Storage solution for Small Office

I want to implement Backup Storage solution for a small office with <10 users. What is the best and most economical way to do it?

I have the following requirements:


I want to implement RAID on my storage solution. (Hardware or Software based). Not sure which RAID is the best one here (RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID-5 etc.) ?


I preferably want Hard Drive reuse from my old machines. (Any way to do that?)


I want fine grained authentication control on the Shared area for the users/groups


Want to have web based access of the storage (Not sure how to do this?)


Want to copy over the data from development machines to the shared server periodically. Maybe you can point me to some software.

The storage I am looking at is less than 4 TB and my budget is under $1500.
Can anyone please give me some pointers?
Thanks a ton.
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John EastonDirectorCommented:
For a backup solution I would recommend looking at offsite solutions.  I have seen backup software which can save to the cloud, even an open source option which can save to Amazon services.

Storage is not that expensive with Amazon Glacier quoting $0.01 per GB.  However, coping 4 TB of data in the initial backup could be an issue, unless you have a great interest connection, or the provider can accept a data dump by other methods.

If you want on in house solution, there are many options ranging from network attached storage (some of which have 2 drives and RAID support) which are fairly inexpensive (a few hundred pounds - I am from UK so don't know dollar prices).  Alternately setting up an old PC as a storage server would also be an option.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
less than 4TB.. smaller than the capacity of one drive on my personal computer..
resuse older smaller drives.. Server 2012 storage spaces fits that bill. only problem is that the drives must be blank to begin with and you just keep adding drives and create the storage space of these JBOD (just a bunch of disks) don't forget to add parity once things start to fill up just add more drives / replace smaller with larger drives.

Web interface.. can be done in iis with directory browsing. local use integrated authentication, Consult a professional to get it done right the first time.
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
If you want to re-use one of your old PC's for document backups,  I'd suggest installing a new hard drive in it with a fresh install of Windows 7 or 8 with a good anti virus and a shared folder for each employee.  That will probably be the long term lowest price solution.  Cloud backup is an excellent alternative. You could also install a backup application on the old re-used Pc and take weekly or monthly backups on an external USB drive to take off-site.

If possible, I'd install a hardware raid 1 which mirrors two identical drives. This allows you to lose one drive and still have your data on the other one. Setting up a Mirror is a great inexpensive and safe way to proceed.

Hope this helps!
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Netgear ReadyNAS.  Wouldn't recommend any less than an Intel CPU.
I would suggest a Synology unit. That would fit most of your requirements perfectly, and you won't even come close to your budget.
Synology is well-known for its DSM software and GUI, which first of all supports probably all your requirements (raid, use own disks, user management, web interface, cloud support, and much more) but also is VERY easy to understand and manage.
I've been looking at this same thing for a small office. I've settled on QNAP, specifically the QNAP TS-X53 Pro series. There is a 2 bay and 4 bay version, add a few WD RED hard drives and it will fit into your budget nicely. I'm not sure what disks you have currently but you'd have to check to see if they are compatible with the NAS. If not, as mentioned you can get the device and all new disks for your budget.

I agree completely about the offsite storage for disaster recovery, but something to keep in mind is that cloud based backup is typically a subscription so you will pay that as an on-going cost, and for 4T you will most likely exceed your $1500 annually.
Larry Struckmeyer MVPCommented:
Windows Storage Server Essentials.  Backs up 25 stations, single instance storage, allows Remote Web Access, is familiar Windows 2012 R2 interface.  The Thecus units come with the OS on a internal SSD drive allowing the 2 to 5 bays to be used for storage.   One source in the US:
Sajid Shaik MSystem AdminCommented:
i suggest you to go for .. your budget western digital storage. which can accommodate SATA HDD's and you can access it over web ... and it can be a NAS..  it will perform best for less users.

if you are planning about fine-grained.. authentication control... use is as DAS... ans share the volumes from the AD... i beleave it'll support...

check the following link for more details...

Sajid Shaik MSystem AdminCommented:
about the raid I prefer Raid 10 with 4 HDD's ... if u have 2 tb each HDD... it'll be 4 tb of storage with raid 10... which is reads writes faster..

condition of raid: the least size of hdd consider as base size for all HDD's

i.e if u have 1 HDD of 1 TB  and 3 HDD's are 2 TB... all are in single raid then all will be considered as 1 TB HDD's ..

and this is applicable for h/w raid and s/w raid...  

best is the H/W raid.

Perfect solution for your requirements and for your budget
Easy to implement

I have been using some specific models (ds212...) for clients for many years without any problems at all
Kash2nd Line EngineerCommented:
Synology DS414 is something you should look for. Works wonders.
MikeIT ManagerCommented:
Synology all the way.  I've been running one with no issues for 4 years.  The massive amount of eatures is great, and the iSCSI works well too.

As far as having your dev machine backing up to it; I would suggest Cobian Backup (freeware) which will can copy your files to a local or network location.  I use this at my house.
ArikkanAuthor Commented:

Thanks for so many good comments from everyone.  :-)

I have another question and one more point that I would like to know is:


What are you guys using for management of the storage solution (Either NAS or other). Some of them seem to use proprietary management OS and some use Windows Storage Server. What is the easiest to manage and get up and running in the fastest time.
Larry Struckmeyer MVPCommented:
Tough to tell you.  For some it would be anything Windows.  For others, anything 'nix.  For others it would not matter.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Each is different. Some have a web interface, some use a dedicated program. If the underlying File system is not NTFS you can't copy EFS files. (only supported by ntfs)
ArikkanAuthor Commented:
If I use Windows Storage Server 2012, is there a way that I can access the user files on an HTTP web access link to the Server (With AD user authentication to the folders).

@Larry Struckmeyer MVP: What is the "Remote Web Access" that you are talking about on the Storage server essentials. Is this for web management or for accessing the backed up files?
Michael OrtegaSales & Systems EngineerCommented:
I vote Synology as well.
Larry Struckmeyer MVPCommented:
All version of the SBS/Essentials family have included a secure (port 443) web page that allows access to the systems behind the "portal".  Normally you install it on the switch and forward port 443 from the edge firewall to that system.  When the web page opens you login (use strong passwords please) and can then access your computer, your RDS server, or if admin, the WSSE.  The typical use is to backup the systems attached to it and to work on your in office system when you are away.  Think of it as RDP by redirection from the WSSE.  

The backups cannot be accessed.  They are only to restore.  However, any live data can also be stored on them, and that is accessible.  The backups do single instance storage of the contents of the attached systems, so, for example if 25 systems have Windows 7 and they are all patched to the same level, then only ONE copy of Windows 7 is stored on the appliance.  If 2 users have the identical copy of a .pdf file, only one copy is stored on the appliance,  But the backups are indexed so the appropriate systems can restore them.  And, it keeps today yesterday for a week, then last 4 weeks then 6 months ago, then 1 year ago, and you can change this.

Shares on the device are immediately available after login, or shares on other devices are available from the target system, either your own or the RDS server.

and others.

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ArikkanAuthor Commented:
Thank you
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