If your organization is working with a file server that is old, slow, or has other performance issues, it might be a good time to upgrade. But that upgrade doesn’t have to be to another on-premise server. Advances in cloud computing have made the cloud easy to work with, flexible and secure. And these days, migrating a file server to the cloud is easier than ever. However, it also costs time and resources. So why should you consider ditching an on-premise server and moving to the cloud?
Moving to the cloud offers several benefits that can make things simpler or more efficient for an organization. We’ll focus on four reasons why you should move your file server to the cloud: there’s no more managing hardware, all patches, updates, & optimizations are done for you, you gain greater access control, and it has lower costs in the long run.
Maintaining servers can be a full-time job itself, which is why so many servers end up running old operating systems on outdated technology. Specs that were top-of-the-line in 2008 would be unacceptable in 2023. There’s also physical management like making sure there’s proper ventilation, cable management, power costs, and ensuring there are easy access points for maintenance.
When you move your file servers to the cloud, you can say goodbye to managing physical machines. Your files will be neatly stored on cloud servers where they can be retrieved instantly without having to fumble around with hardware installation or maintenance.
Performance and security are two important parts of working with data, and moving your file server to the cloud can have noticeable differences in both areas.
Performance-wise, moving to the cloud with one of the popular providers like Google Workspace, Dropbox, or SharePoint means you get to make use of their powerful infrastructure. Instead of a few dedicated machines that have your files, thousands of them work together to make sure you always have access to your files. And if one of them were to go offline for whatever reason, the others will pick up the slack with no issue–something that would be a major problem if you had a single server on-premises that stopped working.
For security, all of the updates and patches are installed for you. Companies like Microsoft and Google have top dedicated cybersecurity experts on the team to make sure they have the best possible safeguards in place.
This scale and efficiency also reduces downtime. If you have a single file server that needs to update, it can take a few hours. Since the cloud makes use of multiple servers at all times, outages are extremely rare and tend to be very short-term, as backups or redundancy plans kick in if something goes wrong. For your organization, this means working in the cloud allows greater efficiency and better performance.
One appealing benefit of moving from an on-prem file server to the cloud is the increased access to files. Since the files aren’t tied to a specific device, they can be accessed from any device where a user can log in to cloud storage.
What about for files you don’t want increased access to, such as company research that should only be accessed on-premises? There are a few options to handle this kind of data, both on and off the cloud.
One is that you could keep a dedicated on-prem server. You can have a smaller, more specialized server running the latest operating systems and always keep it up to date. Sensitive files can be kept on this server while collaborative files can be sent on a cloud platform designed for teams working together.
Another option is to move those files to the cloud along with your other servers, but make sure to lock down and double-check permissions first. If you use Windows file permissions in windows, a migration tool like Movebot can move those permissions as part of the migration and map them to a user in cloud storage so they can’t be accessed by the wrong people.
Depending on what cloud storage platform you move to, you can also restrict access to specific IPs, like dedicated office IPs. This way you can still have the advantages of the cloud like not managing hardware or software updates, while still keeping access to sensitive files restricted.
Upgrading and maintaining equipment comes with a cost, but replacing it can cost even more. Typically, the lifespan of a server is about 5-8 years. Depending on the workload, they may last for less time or may be able to last upwards of 10 years. If you have a server running Windows 2012 that was set up when that was the newest thing, you should consider upgrading–or moving away from on-prem servers entirely and migrating to the cloud.
Each server will eventually need to be replaced, configured, and set up to work in your environment. Regardless of whether that’s in 5 years or 15 years, that replacement will come with a cost. And when a server does go down, it can impact operations until a replacement is sourced and set up–which can bring its own set of costs.
When you move your files to the cloud, server management is all done for you. The company will manage, upgrade, and replace servers as needed in the background, while you continue to have access without having to worry about the details. This also means your organization doesn’t need a server room and can cut costs on power and cooling and other expenses.
Data that doesn’t need to be accessed often–like files kept for record keeping for several years for compliance purposes—can be moved to a data archive service like Amazon S3 Glacier, Google Cloud Storage, or stored in Wasabi. Data put in long-term or “cold” tiers is significantly cheaper but takes longer to access, making it a perfect place to keep required, rarely accessed data.
If the cloud sounds like a good move for your file server, how do you make it happen? Minimizing disruptions requires setting up a migration plan, moving the data, and decommissioning the old file server.
The best way to make moving a file server to the cloud easy is to make a comprehensive migration plan in place. The plan should address any aspect of operations that might be impacted, how to handle working during the migration, and contingencies in case something goes wrong.
With a solid migration plan and a migration tool that can effectively move your file server to the cloud, the migration itself can be relatively straightforward. With Movebot, for instance, you don’t have to stop working on the server while data is being moved. Movebot copies over data to the new cloud storage account, and any changes made since the file was copied can be brought over through delta migrations.
Migrating the data into the cloud also comes with a cost. Usually, this will be based on volume. Some companies charge $0.75-$1 per GB of data moved. Movebot can do it for significantly cheaper, at $390 per TB (only 39 cents per GB), with even better rates as part of a Movebot subscription.
One of the most challenging kinds of migrations for many platforms is moving files in a physical device like a file server and network-attached storage to the cloud. But it’s not a problem with Movebot. A simple to setup agent will make OSX or Windows servers integrate with Movebot, where those files can then be moved to any of the over 30 storage integrations in Movebot.
Movebot is easy to use and can move terabytes per day from a file server to cloud storage. Setting up and preparing your server for the cloud is easy too. Simply register for an account with Movebot, add the storage for Microsoft Windows/Apple OSX, and follow the instructions. Or for a more detailed guide, see this guide on installing and configuring the agent.