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LinkStation or Server?

By smallbiz-techwiz ·
Hi Guys,

Please give your opinion on the following:

I'm working for a small company (about 5 users) that are currently running peer-to-peer, file sharing with XP Home PC's, and a NetGear firewall/router that provides DHCP, no network printers - local only. Quickbooks is the primary application and they access the data files from a share on the boss's PC. When 2 or more users are in the same company files at the same time, it really starts to drag/hesitate a lot.

They are ready to pay for a server now to consolidate all of the file shares and hopefully resolve the performance issue. My question is this? Why not just use a networked storage appliance like the one mentioned in this review?

http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,119071,pg,1,00.asp

http://www.buffalotech.com/products/product-detail.php?productid=36&categoryid=16

I've been going back and forth between buying one of these for about $250, versus buying a "real" server and Windows Small Business server w/ 5 CAL's for much more $$$. I keep asking myself why? Assuming they have no need for active directory, group policies, login scripts, or print queues, and they already have a DHCP server/router/firewall appliance in place, what advantage is there?

Thank you in advance for your responses.

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Sure that can work.

by stress junkie In reply to LinkStation or Server?

The specs don't talk about protocols or file locking. I read both of the PDF files. There is just a generic statement about being compatible with Windows et. al.

There is no way to know if your file access performance will improve. The boss's computer probably has more network horsepower than this networked hard drive. The specs don't mention hardware buffers or disk access speed.

The whole thing is just a question mark. You don't know what you're getting.

Plus, if you do get a proper server it would provide the opportunity to phase file access security into the environment. If you don't do that you could be in violation of various legal requirements restricting access to personal data that is kept by the business.

Lastly, if you don't implement file access security then one day one of the employees will get upset at the business and will delete all of the files that they can access just before they quit. I've seen it happen.

A dedicated server doesn't have to cost a lot of money. There are a lot of options. Look into alternatives.

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It does have pwd protected folders...

by smallbiz-techwiz In reply to Sure that can work.

I found another review (link below) that says it's UNIX based and includes the line "Security features allow you to password-protect folders for access or writing." By this, I would assume that there is some measure of file security by password protecting certain folders. That answers my security questions, but the review goes on to say that performance is not so great. I'm thinking that for 2 or 3 users it might be OK, but if 5 are acessing files at the same time, would it slow down or crash?

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1641390,00.asp

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May be good for backups.

by stress junkie In reply to It does have pwd protecte ...

I think you're right. One or two users OR to use as a backup device. Now there's something to think about. If you can get backups going for a small investment you'll be doing very well for these people.

As far as file serving goes you might get a new PC for the boss, then use his/her current machine as a file and print server. You might have to put a new OS on it to make it a better server. Add a couple of hard disks to get RAID5 going. Now you've really got something and most of the money went to getting the boss a new computer for his/her desktop. This is guaranteed to be a popular approach. :-)

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