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Best Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Sale
WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage – NAS – WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN
  • 1 GB memory for seamless media streaming & fast transfer speeds
  • Milestone Arcus Surveillance Software with unlimited Camera Licenses Available
  • Accommodates multiple RAID configurations


Commercial properties and large office spaces often find themselves needing to maintain an extensive database and network, while also needing to manage security concerns. The WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN was designed to accommodate these needs with state-of-the-art capacity and customization.

This NAS box has a My Cloud EX2 Ultra, with 1 GB memory which allows network users to enjoy ultra-fast transfer speeds with smooth HD streaming. It can also be set up to automatically sync files across devices, with the ability to easily share folders and files with desktop computer stations, laptops and mobile devices with wireless connectivity.

It does all this with enhanced data security features in place. This includes things like volume encryption and password protection. The WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN can also accommodate multiple RAID configurations.

This NAS box also comes with Milestone ARCUS surveillance software included in the suite of functions. This allows you to use an intuitive interface to view live feeds, as well as re-watch recorded video, and export visual data of an incident.

TerraMaster F2-210 2-Bay NAS
  • Each bay supports the HDD up to 16TB to a total of 32TB.
  • Hard drives not included but WD red hard drives or Seagate IronWolf are recommended.
  • 1 GB of RAM included, but not upgradeable.


The TerraMaster F2-210 was arguably designed for home use, though it certainly could serve a critical role in a small office that needs to manage multi-media data. It has an ARM v8 quad-core 1.4GHz CPU which gives it the ability to read and write at speeds of up to 114 MB per second.

It is compatible with 3.5″ and 2.5″ SATA HDD and also Supports Emby as well as Plex media servers. It also supports Docker, as well as Cloud Drive sync, with multiple backups, remote access and even a convenient mobile app.

This gives this NAS box the ability to network with PCs, mobile devices, smart TV, and even things like peripheral gaming consoles. At the same time, the TerraMaster F2-210 is very quiet, so you won’t have to deal with the sound of whining fans when you need to use it.

Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 (Diskless)
  • 4K video transcoding
  • Surveillance Station feature for superior site security
  • Supports multiple file-sharing protocols and synchs file data across the network


Synology has earned the reputation of being one of the stronger names in data storage and network hardware industry. The Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 has a very large overall storage capacity with features designed to give you total command of your data in a private cloud network.

It has the software and tools to maximize productivity and collaboration across all network users. It also has robust backup solutions to secure critical data and assign access to sensitive files. This NAS box supports a multitude of network file sharing protocols. This includes AFP, CIFS, NFS, FTP. Its DiskStation centralizes the data from an entire office network which lets you sync them across multiple devices, as well as secure file sharing with mobile devices for superior interactive collaboration.

The Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 also features state-of-the-art 4K Ultra HD video transcoding powered by cutting edge 64-bit quad-core processor. It can transfer data at speed up to 10-bit 4K H.265, which allows users to do things like video transcoding on the fly.

How We Picked

Data storage and server features have rapidly evolved over the course of the last decade to put things like a NAS box on the radar of small businesses, remove office workers, and commercial properties. Though there are even some units that are designed for home use. Especially for people who appreciate copious storage and management features for a rich multimedia experience.

With some NAS boxes, the characteristics clearly point to home use over professional office use. Though there are a few that reside in the grey area between the two.

We started out keeping an eye on things like CPU characteristics, read and write speeds, as well as the amount of RAM. These things help to dial in how one NAS box might shine for corporate, small business or home use. From there we also looked for other cues to further help filter and refine the search.

This included things like file syncing, the ability to transcode video efficiently, preferably at 4K resolution. At the same time, security system features and camera licenses that are included in the purchase certainly helped identify the best NAS boxes for professional use and commercial security. Many of these units also including things like cutting edge data encryption, password protection, and even physical security measures.

In a home-use NAS box, we also tried to take into account the noise level and built-in software features. Many of the Network Attached Storage devices found in homes essentially act as the beating heart of a home entertainment system. Things like quiet operation, an easy to use interface, and apps to customize how you use video, audio and even connect gaming consoles to online environments.

It’s also worth noting that there are a few units that don’t include hard drives in the initial purchase. This can be a pro or a con depending on how you intend to use the NAS box. On the bright side, they tend to have very friendly price tags, as well as the ability to choose the custom hard drive you want. These NAS boxes tend to be preferable for homes and small business, or office departments that have specific needs.

There are also some NAS boxes that only come with a small number of drives, yet they are expandable. These tend to be populated with features that appeal to small businesses and corporate environments that have an eye on future growth. They give you the ability to add new drives and other features as your business and data management needs grow.

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+

Specs:

  • Encrypted sequential performance at over 113 MB/s
  • Read and write at 112 MB/s writing
  • Dual-core Processor
  • AES-NI encryption engine
  • 2GB DDR3L memory
  • Expandable up to 6 GB
  • Btrfs file system
  • Capable of system-wide snapshots with up to 1, 024 snapshots per shared folder
  • Live transcoding of up to two concurrent H. 265/H. 264 4K video streaming
  • Two camera licenses are installed by default
  • Additional licenses can be purchased (CLP1, CLP4, or CLP8)

The Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+ features a dual-core CPU with Synology DiskStation, which is designed for small businesses that need as effective data storage and duplication solution. Yet it could also fit in nicely for a home that needs an effective solution for processing-intensive workloads. The Synology DS218+ uses the Btrfs file system, for the kind of advanced storage technology to meet the management needs of small businesses.

