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Advice on local / cloud file server?

morkus64

Diamond Member
Nov 7, 2004
3,302
1
81
So at the small office I work at we've got a couple of Macs and a Windows 8.1 desktop that nobody really uses. So (of course) I decided to turn that into a central file server!

Problem is that Windows seems to play nicely with the Macs most of the time (so far), but it requires that the PC not be allowed to sleep when anyone wants to access the files, which both sucks energy and is loud (and right next to my desk). It's also a bit limited.

So I'm wondering what would be a fairly good, off the shelf, not too expensive solution? It's been a while since I did any real research into NAS.

Here's the basic requirements:

- Play nice with Windows and Mac OS
- Don't give me crap when four people are trying to work on files remotely instead of copying them locally.
- Don't die all the damn time like my old PogoPlug.

And the would be nice to haves:

- RAID redundancy
- Remote (web-based?) file access
- Cloud backup

TIA!
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,546
1,315
126
So at the small office I work at we've got a couple of Macs and a Windows 8.1 desktop that nobody really uses. So (of course) I decided to turn that into a central file server!

Problem is that Windows seems to play nicely with the Macs most of the time (so far), but it requires that the PC not be allowed to sleep when anyone wants to access the files, which both sucks energy and is loud (and right next to my desk). It's also a bit limited.

So I'm wondering what would be a fairly good, off the shelf, not too expensive solution? It's been a while since I did any real research into NAS.
If you like working with Windows, and it plays nice, use an HP Microserver. (They're smaller/quieter than a full blown desktop.)

NAS appliances usually use a linux-based OS, which can be a little bit more of a hassle from a management perspective, in a multi-user environment. (It creates some issues with file permission mapping, etc.)

Here's the basic requirements:

- Play nice with Windows and Mac OS
- Don't give me crap when four people are trying to work on files remotely instead of copying them locally.
No. You'd need some kind of file locking/checkout backend for that. No NAS includes that; you're talking Sharepoint now. Or something similar.

- Don't die all the damn time like my old PogoPlug.
Everything must die. All glory is fleeting. A good NAS with nothing wrong with it will measure uptime in years, though.

And the would be nice to haves:

- RAID redundancy
RAID support is a given with any OS these days.

- Remote (web-based?) file access
You don't want this. Set up a VPN server instead so people can dial into the office and access the files "locally" over the VPN.

- Cloud backup
If you use a Windows server, any cloud backup program (Crashplan, Backblaze, etc.) that runs on a desktop PC will run on your server. $60/year for cloud backup is a pretty good deal, IMO.
 

morkus64

Diamond Member
Nov 7, 2004
3,302
1
81
If you like working with Windows
I don't.

NAS appliances usually use a linux-based OS, which can be a little bit more of a hassle from a management perspective, in a multi-user environment. (It creates some issues with file permission mapping, etc.)
Ah, good to know. One important thing is that it be easy for my boss to manage - I won't be around forever after all. He's no the most tech-savvy person.

No. You'd need some kind of file locking/checkout backend for that. No NAS includes that; you're talking Sharepoint now. Or something similar.
Not necessarily looking for two people to be able to work on the same file at once - rather different files on the same server. I might have said this confusingly. Basically, I don't want to have to make a local copy of the file, work on that, then put it back and overwrite.

Everything must die. All glory is fleeting. A good NAS with nothing wrong with it will measure uptime in years, though.
To be or not to be...
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,546
1,315
126
Well, there's always Mac OS X Server. A mini with a thunderbolt drive enclosure would work alright. (Software RAID, then, just like any other affordable-level solution.)

But if you intend to ditch and hand this off to your boss, then it's probably his OS preference that matters most. :(

Not necessarily looking for two people to be able to work on the same file at once - rather different files on the same server. I might have said this confusingly. Basically, I don't want to have to make a local copy of the file, work on that, then put it back and overwrite.
I've never used a file server or NAS that didn't allow you to work with files directly on the NAS. BIG files can be a problem when working over a network, but that's a speed problem, not an inability.

If your office is small enough that you can shout "hey, does anybody have _____ open?" then you're probably good without a file locking/checkout system. Although I'd suggest you use Shadow Copy or something to keep a working history of your documents just in case.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
(1) Windows and Mac OS
(2) four people work on files remotely.
(3) Don't die all the damn time
(4) RAID redundancy
(5) Remote (web-based?) file access
(6) Cloud backup

1, 3, 4= Synology 4-bay NAS
2, 5= WebDAV functionality is one possible way to do this... (Written before I saw your amplifying comment; what you actually want is easier than doing WebDAV. Free Synology apps do what you are asking for...)
https://www.synology.com/en-us/knowledgebase/DSM/tutorial/File_Sharing/How_to_access_files_on_Synology_NAS_with_WebDAV

6= https://www.synology.com/en-us/knowledgebase/DSM/tutorial/Backup_Restore/How_to_back_up_the_data_on_your_Synology_NAS_with_public_cloud

Note that there is new Active Directory Server functionality in BETA... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQoXTlqzzDw&t=2s
 

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