. I see the article “Why IT Pro??s Home Computers are Different” mentioned above but can’t find it on the site. Can you send me a link to that? Sounds interesting.

    Thanks!

    Doug

  6. Is this a peer reviewed journal process prior to articles being posted for others to view? Who is behind this effort? Is it academic, corporate, or otherwise? A little more background and general information about the process would be helpful.

    Thank you.

  7. Jason, most of the topics are distilled from heavy vetting in professional discussions groups like SpiceWorks.com and MangoLassi.it. So the material (but not the editing) is peer reviewed rather heavily, far more than normal academic material because it is publicly vetted by very large professional pools.

    After publication those same communities have a chance to review again so the “distillation process” is also vetted. These communities have heavy representation of traditional IT professionals, IT consultants and vendor technical representatives so the mix of peer review is quite good.

    Most, but not all, articles are published first in another industry publication with SMBITJ retaining republication rights so most articles pass through a dual editor process as well.

  8. I think that in your article “Understanding the Western Digital Sata Drive Lineup”, you were slightly fooled by some trickery in the WD datasheets.

    Note that for the Red drives, the URE rate is specified as 1 in 10^14, and for the SE drive it is specified as 10 (ten!) in 10^15 —- which is 1 in 10^14.

    Similarly, the RE drive URE rate is specified as 10 in 10^16 — which would be 1 in 10^15.

    None of the WDC drives have URE lates as low as 1 in 10^16. Some of the WDC datasheets are misleading in that they do not specify the URE rate the same from drive to drive.

    I’ve been looking at this stuff recently because I am newly in the market for NAS drives, and the WD Red Pro is looking very much like the RE at 10^15. The standard Red looks a lot like the SE at 10^14.

    Don

  9. Finding your site incredibly informative. Do you have any articles or plans for articles on how to strategize over provisioning levels for SSDs in Raid and standalone deployments? I’m getting ready to deploy 6x1TB Samsung 850 Pros in a Raid 10 and am struggling to find many resources on how to best approach this. Capacity isn’t a huge concern, so I could get pretty aggressive with it. From Samsung’s white paper it sounds like the more you throw at it the better the performance under load as well as the longer the drive will last period. I’d love to get your thoughts. Thanks for the amazing resource.

  10. @David that’s something worth looking into. Samsung is basically correct, the more SSDs in your array the faster it will be and the lower the load on each device. So outside of completely device failure, you get safer and safer as you get bigger at a very different rate than with traditional spindles.

    If you want to discuss your specific needs, I am very active on the MangoLassi community. Feel free to make an account there and post your question and I will be sure to jump in (along with others) to discuss. http://mangolassi.it/

    Sorry for the delayed response, I was relocating to Spain this past two weeks.

  11. I doubt you’ll post this, but I am very dubious about your claims to Doug above that your articles are peer reviewed or vetted by a pool of IT professionals. I say this because as a career IT professional and I published IT author, I feel there is a high level of fear-mongering and use of FUD to drive discussion board traffic to this site. Specifically, the articles and board advice seem to be very anti-SAN, because clearly YOU and you alone seem to think they’re scary and too complex. SMB is a very nebulous term, but your advice seems much more geared toward SOHO and extremely small or micro business, with an IT “staff” of one or less, and no more than a few servers. Definitely not the SMB that the industry seems to use, with ranges from small to medium-sized business from dozens to hundreds (or even thousands) of directly supported customers, with dedicated staff ranging from a few to a dozen or more. I have serious doubt whether your advice is accurate for the small to mid-sized market, although it may be spot on for small offices, insurance companies, etc. with limited IT needs, mostly desktop support and file-print sharing. It would help lend some authority to this site (which is FAR from an IT industry “journal” in the true sense of the word–blog isn’t a journal) IF you were to provide a little information about you on the site. Certifications held, colleges attended, degrees conferred, industry publications who have used your work, positions held, size of organizations, etc). Lacking that, this site represents a diary and personal experience via a “blog/journal” of a l knowledgeable and somewhat experienced IT worker. Then again, I’m pretty sure you won’t publish this…

  12. Sandra,

    Thanks for taking an interest. If you are interested in learning more about the extensive review and vetting process I do all of this completely out in the open to make sure that there can be no questions like this about this process. I value openness and transparency heavily in the industry. And I certainly am not anti-SAN. I simply feel that IT professionals need to be doing their due diligence and using products and techniques where they make sense rather than simply trying to skip their own jobs and buy whatever a salesman tells them to do. I use SAN heavily and if you read my articles that talk about when to use a SAN, they outline the use cases where SAN makes sense which is most cases in large business and very, very few in small ones. All of the logic and reasoning is included in the article so I’m surprised that you feel that I am anti-SAN. If the information is incorrect, then there is a place to discuss that.

    As far as review and vetting, this is done openly in forums such as SpiceWorks and MangoLassi which are open so that if you feel there is valuable discussion to have around why you feel these practices are not good you can participate along with the thousands of others that vet these concepts daily.

    Thanks!

  13. Much of what is written here is nothing more than a distillation of years of community posting. A lot of the goal of this journal was to take years of discussions of best practices, review, vetting, argument, etc. and collect that into a single place for several reasons. One is to allow posting a link rather than repeating points over and over again as the reasons why people feel that everyone should have a SAN without doing due diligence, for example, are generally repeated and it is only be avoiding existing discussions that such a repetition can exist. So having the ability to link to the existing information in a concise format is important.

    The second reason is because people have asked for a collection of best practices. It’s been said that it is impractical for people to read community professional peer review sessions over and over again trying to determine what is current, relevant and to distill that into a meaningfully useful set of guidance that would allow someone to actually use that information. So this journal is here for that purpose as well.

  14. SMB is a bit of a nebulous term, no doubt. But the general rule is 10 – 500 or 1,000 users. SOHO is under 10. But even thought there is a range, the average SMB is on the small side simply by the nature of businesses that there are many small ones for every larger one in any particular range. Most SMBs, even getting into the 100+ user range, have only one to two IT staff. It is rather rare, even into the few hundred range, to have a staff large enough to be capable of mentoring, around the clock support, a promotion and growth chain and heavy specialization.

  15. I should also point out that SMBITJournal is not the original home to nearly any of these articles. Most are published by other industry trades and only collected here. So in addition to the peer review of the open commons, they are also then subjected to editorial review by the publishers. Then they are subjected to vetting again after than publication and then eventually collected here. So they have the benefits of open peer review, editorial review, re-review and republishing.

    As an example, the SAN article to which I believe you are referring here was originally published by Datamation: http://www.datamation.com/storage/do-you-really-need-a-san-1.html

  16. Hello, I just found your interesting website. I am looking for a page on your website that lists all the article titles so I can scan them to select those of interest. However, I can’t find any list of titles, everything appears to be the articles themselves … lots of text content.

    Will you please let me know if a page of titles is available? Something that I can efficiently browse and drill into.

    Thanks in advance, Phil

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