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File Servers Are Painful – What Are File Server Alternatives?

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Nobody likes file servers. They are often in a state of chaos and accessing them from a mobile device is nearly impossible. Virtual private networks (VPNs) only work well on PCs and even then, we find users crossing their fingers every time they go to connect. Thankfully there are new options for sharing and collaborating on files. 

Here is a quick primer on some of the best new file server alternatives:

OneDrive for Business/Groups

  • Personal file storage – Up to 25TB or more per user, starts at 1TB and can be increased to 25TB if there are a minimum of 5 licensed users in the tenant
  • Replacement for My Documents or home directories
  • Operates within the Cloud – Offers security including with multiple layers of security including data encryption, access security rights, and data loss protection
  • Advanced Features – Built-in Web Office applications, full integration with Azure Active Directory, and other add-ons
  • Groups of people can also share a OneDrive as part of a Microsoft Group which allows for file storage to be dedicated to a department, initiative, or project
    • Utilizes the space available on the 365 tenant
    • Ability to have multiple owners and pass ownership between people
  • Cost – depends on which plan your company selects, but frequently part of an Office 365 package that you probably already own

If this option sounds the best to you, Interlink can help get you started. The first step is simple; schedule a free consultation with us today for a file storage assessment and we will see how OneDrive can fit into your current environment. Our consultants have performed these file migrations many times before so we have experience making sure the migration goes smoothly. We can also provide a Customer Immersion Experience session to ensure that your employees know how to correctly use the technology, which decreases any confusion and ensures the company is getting the most out of the investment.

Microsoft Teams

  • 1TB available per tenant + 10GB/licensed E plan user
  • Replacement for department shares or project-based collaboration
  • One central hub for all collaboration – Calls, meetings, chats, tools
  • To use Teams you must have an Office365 account with the appropriate Office365 license plan
  • Large files may not be a good fit – Must sync or have fast internet
  • Lacks some traditional organization functionality of file servers/OneDrive

If migrating to Microsoft Teams is the best option for your business, Interlink is here to help with the process. Still unsure? We have a ton of resources for Teams for you to learn more before making a decision. Interlink has stayed up to date with Teams since it was released, so our consultants have the expertise to answer any questions or concerns. We have guided numerous migrations and implementations for Teams and we also have a Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) available for your employees, so they can self-discover ways to utilize the Microsoft technologies in your own environment. 

Azure File Sync

Use Azure File Sync to expand storage capacity. Use this technology to centralize your organization’s file shares in Azure – while keeping the flexibility, performance, and compatibility of an on-premises file server.

  • Requires Windows 2012 R2 or later
  • Dynamically archive content to Azure from file servers (will keep a constant amount of free space)
  • Doesn’t affect user experience – You can use any standard protocol on Windows Server to access your data locally
  • Cost is $0.06/GB + $5/server
  • Can also be backed up using Azure Backup

Don’t have Azure but interested in this way to expand your storage? Interlink can help with any of your Azure questions or concerns. We have extensive experience with Azure migrations and building an environment that is tailored to your needs. If you already have Azure but have questions about making the most out of your Azure environment, we can help with that too.

Nasuni

Nasuni offers a unique solution which combines a master “gold copy” record of files stored in Azure in combination with both physical and virtual filers which live at the customer’s remote sites. This together allows for cloud protection and unlimited storage to be combined with the LAN speed type access of a traditional file server. The best of both worlds. 

  • Targeted at organizations with large amounts of data (more than 20TB) that must be accessed from multiple (5 or more) locations
  • Large files are another key use case – CAD, large videos, etc.
  • Master copy of all data is kept in Azure
  • Version control, backup, and antivirus is built in
  • Data is accessed through a “filer” deployed at each site which caches data for performance
  • Virtual filer is free, the physical filer is a rebranded Dell server
  • Service pricing is by annual subscription per TB of data (~$3k/TB/year which goes down in cost per TB as total storage grows)

Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and which option or options are going to be the best fit for your particular use case.

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