Often at Resolve IT Solutions our clients ask about storage across a small business network. Two popular recommendations suiting different needs are: A File Server or a NAS (Network-Attached Storage) device.
A server is a computer which usually controls networks, ranging from giving out IP addresses to handling e-mail. Unlike your average PC, it has special features and runs a special version of Windows. The server can have multiple hard disks set into a RAID array for data security.
A Network-Attached Storage device is a storage area which is accessible through a network. It can be plugged straight into a router/switch via a cable and can be configured through a web interface, accessed by typing in its IP address.
Some NAS devices have multiple hard disks, often set in a RAID array.
To break things down, let's look at the advantages, disadvantages and approx costs of each.
- Can be upgraded easily
- Has other functions such as handling internal e-mail, users etc
- Has extra features such as deploying software over a network and managing network software
- Complex to configure
Depending on what features you want, the average server would cost around £2000.
- Fairly cheap
- Plugs straight into the network
- Easily configurable
- Some come with a RAID-1 configuration, meaning that all data is mirrored onto another disk, so if one fails the data is unharmed. (Faulty disk WILL need replacing)
- Cannot be upgraded
- Too much simultaneous access can cause bottlenecking and slow access down
- Not as suitable for large networks if user access is going to be high
For a small network needing nothing but storage, a NAS device is highly recommended due to its convenience and price, but for a larger network or a network needing additional feature such as e-mail management, a server is recommended.
If you need any more information, give Resolve IT Solutions a call on 0845 899 0099, or get in touch by using the contact us form