How To Replace Your Aging File Server

Welcome to another episode of Design Under Influence.  

We’re back to demystify how to make technology the competitive advantage for your architecture, design, or engineering firm.  

If you’re not investing in technology and making IT solutions a priority for your business, you might as well be designed under the influence.  

While this might work out from time to time, in the long term, you need a better strategy.  

Today, we’re talking about replacing your old file server.  

Here at ArchIT, we get calls about underperforming servers quite frequently.  

If your server is slow in opening files or you have run out of space to save files, know that you’re not alone. There are a lot of things that can happen to a file server, and there are solutions.  

As a business owner, you need to monitor and document when your filing system was bought, as well as its performance over time.  

That way, you can be proactive in your approach and budget for potential replacements more easily. You don’t want to get slapped with a surprise failed filing server.  

People tend to underestimate how old their filing server is. If you’re reading this right now, it might be time to go back and double-check the documentation on the purchase.  

Should your server be due for a replacement, it’s time for a holistic evaluation of your business.  

You need to identify what tools you currently have in place, what systems are dependent on your file server, and other potential implications of pursuing an update.  

With this holistic approach, you and your IT provider can come up with a plan for implementing a new system.  

If you’re a smaller firm, a good option might be the cloud.

Cloud-based filing servers eliminate lots of risk for small businesses and allow for easier access to remote work (which, of course, is especially important in the coming years).  

If you’re a larger organization, it might be more cost-effective to simply replace your current server with a more updated version rather than moving to the cloud.  

Cloud storage tends to cost about $5 per person per month for the server itself.  

The leading platforms that we recommend for cloud filing systems are:  

  • Google Workspace 
  • Microsoft 365 

Both of these systems are great solutions, especially for smaller firms with a low number of employees.  

You should link your email system with your filing system. If you’re using Microsoft for your email, use the OneDrive system. If you’re using Gmail, go through Google Workspace.  

Depending on what software you use for storing your architecture and design files, there will be additional costs associated with the transferring of data. Because the files your company uses are so specific, there will be additional costs on a per-user basis for platforms like AutoDesk.  

Should you go with cloud-based filing solutions, there will be some implementation costs, as well.  

You will have to install tools on your existing file server and set up a synchronization component. This process is very structured and can be performed somewhat easily with the right IT provider on your team.  

If you are a larger firm and would rather replace your server rather than move over to the cloud, a 1:1 replacement will cost anywhere between $4,000-$5,000. This will take anywhere from 24-36 hours for reconfiguration and transfer, which will lead to additional labor costs (around $200 per hour).  

Cloud services are going to cost less upfront, but paying per-person subscriptions monthly can add up.  

Server replacement is a lot of up-front costs but saves on long-term payments.  

Either way, you go, if your server is due for a replacement, don’t put it off. Your business fails without proper file management.  

ArchIT specializes in providing IT services for architecture, design, and engineering firms, so if you need help please reach out to us.