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Arguably the single most important function that a server provides to the rest of the network is to be a central, secure, managed file storage area. By centralizing file storage on a server, it becomes an order of magnitude easier to ensure the safety, integrity, recoverability, and availability of the core files of your business. Instead of having files spread all across the network on individual client computers, you have them in a single place—easier to share among collaborators, easier to back up, easier to recover in the event of a disaster, and easier to secure so that only those people who should have access to a file, do. The downside to having all your important files in a single location is the potential for a single point of failure and the need for high availability of the files, since your business depends on them. This makes it imperative that you carefully manage the underlying disks that support your file storage and that those disks be both redundant and thoroughly backed up.
In this chapter, we’ll cover the underlying disk management that makes it possible to store your files and protect against loss, corruption, or disaster. In Chapter 8, “Storage Management,” we’ll cover some of the new features of Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 that enable you to manage storage, protect critical files, and provide versioning of shared files to protect against corruption or misadventure. Additional backup and recovery details are covered in Chapter 13, “Backing Up and Restoring Data.”
Traditionally, large businesses have used a variety of techniques to ensure that files stored on a server were both secure and safe. These solutions tend to be expensive, but, when spread across all the supported workstations and buried in a large MIS budget, they are feasible. The same solutions would not be feasible or acceptable in most small businesses, but that doesn’t change the very real need of those small businesses to protect themselves from disaster. Fortunately, there are both hardware and software solutions that can provide a very high level of security and safety. However, before we can talk about those solutions, let’s make sure we all understand the terminology of disk management.
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