Time to setup a network??

November 30, 2012 at 07:32:36
Specs: Windows 7, Core i3

I have an office with 10 computers in it. 7 Users are Windows 7 Users and 3 are XP. I have about 70 Files, Documents, that are on My computer and need to be readily accessible to all users in the office. Right now due to old wiring in the building and cost savings, the network is currently Wireless Only. To make these documents accessible to all, do I really need to setup a server and a whole network? Or would setting up a Central NAS accessible to all be acceptable? What are the limitations, or Pros/Cons to each for me?

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#1
November 30, 2012 at 08:08:27

Options;

Your pc can be the "server" in a peer to peer network

Use a NAS as central storage for all

either will work just fine. Question is which has better failover/backup. This means the drives should be raid1 at least not standalone drives and you should be backing the "servers" files up to either a drive or tape. Never consider usb stick. It is for transfer not long term storage.

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#2
November 30, 2012 at 08:10:11

If all you want is to share documents then a NAS solution is the answer. The main difference between that and a full-blown Windows network is cost (both hardware and software) and training needed to administer Windows Server. A NAS doesn't let you do the clever things Server does, such as single sign-on and centralized maintenance of computers but it sounds like you don't need that.

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#3
November 30, 2012 at 08:24:01

xfile102: the network is currently Wireless Only . . . would setting up a Central NAS accessible to all be acceptable?
So you're asking if it's acceptable for anyone passing by on the street with an Android phone to view / modify your shared files? I don't know, do your or your employer care about these files?

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#4
November 30, 2012 at 08:53:05

No one passing by would be able to access the wifi network as long as the wifi is encrypted using wpa2.

70 files being shared would not make a case for a MS Server. Simply overkill.

It would be expected the NAS would be hung off the wifi router for everyone to access.

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#5
November 30, 2012 at 08:53:39

I would agree with a NAS solution because it provides redundancy. I would also agree you still need a reliable backup (preferably offsite) regardless of the NAS.

I would not recommend wireless as it's inherently insecure and prone to lag and latency. However, if that's all you have, make sure you're using WPA2 encryption with a complex password to reduce the risk of being hacked and your data accessed by someone not employed by your company.

For what it's worth though, I would definitely look into having some cables pulled. If you have tile (T-Bar) ceilings, it could be done relatively inexpensively by just stringing the cables over the ceiling tiles. Not only is a wired solution a LOT more secure, it's also more reliable and offers better performance and more bandwidth than wireless can.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#6
November 30, 2012 at 11:37:29

wanderer: No one passing by would be able to access the wifi network as long as the wifi is encrypted using wpa2.
I like to assume insecurity until proven otherwise.

Curt R: I would agree with a NAS solution because it provides redundancy.
I'm confused by this statement. Are you talking about the various RAID options? It's possible to set up a RAID on a server, and it's possible (albeit silly) to run a NAS without RAID.

xfile102:
Really, it's hard to make a recommendation without actually knowing the environment. At 10 devices you can take a spare Windows machine, enable guest access, and share those files. If you know what you're doing, you can be done before your first cup of coffee. Bam, you now have a file "server." But you must trust everyone on the network.

You could take a spare box and throw FreeNAS on it, or go with a NAS box, and throw your files on it. It takes a bit longer to set up, but you won't run into active device limits like you would with that "server." But you must trust everyone on the network.

You could configure a Windows server, and get all of the advantages of having a real server, but configuration and implementation is an honest IT project and you'll have problems if you don't get it right.

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#7
November 30, 2012 at 11:52:27

I think we have settled on a Synology DS213 and a couple Seagate 1TB Drives tied straight to the router. Suits everyone's needs, provides remote access, remote admin, and scalability.

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#8
November 30, 2012 at 12:24:11

I'm confused by this statement. Are you talking about the various RAID options? It's possible to set up a RAID on a server, and it's possible (albeit silly) to run a NAS without RAID.

I'm not sure why you're confused. On the face of it, my opening statement in my response was (I thought) quite clear. "I would agree with a NAS solution because it provides redundancy"

Not using RAID on a small NAS device like we are discussing here means you would have no redundancy. Ergo if follows logically you would use the aforementioned RAID capability in order to have redundancy. Since I said "because it provides redundancy", it goes without saying (or so I though) I was talking about utilizing said RAID on the NAS device.

Just to be extra clear here, when I use the term "redundancy" I'm obviously not talking about RAID 0 either. I'm talking RAID 1, 5, or 10 depending on budget and what you really need out of your device.

While in my response I was talking only about a NAS solution it's probably worth mentioning (to avoid confusing you more) that I've setup quite a few servers over the years (more than 100 but less than 200) so I'm very well aware that you can RAID a server. In fact, I can say with complete honesty I've yet to setup a server that didn't utilize a redudant RAID (or RAIDs as the case may be).

However, like wanderer I feel in this situation an actual server is unwarranted because you can get a decent SOHO level NAS device for less than the cost of a server (including drives) so I never mentioned a server.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#9
November 30, 2012 at 12:32:52

I'd suggest a RAID 5 device to make better use of your space. RAID 1 (what that device offers) will halve the true size of your array (4 * 1TB drives = 2TB usable). A RAID 5 device will only "cost" you one drive. (4 * 1TB drives = 3TB usable). You don't have to worry about the performance penalties of RAID 5 since you're on wireless, so the only real concern is the cost of a RAID 5 device compared to a RAID 1 only device.

Curt R: Since I said "because it provides redundancy", it goes without saying (or so I though) I was talking about utilizing said RAID on the NAS device.
You seemed to miss the second half of my statement. Allow me to quote myself:
Razor2.3: It's possible to set up a RAID on a server, and it's possible (albeit silly) to run a NAS without RAID.
Perhaps my confusion is because your statement correlates two independent variables, as if you said, "Get a car, because the seats are black."

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#10
December 5, 2012 at 00:30:10

Hello,

Wonderful discussion going on. It's useful for me.

Thanks


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