Windows server alternative

Upgrading from Windows Server 2008

A company that has a Windows 2008 server that was setup when the company started. It was originally used as a file server, print server, exchange server, and for domain management. It also has Sage 50 running on it for multiuser support. And it is setup up with Fortinet for VPN access to files and for sage 50 for users working from home. This was for 4-6 active users, and was overkill for what was required, and required very expensive ongoing support.

Since then, domain management hasn’t been actively used, as everyone has switched to office 365 and now the computers are logged in using the azure ad accounts. The exchange server is also no longer in use, printers are directly connected to. The sever primarily is used for file storage only now and we just map the drives using the original credentials that are setup.

We have received quotes from a number of local companies to setup a new server with upgraded hardware. This quotes range anywhere from 5-10k. Again this seems very overkill considering what is actually needed, and it will require expensive on going support. I have a basic understanding of setting things up, but am not an expert. I think I can handle most tasks and setup on a NAS.

I apologize for the long preamble. My thought it to setup a NAS, either Synology or qnap to handle the file storage side and remote access. For sage 50 my thought it to either create a VM on the NAS, switch to sage cloud, or setup a small desktop on the network. 10K worth of server equipment that requires remote management seems expensive compared to this.

The other option I have been looking at is a WSS2016 NAS, This should be the best of both worlds, in terms of staying in the windows eco system, installing sage for multi user, and setting up domain management. It is also considerably more cost effective than the licensing require for a full windows server.

The Qnap x82 series NAS can replace all these functions and more. There are 4bay pentium based and 6-bay core i5 and 8-bay core i7 models. These are perfect options for creating several virtual machines. You can start with only three drives enabling you one drive redundancy protection (RAID5). It is also expandable like regular windows server- using PCIe slots on the board. This will cost you less than 5000 and will require no maintenance costs.

You can still run active directory and domain controller. You can even enable print server, virtual switch and VPN service. The most popular function is the tiered storage option. This means that data can be automatically moved from HDD to SSD based on access frequency.

People choose x82 series mainly for video editing and virtualization. But it also serves very well as long-term investment.

 


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