I know you’ll agree with me when I say this:
Nothing hurts more than losing your data.
We’ve all been there.
Months and years worth of documents, pictures, and video vanished in thin air.
The last time it happened with me, I said to myself, never again! That is when I started looking for a NAS (Network attached storage) which can backup my data regularly.
If you work in an office or in any number of commercial business settings, having a reliable Network Attached Storage (NAS) in place can be invaluable. Network Attached Storage functions just like independent cloud storage tailor-made for your business or company. It allows you to store all your business files and e-mail correspondence on a massive local network, and it has the capacity to grow and expand to meet ever-more-demanding storage needs.
Network Attached Storage functions just like independent cloud storage tailor-made for your business or company. It allows you to store all your business files and e-mail correspondence on a massive local network, and it has the capacity to grow and expand to meet ever-more-demanding storage needs.
In many ways, a NAS device is like a computer dedicated solely to the storage, archival, retrieval and connection of all your PCs. In addition to storing mass amounts of data that can easily be shared between computers tied into your local network, advanced NAS devices are equipped with RAM memory and computer processors. Where large files or large amounts of small files need to be accessed or transferred, the processor helps to speed up the process tremendously.
NAS devices aren’t necessarily cheap. A NAS that deals with a lot of multimedia files will cost you at least $500, and that does not include the size of the hard drives, which can cost anywhere from $50-$200. Nevertheless, when compared to the recurring costs associated with a cloud drive, the savings are not insignificant.
Just how much money can you save by using relying on network attached storage?
Well, depending on the service provider, one terabyte of cloud storage costs as much as $25/month. This means that 20 TB of active cloud storage could easily cost your business $500 every month. Even though it can cost several thousand dollars to buy NAS storage and several disk drives, your investment will pay for itself in a matter of months.
If you want to streamline your business operations, network attached storage can help. This guide will provide you with the information you need to buy the right NAS for your business.
Things to Consider
Picking the right NAS can be difficult because there are a seemingly endless array of options. If you’re familiar with the needs and requirements of network attached storage, you don’t need to read this. If you’re new to the process, however, the following points will help you make an intelligent, informed decision that will benefit your business.
1. Diskless Drives
Most NAS devices feature diskless drives. This means that the network attached storage device does not come with any storage device. Some low-end models with include a small amount of memory, but these may or may not be upgradeable. This means that you willhave to purchase hard drives separately, so be sure to factor that into the cost of your NAS.
2. Processing Power
NAS are like personal computers in a lot of ways. One way they are similar is there use of dedicated CPUs, or computer processors. NAS processors are just like computer processors, but they are generally much less powerful. Because network storage does not need to run an operating system or load executable files, much less speed is required.
3. Random Access Memory
Random access memory, or RAM, is another feature NAS shares in common with PCs. RAM determines how quickly the network attached storage is able to call up, or access, data stored in the disk drives. More RAM is always useful, especially if you’re using NAS to store and transfer large files.
4. Bay Count
The bay count of an NAS refers to how many disk drives it can store. The maximum storage capacity for any network attached storage depends on two things: the number of bays and the capacity of the hard drive disks.
5. Redundant Array of Independent Disks
If you work in manufacturing or resource management, you are probably familiar with the idea of redundant systems. Redundancy provides a backup in the case of systems failure, like a generator during a power outage. Although redundancy is not always beneficial in manufacturing, redundant disks, or RAID, protects date stored on your network attached storage and speed up your system.
Every business has different storage needs, and there is no single network attached storage that will suit every situation. But if you’re looking for a powerful, high-volume network attached storage with a great processor and plenty of room for expansion, then you need the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 524X High Performance 10GbE 4-bay Diskless Network Attached Storage.
If your office or business has only moderate cloud storage needs, then you may be satisfied with the Synology DiskStation Private Cloud. The Synology DiskStation is compatible with all SATA III hard drive disks and solid state drives, and can support a disk drive of up to 8 TB.
8 TB is roughly 8 times more than a standard 1 TB HDD, offering you a massive amount of room to work with. You don’t have to install an 8 TB drive, of course. You could install a 2 TB drive or a 5 TB drive. In this case, however, you should max out your disk drive, as there are no further bays for expansion.
