Do you choose a Windows server for storage and not NAS? Why did people think it is better?

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shravan
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2021 7:17 am

Do you choose a Windows server for storage and not NAS? Why did people think it is better?

Post by shravan »

Just briefly, here are some Windows Server pros and cons. My opinions of course.

Pros:

You likely already own or can easily obtain the software and hardware needed. PCs are ubiquitous.

Many more trained Windows admins are available to hire, due to Microsoft’s decades of large market share. Despite Linux and Mac taking share of late, Windows and Microsoft are not going to disappear any time soon.

Interfaces to manage the Windows Server are typically accessible through a polished GUI as well as via CLI / scripting. Remote management is also fairly easy.

The file server can also act as an app server, web server, mail server, DNS, Active Directory, and run other Windows software. This can be more economical than paying for a separate dedicated NAS.

Unless your needs are either super high end or very low end, Windows probably has a product and price point you can be comfortable with.

Cons:

Security is arguably still worse in Windows than on most dedicated NAS platforms, due to the ability to run more software on the Windows Server system, and the fact that most viruses, worms, ransomware, etc. still target Windows / x86 first. To their credit, however, Microsoft has made significant progress in this area over the last decade.

NAS platforms can have superior performance, even on limited hardware, due to their lack of support for running generalized software, as well as optimized code for use of specialized hardware. Again, Windows catches up regularly here.

NAS platforms can be more scalable in capacity and performance than Windows Server, though the gap here has also narrowed considerably over the years. Largely this is a function of hardware support and availability.

Many NAS platforms based on Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc. are free software or open source, which Windows still is definitely not. Though Microsoft in the past several years has taken a much more friendly approach to open source software, I don’t see the core Windows kernel or server code base being opened up widely any time soon.

Unless you are a large customer, or willing to pay (sometimes dearly) for it, Microsoft stereotypically has not been considered very responsive with their technical support. I’m well aware of the realities of tech support as both a provider and consumer, and this is entirely understandable. Just the availability of any commercial support at all, could still be considered a “pro” compared to some of the other options.
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