Almost every company I deal with has some form of file server whether it be a full Windows Server on a domain, a Linux server or even a Windows 7 box just sharing files across a workgroup. There is one device though that I keep seeing and installing more and more and that is the little NAS box.
These little devices are fantastic at sharing files or being used to backup all the systems on the network. They can also be administered from a web page and are usually much cheaper than implementing a server. The cost of ownership is usually less too with lower energy consumption (lower spec CPU with less heat generated).
Now the question is are they better than a full server? This depends on what you mean by better. For instance if you are just looking at the cost of maintenance and implementation then yes they probably are.
But if you are looking to add roles to your server at a later date ( eg maybe running a file serving, DNS server and DHCP server on the same box) then a file server is a much better proposition whether it be Linux or Windows based. Chances are you are also more familiar using a Windows or Linux based file server so training costs would also be less. There is also one major thing going for file servers that NAS boxes in general (but not all) don’t have and that is backing up to the cloud. You can install Dropbox, Box, Google Drive or whatever you fancy on your file server that can automatically backup your files to the cloud. If cloud backups are required then you seriously need to look at implementing a file server (again whether this is Linux or Windows based depends on your network and expertise).
In my experience small businesses are trying to squeeze more value from their IT so in this scenario the little NAS box becomes an attractive proposition.
It was only last week I had a meeting with a company ( 8 employees) who are interested in implementing a file server on their network which would also backup their files on a nightly basis. I quoted them for a SBS 2011 system, a Linux one and also a NAS box. It was no surprise that the NAS box was the cheapest and in this case it does everything that the client wants (they don’t require cloud backups) so they are going with it.
So what do you think are NAS devices becoming the new standard for file servers in small businesses?
About the Author
Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.
For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!