Some of you who run small businesses may be trying to get that last bit of mileage out of that beige-coloured “white-box” computer that is running as a file server. Typically the old computer may be running Windows XP Professional as its operating system which is approaching end-of-life and you may find that many components, especially the mechanical ones, are starting to wear down.
Today’s small-business desktop NAS units are about the size of half a loaf of bread for small units or the size of a large toaster or a toaster-oven for the larger units, and are built from the ground up to work as data servers for a small workload. They are even engineered to be able to run reliably for a long time without issues concerning overheating or vibration. As well, most of today’s small-business NAS units are even optimised to run the fans and hard disks on an as-needed basis to allow for quiet operation and reduced energy needs.
Although the news article focuses on Synology equipment, it can hold true of similar devices offered by QNAP, WD, Seagate, NETGEAR ReadyNAS, ASUSTor and the like. Most of these are increasingly running multipurpose operating environments that the manufacturers build on Linux or, in some cases, licensing Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition from Microsoft. As well, they have a lot of the essential server applications like database servers, Web servers and the like that you can install from the vendor along with the essential file servers and can even work with Microsoft ActiveDirectory setups. This can make for some small-business NAS systems that can be truly multifunctional like some properly set-up file servers.
The advice about considering a NAS as an upgrade path for your small-business’s old “white-box” file-server computer may not apply to those of you who have a lot invested in this style of “regular-computer-based” server system, especially where an application server is concerned, and have kept it up to date with new hardware and software. But it can be of use for those of us who are heading towards a more efficient computer setup for the small office..