Multiple times per week, I’m discussing the idea of a traditional on-premises file server versus moving to the cloud. Moving to the cloud could mean two different things:
- a traditional file server hosted on a public cloud such as Microsoft Azure, or
- moving to a SaaS solution like OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online with Microsoft Teams.
Performance expectations are always top of mind. While the new version of MS Office deals well with remote files, there is a slight difference between a local and remote file server. It’s more noticeable with larger files such as drawings or large PowerPoint presentations than smaller files such as Word docs or Excel workbooks.
The best modern experience is storing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint data on OneDrive for Business (OfB) and SharePoint Online (SPO). This combines cloud storage with local copies to give the best combination of performance and convenience. You can even access data offline and then resync after reconnecting. OfB/SPO is a bigger change in workflow and requires more training and change management than strictly moving the file server to Azure. When we start to talk SharePoint as a file server, we like to introduce Microsoft Teams as the front end to give the Windows Explorer style view of files without requiring the offline synchronization of all data.
My daily work includes both OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, and traditional file server access. It’s all remote over an Internet connection, and while I don’t notice a performance difference opening the file server files versus OfB/SPO, it is more convenient to access OfB/SPO because it doesn’t require a VPN, even if I’m not in the office.
Would you like to strictly move to the cloud or re-envision productivity and add OfB/SPO/Teams? This is a more detailed conversation than an on-premises file server versus an Azure file server. An Azure file server now and OfB/SPO/Teams later is also an option. Even though I view strictly moving the file server to Azure as a minor change, I think the biggest constraint with Azure now and OfB/SPO/Teams later would be the change fatigue and resistance to revisit the setup after having recently changed it.
Contact us today if you’re ready to make a change with your file server options, whether it’s on-premise or moving to the cloud.