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Nas over Server question

I work in office of 20 or fewer people depending on the day.  We currently do most of our business computing in the cloud, and only use a server for file, print sharing.  Each employee also has a mapped drive on the server for "personal" files.  The server used to be used heavily for accounting software, exchange, files etc but we've moved that to outside providers.

My boss and I are looking to also move the file's to the cloud as well with possibly a NAS system that backups to Egnyte every day.  We have a company that has approached us to implement this but we feel we can do this much cheaper on our own.  

Currently we are running a Dell Poweredge 2800 with 5 176GB 15K RAID 5 drives in the server and upgrading these drives to larger capacity will cost roughly $600 per drive if we stick with a similar type of drive.  

Here's a link to the Egnyte solution we're looking at.

My question is could we get a NAS system, load it with VMWARE ESX, and do all of our file sharing without a decrease in speed?  So, maybe striped drives to make up for slower RPM (7200 vs 15k)?  I am not extremely versed in NAS systems or Server hardware so keep that in mind.
Note: All we really work with around here is Excel and Word files, some pictures, no big files really.  We would probably keep the server going for DHCP and maybe print sharing and because it's already there.
Server HardwareVMwareCloud ComputingDell

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8/22/2022 - Mon

Get a used server class PC and run solaris with ZFS on it.  Software RAID is much cheaper and solaris can integrate a few inexpensive SSDs to give you much better performance then you can get with any hardware RAID controller

Not only that, but the box can do hot snapshot backups, online data compression, and de-duplication.

You cannot install ESXi on a NAS box, you can only store the virtual machine's files there.

Egnyte works just fine with solaris, or for that matter any O/S.  You can use your own (s)ftp client if you wish to push data to their service.  

VMWARE just doesn't make sense if you try to virtualize a single computer anyway, especially an I/O intensive system.
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Consumer class SATA drives won't work on that controller properly. You need enterprise storage drives.  The reason is that the firmware in the controller requires HDDs with TLER timing on error recovery.

Consumer drives on that controller guarantees data loss.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)

try Nexenta NAS for free under ESXi, they now have new appliance for download.

I appreciate the responses.  I think we're going to try to make this work on our existing hardware.  We still had a lot of old data on a volume for Exchange so we cleaned that up and are going to merge that with our Data voume.  We're just going to partition our C: and install Esx then point it to our existing data drive.  I think within a year or 2 we'll need new drives but will probably go 7200rpm as it cuts the price in half.
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@hanccocka - That seems interesting.  What do you mean for "free under ESXi".  Can you expand a little on how this works?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)

its a full fledged NAS, which is a downloadable appliance from Nexenta, so its a virtual machine, but with Full NAS functions CIFs, NFS, iSCSI

Gotcha, thanks.
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I will install ESXi on a USB key and share my Hard Drive pass through to Nexenta/Openindiana. I will have a virtual server and a mean to share file between our user.

Before it I was looking a QNAP for sharing our files and backuping our workstation.