Home > NAS, New Computer, server, Small Business IT > Nas vs Server – Part 2: The Server

Nas vs Server – Part 2: The Server

Last month, I posted an article about how some small businesses I work with are opting not to replace their aging servers with a current piece of equipment. For details, read “Nas vs Server – Part 1”. As I sat and watched a Windows Server 2012 Essentials be installed, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand on the server side of “Nas vs Server”.

SBS Install

This post outlines some of the benefits of replacing an older server with a new one, or adding a server to your small business environment.

If your company uses Line of Business applications, or requires specific shares or configurations for your applications, a server may be the only option. However, if most of your workflow is cloud-based and minimal in-house file storage is required, a NAS may be the better solution. When I refer to a server, I am referring to a computer with server-rated hardware and a proper server operating system, such as Small Business Server, Server 2008, etc. I am not referring to a Windows XP/7 computer, that is being used to share files to other users.

Today’s small businesses servers are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and provide many benefits to the small business. Here’s a list of just a few advantages of adding a server to your environment: (For a full list, please see the Microsoft Server 2012 Essentials website.)

  1. Security – Allows you to control who has access to what data, and how they access it from both outside and inside the organization.
  2. Line of Business Applications – Store shared application data in one central location, such as Sage, PC Law, or other 3rd party
    applications.
  3. Remote Web Access – Users can securely access their data and desktops from outside the office (there goes snow days).
  4. Automatic Desktop Backups – Users no longer have to think about backing up their desktops. The server takes care of this for them, ensuring that their data is always backed up.
  5. Patches and Other Security Actions – The server will push updates to the users, and from an easy to read Dashboard you can see what systems are lacking current security measures.

There are many options for small businesses. If your workflow is mostly cloud-based, a server may not be necessary, and your resources could be better utilized in other aspects of your business. But if you need more control, flexibility, and growth a server may be your best solution. Talk to your qualified IT professional to see if a small business server would be a good and necessary addition to your IT environment.

  1. Daniel Mattsson-Boze
    05/21/2013 at 8:53 pm

    Sharon,

    What about the speed difference between a server with dedicated drives and NAS? I have seen NAS used for backup while a server is used for file sharing. We use NAS for our SolidWorks files (very intensive file interaction) and it seems very slow to me. What are your thoughts on that.

    Dan

    • 05/22/2013 at 1:29 pm

      Hi,

      I like using the NAS for backups and small media files such as music, movies etc. I would recommend a proper server for the Solidworks files.

  2. Kathryn
    08/08/2013 at 2:18 pm

    Sharon,

    So would you not recommend any NAS systems for a small business with large file sizes (AutoCAD dwg’s, etc.)? We were looking into NAS instead of a server, with our main goal being the ability to access files from home. It seems speed may be an issue based on the above comments.

    • 08/12/2013 at 8:06 pm

      Hi,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I would look at some of the higher end NAS units. A company I worked for stored large diagnostic images on a high-end NAS and shared the files. You would have to look at all the different aspects, bandwidth, file size, number of users, the application etc.

  3. 01/17/2014 at 2:35 pm

    I have a NAS (Drobo 5n) acting as a file server. I am dealing with large print files (over 1GB) and SolidWorks files as well. It seems to cause a lot of problems and is is pretty slow. I am looking for an alternative now. Just a little FYI

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