My business has about 15 people in a single location. We've lived forever off a local Windows Server for file sharing (about 800 GB) and access to our accounting system, which is also file system based (meaning it isn't client-server, rather you access it over a shared drive). My server is nearing the end of its life and I am considering the alternatives.
My fundamental decision is whether to implement a new server onsite or bring things to the cloud. By 'cloud' I mean a number of different things - it could be an infrastructure as a service (IAAS) implementation where I maintain the file server but just stick it in the cloud, or it could mean cloud-based file sharing, etc. I am not presupposing any answer.
Replacing the server with a new one is the "easy" answer, because it's a known entity. But again I am trying to be open minded.
One of my hangups as I think about the cloud is user's behavior and patterns when it comes to file sharing. Today, users access a shared folder, files are locked when opened so there's no problem having single version of the truth, and people are used to working in Explorer in a very "interactive" way, meaning they work in projects that have many files that are constantly opened, edited, closed, etc. Many files are accessed by the same people and as I said there is no issue with collisions because file access is exclusive for writes. Most cloud solutions are either sync-based, but this is a problem for me because the file set is > 250 gb and it's not practical to put that data on all workstations (all users need all) not do I want to distribute it that much from a security perspective, or web-based which is a huge slowdown from a workflow point of view, eg browse to file, download it, open it, save it back up, etc. vs. Explorer.
Another hangup I have is that after the purchase cost of a new server (
I think a lot of the challenge originates from the fact that I have an existing environment vs. being able to start fresh. If starting fresh I'd have no constraints and could define any answer I want.
I'm not looking for an answer of which option is better per-se, but rather I am looking for guidance on how I should consider the factors associated with each option so I can make a good decision.
What are your thoughts about this?