As this is a budget NAS, the CPU isn’t very powerful and there is only 250 MB of RAM. However, for moderate storage usage, this NAS does its job. You can easily access stored data remotely through mobile apps, and the NAS will sync up to multiple online cloud accounts if you want to back up your data with further security.
Although most businesses and commercial enterprises use Windows-based computers, there are some people who prefer Apple software and operating systems. If this is you, you may be interested in the Apple Time Capsule.
The Time Capsule is more than just network attached storage. It automatically backs up your information, and with 2 TB of storage, it can hold quite a bit. It syncs with your online cloud storage and it functions as a Wi-Fi base, making it easier to share a wireless printer or hard drive with other computers.
The Time Capsule has some limitations, however. There are no expansion ports, so you’re not going to have more than 2 TB of storage. Furthermore, it only works with Apple computers, making this useless for anyone running a Windows PC.
On the other hand, Apple Time Capsules are not expensive and they do not use diskless drives, so you could always purchase more Time Capsules and sync them together to improve your storage space. If you need to back up more than 10 TB of data, however, the Time Capsule is not your best option even with multiple units.
If you’d prefer not to purchase a diskless drive NAS, Western Digital My Cloud Personal Network Attached Storage may be a good option, especially if you work in a law firm or some other job where there aren’t a lot of computers sharing the same NAS.
Although we specifically tested the 4 TB My Cloud, it is available in 2 TB, 3 TB, 6 TB and 8 TB models, as well as single and dual drive, with options available for the dual drve up to 12 TB. Both options have Gigabit ethernet connections and USB 3.0 ports. My Cloud automatically syncs your computer and other networked computers into your personal cloud storage.
Although the dual-drive My Cloud models are somewhat more expensive, they do offer RAID 1 protection. This decreases the total overall storage, however, and larger firms and businesses will likely need an NAS with more data storage capabilities. For a smaller business, however, MY Cloud is an excellent way to obtain an inexpensive NAS system combined with a Mesh network system.
The ASUSTOR-AS1002T is a small but very affordable 2-Bay network attached storage personal cloud device. It is equipped with a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512 GB of RAM and two bays capable of holding 4 TB drives. The NAS is cross-platform compatible and will work with all PC, Apple and Android operating systems.
With two bay drives, you have the option to run your NAS RAID 0 or RAID 1. RAID 0 does not provide redundancy protection and is slower than RAID 1, but RAID 1 only provides half as much storage space, as room is needed for redundancy.
Like WD My Cloud, the ASUSTOR doesn’t provide enough storage for large multimedia transfers and large offices. But entrepreneurs and others with smaller storage needs will likely be satisfied.
The previous NAS models have all been more or less suited for home use or small commercial endeavors. In one sense, the QNAP TS-251 isn’t any different. It only features two bays, which limits your expansion to two individual disks. However, the TS-251 has significantly improved capabilities over previous models, meaning you can do a lot more with this NAS than with less expensive ones.
For one, the processor is much better and faster. Although an Intel Celeron is a low-grade computer processor, it provides more than enough power for an NAS. A dual-core CPU running at 2.41 GHz, you have the capacity for much faster data transfer and file access. The RAM is also improved over cheaper models. The TS-251 comes with 1 GB of RAM and is upgradeable to up to 8 GB of memory.
You can use the TS-251 for real time video transcoding, and if you upgrade it to 2 GB of memory, you can run it as a virtual machine, streamlining operations and improving performance. You can run the NAS on RAID 1, and it can be equipped with up to 20 TB of storage (two 10 TB drives).
The Synology DS216+II DiskStation is miles ahead of the previous Synology model on this list. Like the TS-251, the DS216+II runs on an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and is equipped with 1 GB of upgradeable memory.
Although you can use up to 10 TB drives, with this 2-bay model you will receive the best performance with two 4 GB drives. With the DS216+II you can backup all your important files across multiple clouds, transcode video up to 1080p and enjoy easy file management with specially designed software and apps. Enjoy the security of RAID 1 or forgo redundancy and take advantage of improved storage.
One of the things that I like about Western Digital is that you have a choice between diskless network attached storage or buying models that already have dedicated drives. The WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra leaves you with plenty of customization options, allowing you customized network attached storage without the hassle of setting it up yourself.
