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This could be fronted by a virtual machine (VM) running Samba, a Linux/Unix-based implementation of an SMB file-sharing protocol used by Windows that has no per-seat licensing costs and no restrictions to older file systems. A document management system, like KnowledgeTree or Alfresco, may also work for your needs.
These suggested software solutions are open source products with available enterprise-class support. The use of open source products keeps upfront costs low, provides lifetime upgrades and eliminates lock-in to the supplier, considerably reducing total cost of ownership (TCO).
Another option is to leverage open storage either by buying a system from Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle Corp.) or rolling out your own. Open storage systems are highly flexible and low cost, and often benefit from more advanced self-healing file systems such as the Zettabyte File System (ZFS). Adoption of these open technologies can bring your storage costs down while improving reliability and performance.
Learn more about data storage options for SMBs/SMEs with these related resources:
1. Learn about the differences between SMB data storage and enterprise data storage.
2. Discover the pros and cons of using removable disk storage for SMBs.
3. Find out how to develop a storage strategy for SMEs.
This was first published in February 2010