Posted by: Craig Mathias
NAS, network attached storage, storage server
So last time I talked about how many people travel with a notebook PC containing all of their data. There’s a real advantage to this – no matter where you roam, you’ll have at least all of your data with you. But what if someone else needs access to that data while you’re traveling? What if, like me, you use several different PCs – perhaps with several different operating systems – in the office and out? How about access to shared data back in the office? For years, we’ve been conditioned to think of the PC as personal, and data as ours. This is fine in the residence, I guess, but, in business, we need to be essentially independent of the PC and make sure all data is sharable (with appropriate security, of course). Sometimes all we’ll have with us is a smartphone, or perhaps we’ll have to use a borrowed or public PC to get some critical task done. And, as I previously noted, it’s probably not a good idea to have only one PC in your arsenal. If that PC goes down, you’re in trouble. If all of your data’s on it, you’re in really, really big trouble.
The solution around here has been to put all corporate data on a storage server, which is essentially a very thin, network-attached storage (NAS) box. The ones we use here are from Iomega, the latest in the line being the StorCenter ix2-200 (I’m using two earlier models at present). These devices have a lot of function, but are very easy to use – just plug into your gigabit-Ethernet LAN (you are using gigabit Ethernet for all of your office network, right?), do a little configuration via the Web-based control panel, and then forget it. The built-in RAID-1 disk array assures no lost data in the event of the failure of any single drive, and Iomega (and a few of their competitors) offer integrated remote access and Internet backup of data. The StorCenter appears on a PC as a network drive, and I’ve used it with Windows, the Mac, and Linux with no problems whatsoever.
So get that critical data off the “personal” computer – that’s the last place the lifeblood of your business belongs.