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I'm looking for a local solution to share files amongst 12 users. About 4 to 8 users will be working at the same time.

Client computers:

  • 8 computers with Windows 8/10 Professional
  • 2 computers with Windows 7 Pro
  • 2 computers with Mac OS X

Half of the computers are desktops connnected in Ethernet. The other half are laptops connected in WiFi.

The files will be stored on a true company server (Dell PowerEdge) in RAID 1, probably through an hardware SAS RAID card. The server will very probably be running Debian (or similar Linux distro). A priori, an Ethernet card with multiple RJ45 sockets can be used to increase the bandwith if necessary.

Each user must have a private folder on the server, on which it will store (or backup) its personal files. The idea is that those data can be backuped more easily than for each computer individually.

Additionally, must be one shared folder for the whole team, so that people can share documents. There is no need for subgroups of users amongst the team.

The users also want a way to access their files from their computer at home, and possibly from handheld devices as well.

For maximum comfort at the office, I would ideally if the personal folder and the shared folder to integrate directly into the file explorer. If not, an SFTP client to transfer files, like WinSCP or FreeFileSync could be used.

I'm hesitating between several protocols and solutions.

After reading on the web:

  • SMB through Samba appears me as one of the most widespread solutions in such situation, but SMB seems being a privileged vector fo exploits (Eternalblue/WannaCry) and some users seem facing difficulties setting it correctly / reliably. Performance appears decreasing with the number of users.

  • SFTP (SSH FTP) seems providing the benefits that FTP is widespread, but a drawback is having to transfer a copy of the files instead of working directly on the file stored on the server. FTP is also described as an aging protocol.

  • WebDAVs (WebDAV with https) which appears being a popular alternative to SMB, but with slower transfer rates. Appears to interesting if several users have to work on the same file.

  • OwnCloud (or equivalent personal cloud), which is using https://

I also heard about SFTPNetDrive http://www.sftpnetdrive.com/#key_features which appears me interesting as able to map a remote file system through SFTP as if it was a local drive. I see this solution equivalent to using WinSCP, since you still have to transfer the files, but more comfortable as it integrates directly into the file explorer. Not free, but their 10-Pack (or more) license appear at a reasonable price. However, would this mean setting one logical drive per user and how does such solution adapts when one more worker join the team?

The time that I will have to spend to set both the server and the clients matters, as well as the security.

  • For remote access, one benefit of SFTP over SMB seem being that you don't need to set a VPN. Hence, probably easier to configure. Also look at: superuser.com/questions/146120/… – OuzoPower Dec 18 '17 at 11:34
  • Do you need to be able to retroactively revoke access to their "personal" files? That should drive what your options are. We use a combination samba internally and "private cloud" for syncing outside of the office. Realistically, the more people that work on the shared files at the same time, the less you want a private cloud solution which duplicates files and can cause modification conflicts and more want a centralized VPN/Mapped drive solution. If they work on separate "stuff" always, you could go the syncing/private cloud route with less conflicts. Check out Resilio Sync. – Damon Dec 18 '17 at 15:30
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You can look for the Visuality Systems NQE solution. This is a commercial license product written in C.

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