|QNAP TS-119 Gigabit NAS Server|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Network|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 17 June 2009|
Page 10 of 11
NAS Server Final Thoughts
It's not going to make a lot of sense for resellers and IT professionals to outfit a client with a Windows-based server if it's only going to be used for serving out files, sharing printers, and controlling Active Directory objects; one fairly inexpensive NAS does all this in its most basic form at less than half the cost. It's not until you consider that some manufacturers outfit their NAS series with full LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL and PHP) package for web servers, along with FTP and media tools, that the list of items a NAS product could potentially replace grows very large.
So what can you expect from most NAS products? More than you can with some pedestal or rack servers. This is supposed to be my final thoughts, and quite frankly I just barely touched the surface of features NAS products can offer. Most of my NAS reviews focus on performance, and sparingly supply feature lists. So let's recap some feature highlights that most modern NAS products offer:
Obviously the list could go on and on, especially if you noticed the multi-page layout of features and functionality. Taking into consideration that NAS products seem to all offer a feature-set that reads like a chefs shopping list, it's no wonder why these NAS products are quickly replacing Windows Server products. After all, for the price of one RAID-5 capable NAS and three 2.0 TB SATA-II HDDs you'll get four Terabytes of total storage space and still spend well below the cost of one single Windows Server Operating System and the required client access licenses.
While it's true that these NAS products will do almost everything a Windows Server platform can, they still fall very short of one important task: Windows software. Many of my clients have servers which require some form of server-side software to manage a database. Some of the most common applications that require almost no processing power but still require installation on a Windows O/S are QuickBooks and AutoCAD licensing server. Imagine the possibilities you could offer clients with a full server-in-the-box solution. I believe that this will be the next evolution in NAS products, as consumer demand more versatility out of their investment.
But there are still a few more things you can't do on a NAS, such as utilize the onboard O/S to install applications. Most NAS products utilize a Linux variant ('Nix) with little or no command interface, so even if you knew how to install from YUM or a similar repository the functionality doesn't exist. Even once that obstacle is navigated, I have a feeling that users will then demand a Windows emulator so they can install and utilize Windows-specific software on their NAS (such as license servers and anti-virus command points). It seems that these problems all revolve around side-stepping Microsoft products and licensing, which is not surprising.