What to choose for your small business: NAS (Network-attached storage) or Server?


Many small businesses don’t realize how shared resources over the computer network can improve their work process, especially on projects that need a collaboration between many coworkers. There are essentially two ways to make this collaboration possible: a server or a Network-Attached Storage (NAS).

What to choose for your small business: NAS (Network-attached storage) or Server?

What roles do server and NAS play?

A server is a computer that serves purposes other than those served by a personal computer. It is operated by a special type of operating systems (Windows Server 2012 or Ubuntu Server 16.04, for example) specially designed to manage users, offer applications like email or services like printing documents.

On the other hand, a NAS is a device conceived to provide capabilities like file sharing, synchronization between devices and backup. It has some similarities with the features that a server provides, but it is easier to configure and less customizable.

How to choose?

Choosing what solution (server or NAS) is the best for your business depends mainly on what capabilities you need, how much you can afford and a trade-off between the ease-of-use and the advanced features.

Servers come with a powerful hardware that can serve too many users and purposes at the same time, without lacking in performance. You can adopt servers to work exactly as you intend, but this needs a set of skills and expertise. They are also expensive. It is not just a matter of hardware price, but also the configuration and maintenance time. Perhaps you will need to buy licenses for the software used for the server, which drives up the price.

A server is the best choice if you have too many users, the necessary skills and enough budget. Otherwise, pick a NAS device.