Centralised file storage and managment

Posted on 2007-07-31
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Could someone help me out by suggesting the best solution for our small office network.

We need to share alot of files and all work from home, we run pcs and macs, the office is part of a complex and has its own ip address and range of addresses to work from.

We are looking into central file storage and have been looking at a westerndigital ethernet 1TB hard disk. This boasts that it can store files centrally which you can access from anywhere.

We like the sound of this solution as we dont want to buy a server just yet. Our concerns lie in the file managment and back up, i know we can split the disk and run it as two 500GB disks (RAID). But we would want to have some system for sycronising files or file managment (if a file is open and being worked on, it cant be access by someone else.

This is a bit of a grey area for us, any advice would be much appriciated.

Many Thanks

Question by:socross
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    There's a lot to say here.  It sounds like you're taking a big step up in complexity from where you are now.  I assume you're sharing files via email?  I also take it you don't have any dedicated IT staff.  How many users would you have sharing files?  What is your budget?  How many/what size files are these?  

    RAID will automatically sync the files across the drives you have in the array, so there is no need to worry about that.  It sounds like you're using RAID 1.  The file system on the  WD hard disk should keep only 1 person using each file.  Do you have a link to this product?
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    we share files on the network, but we want to have one central location for all our work files, which we can remotely access. This will be the central location for storing all our clients workfiles, invoices, websites etc, including all our materials and media.

    Issues are
    1. having files open and working on files which at the same time
    2. backup of the disk

    This is what we were reccomended

    Any suggestions
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Small Network -> How many users? 2-3? Do you have any requirements in terms of files/folders access rights etc?

    When you say your office is part of a complex and has its own ip address is that live ip address ie are they in the - - - ranges?

    As we wish to see if we can get to your router/gateway externally even though if it isnt static. If you are unable to get to your network remotely you will have to use an external file sharing service which is hosted. I recommend using  they allow workgroup access/version tracking etc.

    Please remember you ALWAYS have to manage files and maintain regular backups as even though the devices provide a certain amount of redundancy ie Raid 1 they can both fail!!

    Depending on how much data you have its not always about how much storage space you can get in that price, Its about getting balance to get a robust platform in an adequate price. If you do not have tons of data i suggest as the 2nd and better value for money option, sharepoint hosting being the first. has an open file lock
    2. automated backups n snapshots, also you can setup versioning meaning you can keep 2 or more version of the same file should you wish to restore back to it.

    I recently recommended this to my client 5 users they love it n only costs them 23 dollars..
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    We have 4-5 users, and i think we work with the range but i cant remember, we have access to our network range via vpn as the previous tentants had that activated, so accessing the network remotely shouldnt be a problem.

    We will have quite alot of data and understand that backup is essential, we already have online storage that we use to store some files.

    We really want and in office solution that we can easilly back up, we have budgeted around 200-300.

    1. Do you think the wd drive would be effective
    2. If yes is there s/w we could use with it to ensure 'open file lock'
    3. What is the most effetive way to back up this disk

    4. Can you suggest a better product or piece of s/w that we can use in our office.

    many thanks for you help so far

    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Backing up could be a bit of a problem with this device.  It is advertised ( ) as a 'home' file store, or you can backup your computers TO it.  Backing up data on it would mean copying data from it to a PC somewhere.  (There are free utilities to do this.)  However, you would need to make sure you have enough space on this other computer's Hard Drive to make it happen.  

    Are you sure you need 1TB of data?  That's a lot.  you can get a 1/2 TB (500 GB) drive ( ) for about 1/2 the price.  However, you don't get RAID 1, which is nice, but it shouldn't be used as a backup strategy.
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    Than i can suggest 1 thing please think about it as the functionality you require can not be found in a NAS device.

    Purchase a : Dell desktop retailing at £199 keep basic setting in purchase

    Enable file and printer sharing. Share a folder called company allow everyone access as you do not want to do user management as per your post above. Open Files protection default. You can use a browser to access files.

    Purchase a: USB device. Schedulke windows to backup your data to the device

    Total cost: £260.00 pluss you get a free 19" widw flat panel that you can use at home!
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    what amajidkj said is where I was going, you need features not supplied by this HD.  Put XP on the machine, and get an external USB backup device.  You can use XP's backup utility to backup to the external hard drive every night.

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