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Old 01-07-2015, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default How do I add simple Networked Attached Storage?

So I am with a very small company. We are not technologically advanced; we haven't needed such things. Our desktops are wired through the walls to a router which in turn goes to our cable modem out to the net. We are not networked together. It works great as is.

We now have a project where we need to have a common, central folder of pdf files that any of the desktops can access as if it was stored on a local drive.

Is there a very simple way, without repurposing a PC as a server, to attach a device to the router that allows us to access the file folder of pdfs? I need about a 100 gig or so of space.

Your thoughts are appreciated, Thanks N_G

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Old 01-07-2015, 04:47 PM   #2
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Why not use Google drive or drop box and be able to share whatever files/folders you need?

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Old 01-07-2015, 04:49 PM   #3
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Check the router for an available USB port. Many have this for a NAS drive.

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Old 01-07-2015, 04:52 PM   #4
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Speaking as a Network Security specialist, here -- this is the sort of thing I do for a living.....

If the office is as small as it seems (under 20 people, I'm assuming?), your best bet and most cost-effective thing is a 'cloud' storage service.

Dropbox is probably your best bet. (http://www.dropbox.com)

If you're not already using Google's Gmail service, you might consider using them for company e-mail, and use their free "Office software" service -- it also has the ability to share documents (including PDF's) with others.

Box.net is also an option. Zoho (zoho.com) is also in the same market as Google's offering with e-mail, shared storage, and office apps, too.

Hope this Helps.

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Old 01-07-2015, 07:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nutty_gnome View Post
So I am with a very small company. We are not technologically advanced; we haven't needed such things. Our desktops are wired through the walls to a router which in turn goes to our cable modem out to the net. We are not networked together. It works great as is.

We now have a project where we need to have a common, central folder of pdf files that any of the desktops can access as if it was stored on a local drive.

Is there a very simple way, without repurposing a PC as a server, to attach a device to the router that allows us to access the file folder of pdfs? I need about a 100 gig or so of space.

Your thoughts are appreciated, Thanks N_G
I personally use Drop Box for this very purpose. It allows you to share work.

https://www.dropbox.com/
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:10 PM   #6
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Thank you for the suggestions. The office is small, only 4 desktops. Since I've posted my question I've been looking at cloud services. It does seem they would be useful. I'll keep looking. Thanks for the suggestions. N_G

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Old 01-09-2015, 11:14 AM   #7
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What are your goals? If it's just to share work space in real time I've not found a better option than drop box.

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Old 01-09-2015, 11:29 AM   #8
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1. You can store those files you want to share on one of the machines, in a folder and share that folder with the local network.

As long as that computer is on, every machine on the network has access to that folder. To make life easier, that folder can be mapped as a network drive on each machine, and assigned a drive letter.

Since all machines are on the same router/switch, they form a network.

2. As mentioned before a NAS drive is another simple option, and very similar to 1. Problem is the drive's USB connection can be a bottleneck.

3. Nothing wrong with using cloud storage, except it isn't free for larger storage amounts (quota differ among providers) and only works when the internet is on. In that light having a local storage backup/alternative is not a luxury.

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Old 01-09-2015, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nutty_gnome View Post
Thank you for the suggestions. The office is small, only 4 desktops. Since I've posted my question I've been looking at cloud services. It does seem they would be useful. I'll keep looking. Thanks for the suggestions. N_G

Two suggestions.

For our small office, I set up a cloud server through Egnyte. It allows you to map a drive on each computer, and it has a great feature called Personal Local Cloud, which means I can sync certain files on my computers with the cloud. I have the same files available on my laptop and desktop at the office. Plus I can access the server through the web OR an app.

Essentially, I have all of my files available on any device, and the sync feature means I am working with local files usually (much faster).

I think it costs less that $50/month for 5 users with plenty of storage. It's a perfect solution for us because we work remotely.

Oh, and I set up extranets to share files with employees who don't need access to everything.

At home, I got a Western Digital My Cloud. Still seeing how it works, and it was less than $150.

For business, I really suggest Egnyte.

Office 365 has some possibilities, too.
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:12 PM   #10
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I took an old PC that wasn't the fastest, installed a couple of large hard drives and got it to boot up from a USB flash drive. The flash drive has OpenMediaVault software to run the system. It took me a couple of hours to read the documentation and get it set up, but since I had all of the hardware left over from upgrades, it was free. Best thing is that it keeps my files off the cloud and private to my local network. Haven't set up redundancy yet, but will as I find more left over hardware.

The older PC isn't all that fast, but it's fast enough to keep up with my network's speed for communication with 4-5 PC's. As long as I keep a good backup policy going I don't have a problem with using inexpensive drives.

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