Small business network storage has progressed from simple peer to peer filesharing with all of its drawbacks through the phase of expensive Intel hardware and complicated Microsoft licensing back to the more realistic SMB NAS device.
The simple truth is, why should you buy more than you need or settle for less than what works?
If you have a complicated Microsoft server in place now and need to keep it, that does not mean you need to spend many thousands of dollars for another expensive box with expensive licenses just because you need more storage or an iSCSI target.
Or, if you are in the situation that my of my clients are in and have an aging Microsoft Small Business server that needs replacing does not mean you need to spend all that money on something similar when there are now other alternatives available.
SMB NAS devices are so flexible that they can either completely replace many Microsoft systems or work in tandem with them.
In the past, many businesses wanted Small Business Server just so they could have Microsoft Exchange with calendar sharing and email. But now, so many are instead opting for a web based or “cloud” solution that they no longer require or want to maintain such a complicated and costly system.
Buy only what you need. Keep the extra money to add to your profits instead of Microsoft’s.
Most SMB NAS devices require very little maintenance or updating, unlike the typical Microsoft Server solution requiring monthly updates at a minimum to maintain security.
So how do you buy the right SMB NAS device for your small business network storage needs?
Start by choosing a device that is designed for business usage. Often I will see a business owner try to save some money by purchasing a home unit or prosumer NAS device that is not intended for consistent high demand access by many users.
If you already have an equipment rack, or have a jumbled mess of network electronics and should perhaps consider an equipment rack, then it makes perfect sense to be looking into rackmount NAS devices. Rackmount NAS units will certainly be built for business usage.
Desktop NAS units will come with either 4 or 6 drive bays, which certainly should be hot swapable. If you think you will need more drive bays than that, then look toward rackmount NAS which usually offer up to 12 drive bays.
If server virtualization is currently being used or you feel it is in your future, then make sure that the NAS device supports the virtualization platform you either use or expect to use. Not all SMB NAS devices fully support iSCSI targets or do so without monopolizing the data volume.
Certainly choose a model that offers gigabit networking, settle for nothing less. Often you will find dual gigabit ports on good small business network storage servers. It does not require that you buy high end products just to get the feature of NIC teaming and failover which can be nice additions.
When you plan for data volume sizing to determine quantity and size of NAS hard drives, determine first which NAS RAID level protection you will be choosing.
In fact, if you want to take advantage of the highly desirable RAID6 with dual redundancy, that decision could push you from a 4 drive unit into a 6 drive unit in the case of Netgear ReadyNAS devices which only offer that feature on 6 drive units and above.
For a full explanation of how these factors affect the SMB NAS buying decision process further, come to the small business network storage section of our website and blog where we explain these topics if further detail.
Find SMB NAS device reviews, comparisons and tips at http://NetworkStorageTips.com.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Roger_DeReu
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