Get a New File Server in 15 Minutes

Last week, a customer sent me an email that included the following. “The file server is full and slowing everyone down, and I’m tired of having to clean files off of it. Maybe we should get a new one.”

So, I went to Dell’s Web site and found the cheapest file server they had. It cost $1395, which doesn’t include the charge for installing it.

I quoted her the price, and then showed her my file server in the cloud. I demonstrated how to create drives and folders. I explained how we could map cloud drives as drives in Windows Explorer. I showed her what software had to be installed on everyone’s computers. I also showed her how to access files from a Web browser.

The cost for this server is $4 per account, which includes 10 GB of storage. Additional storage is charged at the rate of 15 cents per GB per month. We figured it will be about $20 per month given the number of accounts we need and the amount of storage required. Plus, the first 2 weeks are a free trial. If for some reason they don’t like it, they just have to cancel the account. So, the risk is $0.

Do the math. $2000 for a server that they have to backup and administer, or $20 a month and someone else even pays the electric bill.

Where do you get this file server you may be wondering? Go to Sign up for a business account and choose either the Workgroup or Server edition. We used the Workgroup edition.

Once you have the account, you can create drives. Drives can be created using Amazon S3 storage or using RackSpace. The cost is the same either way.

Finally, install the Jungle Disk client software. This is not strictly required, as the files can be accessed through the browser. However, the software provides three useful features. First, cloud drives can be mapped as a drives in Explorer. Second, local folders can be synchronized with cloud storage. Third, scheduled backups to the cloud can be set up. The client software runs on Mac and Windows. There is even an iPhone app.

The whole process takes about fifteen minutes.

This is an example of the cloud not only making computing cheaper, but also easier and better. If you would like to learn how to use the cloud to benefit your users, take one of the courses in Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing curriculum.

Doug Rehnstrom

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