Managed Programs Preferable to "Free" Software Solutions
In many businesses and particularly in small to medium-sized enterprises, IT budgets can be very tight, with departments and on-staff support personnel eager to save money in any way they can. The temptation, therefore, to choose a free data storage solution can be quite strong. Companies now exist that offer free storage server software, but there are several compelling reasons why enterprises are actually better off opting for a managed programs approach to server functions.
The most glaring problem with all free software solutions is that technical support is usually limited or non-existent. The old adage that "you get what you pay for" is very apt in this situation. All servers require that certain maintenance tasks such as patch management and troubleshooting be performed on an ongoing basis. "Free" software can end up costing significant amounts in the form of technical support purchased from an IT services consultant. This is money better spent on implementing a proper managed programs model to begin with.
File Systems Conflicts
Another problem endemic to many "free" storage solutions is that a limited range of file systems are supported. While the supported systems may meet your needs today, enterprises should always keep scalability and future needs in mind. A purchased server storage system is far more likely to work with advanced products such as Citrix and VMware than is a system available without cost.
This only makes sense. It takes time and money to develop and certify interoperability of software systems. Companies that release their products for free lack the resources to stay up to date.