Replacing a server with cloud storage for a small office.

icecreman
icecreman used Ask the Experts™
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I have a client with about six desktops that are currently connecting to a 2003 server. The server is really only used as a file server and is on it's way out. In lieu of buying a new server I'd like to move them to some type of cloud storage.

My plan is to find a suitable cloud storage solution and change all of their user accounts from domain to local. None of the users are tech savvy so I'd like to make this as painless and transparent as possible.

What do you guys recommend? OneDrive for Business, Dropbox for Business, etc.? Are there any options that will allow drive mapping to keep the end user experience similar to what they have now? How is file sharing approached with these solutions?

Thanks in advance for your expertise.
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Commented:
Unfortunately unless you have a very fast internet line -OR- the users are only working with small files you will need to scrap the idea of using a mapped drive.  If you go with Office 365 you can use sharepoint and do those things, but in my experience it doesn't work all that well if you have a large number of files - well you will at least run into some problems.

Probably the easiest of the ones I have seen our clients implement is Dropbox for Business. Sorry I can;t give you more, but that those are the two I have used the most of.  Some of our clients have gone to Google Drive as well.
How about replacing the server with a NAS -Network Access Storage device.

Did you think in that direction?
Lionel MMSmall Business IT Consultant

Commented:
The best way to answer this is for you to tell us what types of files they use, how large are those files and how many (total size you will need online)? Keep in mind if any are databases then most "online" storage will not work--you would have to consider a peer-to-peer (local) network for that. Then you will also need to think about backing up your data, locally, in the event your "cloud" storage is hacked and/or corrupted (does happen). My experience with Office365 has been very good but you then are having to learn a new skill Sharepoint, unless you find a vendor to help you (which could get expensive and you are trying to save money).
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Author

Commented:
Thanks for the comments. They do have pretty fast internet access and the files they store are 99% Word docs and PDF's. No databases or other large files. At the moment I'm looking at Onedrive for Business, Dropbox for Business and Google Drive.

I think I can make this work pretty well if I can share a folder that all clients could sync to. For instance, create a Data folder that all five PC's could sync local copies. I'm leaning towards Onedrive because of the included Office 365 subscription but I'm not sure if this function is available.

All the users have their own folders so that will be easy to move over but they also have the Data folder that is shared.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT Consultant

Commented:
If you shared a folder for one of the user's drop box for business account you will able to give others access to it with a url (I think--been awhile since I looked at it) and if you have an office 365 subscription most (but not all) come with sharepoint which you could use as well.

Author

Commented:
Thanks to all for the advice. I decided to go with Dropbox for business due to it's simplicity and the fact that it has a "Team" folder that shows up automatically on all users computers. They can use the team folder as there shared 'drive'. The admin controls are pretty nice and intuitive as well. I do run a Sharepoint site at another (much larger) client and feel that the Onedrive/Sharepoint solution was a bit much for this client.

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