The EX2 is outfitted with a 1.3 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of memory, and can be upgraded from 4 GB to 16 TB of storage. It is easy to sink across all your computer and across My Cloud, and your storage is easy to control with the My Cloud app and software.
The NAS even comes with surveillance software that allows you to monitor security cameras and other protection software, making it easy to keep your business safe and secure. With cast amounts of storage space, you’ll have plenty of room to store recorded video files.
NETGEAR is perhaps best known for their wireless routers and modems, so it’s no surprise that they also make network attached storage devices to sync and connect all of your wireless devices to a single personal cloud database. Their ReadyNAS 212 offers 4 TB of RAID-ready storage.
ReadyNAS uses a powerful 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, comes with 2 GB of memory and is capable of reading and writing information at speeds of up to 200 and 160 MB/s, respectively. It feature dual Gigabit Ethernet connections and comes with a cloud-based user portal compatible with Windows, Apple and Android operating systems.
One of the best features of the ReasdyNAS are its up-to-five levels of data protection: RAID protection, snapshot technology, anti-virus software, bitrot protection and additional backup storage options if you connect it with the cloud.
The Synology DSDS916+ is an incredibly powerful 4-bay NAS that ships with a whopping 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. Its quad-core Intel Pentium processor is a significant improvement over the dual-core Celeron, and it boasts an encrypted reading speed of 225 MB/s.
Thanks to its four bays, you can outfit the DS916+ to run on RAID 5. RAID 5 does not employ redundancy, but uses disk parity to store information across all four drives. This dramatically increases performance speeds, but only allows for the loss of one disk without the loss of data. You can also set it up as RAID 1, which would afford you two drives worth of storage.
Whether you need massive storage for security footage, media transcoding or simple data backup, The DS916+ offers amazing performance. With up to 40 TB of storage space (4 x 10 TB), you could save thousands of dollars a year over online cloud storage.
The WD 8 TB My Cloud EX4100 Expert Series uses the same My Cloud app technology as the EX2, but offers significantly improved RAM, processing and storage space over the previous model. It is built on My Cloud technology, providing you with easy-to-use support for all your cloud and data sharing needs.
As is the case with other Western Digital My Cloud models, you can choose to upgrade the storage disks to 16 and 24 TB models. It features a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor and comes with 2 GB of RAM. It supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10, which offers similar parity performance to RAID 5 with faster read and write costs.
The EX4100 is an excellent NAS to use for security surveillance, as My Cloud supports unlimited security camera licenses. With a variety of RAID configurations available, it is a great choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes, as it provides you with a wide assortment of options for protecting and accessing your data.
The ReadyNAS 524X High Performance Network Attached Storage is a powerful NAS device with four disk bays ready to support up to 40 TB of storage space. The 524X is powered by a 2.2 GHz dual-core Intel processor and outfitted with 4 GB of the latest DDR4 RAM.
A dedicated NETGEAR app makes managing and coordinating your files easy. The 524X is capable of handling up to 80 computer connections, making it an excellent choice for large business with many employees accessing and storing data on a regular basis. The 524X has 10 Gigabit copper Ethernet ports for improved connectivity, offers five levels of data protection and provides you office with its own secure cloud that can be accessed remotely.
NETGEAR is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and Android operating systems, so no matter what device you’re using or what operating system you’re running, you can access the information you need.
If you’re looking for the ultimate network attached storage, this is it. The Synology DS1817+ features eight separate bays that can support at least 80 TB of data. Those who need more storage space can expand the NAS to a total of 18 drives and nearly 200 TB of storage space!
With 8 GB of RAM, the DS1817++ can process files at lightning speeds, and with RAID 10 is capable of reading files at a whopping 1.2 GB/s! If features 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and four USB 3.0 ports, and can be outfitted with an optional M2D17 adapter card for dual SATA SSDs. The only downside to this Nas is that the processor is a little underpowered, limiting your ability to transcode 4K video.
Nevertheless, it is a workhorse with incredible storage capacity and speed. A lot of professionals will find the beefed up abilities of the DS1817+ to be more than they need. Those who need the absolute best, however, will find a lot to like with the Synology DS1817+.
There are a lot of good reasons to invest in network attached storage. From the convenience of a personal cloud to the long-term money-saving potential, a good network attached storage device could do wonders for your business or office. We’re confident that once you have evaluated your needs, you will find an ideal NAS in this list.