Do you know if all the Data on your File Server is OK?
Unless you are already using ZFS, Btrfs or ReFS you don’t. If your file server is a couple of years old, there is a very good chance that your Data is NOT OK.
Your server hardware might tell you everything is OK but that does not really tell you much because none of your monitoring systems check the actual data.
ZFS on the other had knows if your data is ok and can even repair it. I upgraded my file server recently. All the old disks that were still in the pool at the time were OK according to their SMART values. yet look what the monthly check told me: Just think about that: In just one month almost 2MB of data got corrupted. And right now you don’t know if your server has similar issues. If you did not know it yet this particular issue has a name: Bit Rot and it gets worse the older your current hardware is and more likely the larger your disks are.
You might not realise it but 2MB is a lot of data. It can be an important document or picture. Or it can be that it is just 2MB of a huge CAD file that is totally unreadable without those 2MB.
Granted my old server is quite a bit of an extreme example because I postponed the upgrade quite a bit longer than I originally wanted to. And the disks in it were not meant for this workload.
But I have seen quite a few that storage servers or NAS boxes remained almost untouched until a disk failed or they were full. So old hardware is not all that uncommon, especially at home and in the SMB market.
Now you might think setting up a new file server is easy right? You could just take Server 2012 with ReFS and Storage pools and be done with it.
Technically that is correct, but even in Windows there is really quite a bit more to consider. That being said I want to make the case for Open Source because for this purpose it is simply better than Windows.
In particular I want to show you how to build your file server with ZFS and Linux, two proven Open Source technologies. When you are done the Server will integrate nicely into your windows environment. Your users will not know the difference and you don’t have to get headaches from trying to license Windows correctly.