The most important tips for buying a Storage Server

Choosing a storage server is becoming increasingly difficult, because of the high levels of complexity and the wide variety of products available. However, the decision is also hugely important, as you need to be able to rely on the data on your server for years to come.

euroNAS has put together this list to allow you to make the best possible decision.

1. Do not tie yourself to a specific hardware brand

Many storage server manufacturers use proprietary hardware and an operating system which will only run on the hardware in question. However, you need to consider what will happen if some of the components fail after the warranty has expired.

Very few manufacturers sell spare parts after the end of the warranty and if a repair service is offered, it will be very expensive. By using standard hardware components in combination with a hardware-tolerant operating system, you can extend the life of your system and speed up repairs significantly.

2. Data transfer protocols

Choosing a storage server often means deciding on which transfer protocol to use (SMB/CIFS, NFS, AppleTalk, FTP, iSCSI or Fibre Channel). It is essential to look ahead and make the right decision, taking into account your requirements.

The more transfer protocols a storage server supports the better.

3. Authentication

Many companies find that their requirements for user authentication grow over time. Initially they may have only a few employees and so a work group with local user administration is sufficient. Forward-looking organisations choose products which allow for a reliable Active Directory connection.

4. Usability

A storage server which is complex to use will make implementation difficult and can cause configuration problems, which may result in the choice of a configuration that is less than ideal. Simple administration via a web browser means that the server is not dependent on a specific operating system.

5. Data security

You should take the following factors into consideration to ensure that you choose the right solution:

  • hard disk costs
  • RAID controller costs (hardware RAID and software RAID)
  • levels of data security and availability needed
  • performance requirements

It is also important that the operating system offers both hardware and software RAID. Hardware RAID keeps the server CPU usage low, while software RAID is hardware-independent. However, for today’s high-performance processors, CPU usage is no longer such an important factor.

6. Costly additional functions

Some suppliers charge large amounts for specific functions such as antivirus software, snapshots, iSCSI, data synchronisation, etc.. These unexpected additional costs can very rapidly take you beyond the limits of your budget.

7. Support

The majority of products are easy to install and to use. However, if you have problems, is there someone you can turn to?

Can you get technical support when the problem is obviously nothing to do with the operating system, but instead is hardware-related?

How effective is the event logging function and how quickly does technical support respond to queries?

8. Price

There are often significant differences in price between the different solutions, but the most expensive is not necessarily the best.

Many manufacturers spend a lot on advertising and marketing which increases their product costs and automatically makes their products more expensive. As a result, these products are not always better than their competitors.