Small businesses may want to minimize the number of devices in their organization, both in order to minimize costs, and to minimize management hassles. While organizations buy separate Servers/NAS devices for the purpose of having a network server/domain controller & storage device (respectively), it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Western Digital has recently launched two devices – WD Sentinel DS5100 & 6100, that are pre-populated with WD disks and Windows Server 2012 RD Essentials (Network OS). Combined with Intel Xeon processor and compact form-factor, this can very well be your first/single Network Server + Storage Device (two functionalities combined into one device), if you are an SMB company.
Consider the limitation of other NAS systems – they (generally) have proprietary Operating Systems, and you are limited to the applications developed for them. They are used more like a storage appliance, than a network server. But the WD Sentinel line of products come pre-installed with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 RD Essentials (Network OS) and automatic backup/restore software. Besides, there are many applications that are developed for the Windows Network OS ecosystem, that can be installed on this device.
The WD Sentinel devices support storage capacities of 4 TB to 16 TB (depending on the model) and support RAID/Storage Space for disk-level redundancy. They also have limited power-supply redundancy, come with Intel Xeon server processor and abundant (8/16 GB) RAM. The WD Sentinel devices support Active Directory (Domain Controller), remote access, VPN & iSCSI and many other network features that are useful for a small business.
The limitation when you decide to enter into the Windows eco-system is, full features are supported only for clients/computers that run Windows OS. Fortunately, for this system, many features are supported for Mac OS X clients, as well. Unfortunately, Linux systems are supported only at the file-access/sharing level.
Of course, you’ll have to deal with those seemingly-unlimited Windows licenses and updates. But Windows eco-system is generally easier to work with, and anyone can easily set-up and maintain the same.
I feel that these WD Sentinel devices are a very good option, especially if you want to consolidate network features and storage features in a single device and your requirement is minimum (like 25 users/16 TB storage capacity). For larger (and expandable) environments, it maybe better to go with separate devices for each.
For further information about WD Sentinel DS5100/6100 devices, refer here.
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