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+

Especially someone who has a hobby or vocation in visual media, as it also has 4K Ultra HD video transcoding. The Synology DS218 DiskStation’s real-time H.265/H.264 4K video transcoding makes for a hassle-free experience for managing and archiving high-quality video playback across multiple network devices.

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+

This NAS box offers comprehensive support for network file sharing protocols. This includes AFP, CIFS, NFS, FTP, just to name a few. The Synology DS218 DiskStation allows an entire office network to centralize files as well as collaborate seamlessly on projects.

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+ back

The Synology DS218 includes a Surveillance Station which provides intelligent monitoring and video management tools including the ability to manage multiple IP cameras via live streaming, as well as integration of I/O modules.

This NAS box also includes the “Synology Package Center” which is a suite of over 90 apps that you can employ to use your Synology NAS DS218 as an all-in-one server, with other special functionality such as cloud syncing host, or a multimedia hub.

What We Liked

The live transcoding of up to two concurrent H. 265/H. 264 4K makes for efficient video streaming and processing. At the same time, the Synology Package Center suite of apps makes customization easy, and the intuitive interface even helps employees recover any accidentally lost data, without having to turn to the IT staff.

You also have to appreciate the Surveillance Station functionality. Depending on the specifics of your building, this could be a major money-saving option. Especially for safeguarding a commercial property, with high-value tech on site.

Overall

This is a well designed NAS box with the expandability to grow with your business. All at what most would call a very reasonable price point. Just bear in mind that these upgrades are an additional cost. Still, the intuitive interface will save manhours for your IT staff, which will help any expansions pay for themselves.

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+

  • Surveillance Station functionality
  • Synology Package Center with over 90 apps for customization
  • Live transcoding of up to H. 265/H. 264 4K

WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage – NAS – WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN

WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage - NAS - WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN

Specs:

  • Come with 8 TB
  • 1.3 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB memory
  • Milestone Arcus Surveillance Software
  • Unlimited Camera Licenses Available
  • Accommodates multiple RAID configurations
  • Automatic backup options
  • Automatic file syncing
  • Enhanced data security features

Businesses and commercial properties often find themselves tasked with needing to maintain a vast data network, while also having to juggle internal as well as external security concerns. Just a few decades ago these things were seen as apples and oranges.

WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage

The WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN was designed to help users organize their media collection in a single NAS box and then access it from anywhere. All with enhanced data security features in place. This includes things like volume encryption and password protection.

WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage back

Its My Cloud EX2 Ultra, with 1 GB memory allows network users to enjoy ultra-fast transfer speeds with smooth HD streaming. It’s also set up to automatically sync files across devices, with the ability to easily share folders and files with desktop computer stations, laptops with wireless connectivity, and even mobile devices. It also comes with multiple, customizable backup options that you can tailor to your network’s needs.

WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage in box

The WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN also comes with Milestone ARCUS surveillance software with an easy-to-use interface. It allows you to easily view live feeds, and re-watch recorded video, as well as export visual data of an incident. It also comes with a free Milestone Mobile app which lets you access the video from your smartphone, PC, smartphone or another wireless device.

What We Liked

The ability to handle multiple RAID configurations and the enhanced data security, with 1 GB of ultra-fast memory lets you truly customize this NAS box to your network. The fact that it includes the Milestone ARCUS surveillance software with a free mobile app also lets you multi-task the WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN for site security, and seamless interaction. Including the ability to quickly transfer images of an incident to law enforcement.

Overall

The overall versatility of the WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN lets you customize it to your site. The thoughtfully designed Milestone ARCUS is also a nice touch that makes it more beneficial for a commercial property. While this particular iteration comes with 8 TB, it is expandable and available with up to 20 TB

Sale
WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage – NAS – WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN

  • 1 GB memory for seamless media streaming & fast transfer speeds
  • Milestone Arcus Surveillance Software with unlimited Camera Licenses Available
  • Accommodates multiple RAID configurations

BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN Desktop 4 TB NAS With Hard Drives Included

BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN Desktop 4 TB NAS With Hard Drives Included

Specs:

  • Built with a durable, robust metal chassis
  • 2 bays with hard drives included
  • Expandable to 8 TB
  • Come with RAID pre-configured
  • Compatible with Dropbox, Dropbox Business, Amazon S3, and Microsoft Azure
  • iSCSI backup target and Rsync Backup
  • Optimized for 10 – 30 concurrent users
  • Anti-theft features with Boot Authentication
  • State-of-the-art 256 AES bit encryption
  • Remote access to cloud backup

The BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN to service small to medium-size business environments. It comes with RAID pre-configured with an interface that’s intuitive enough that the average network user can navigate most of the base functions, without needing to recruit excessive IT support.

BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN with open drive

This particular iteration has two bays with the hard drives included in the initial purchase. All encased by a very durable and robust metal chassis. There is also a suite of anti-theft measures to prevent someone from physically taking the NAS box in hopes of accessing the information. This includes things like a boot authentication tool, advanced password protection, and failover data encryption.

BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN with open drive

The data stored in the drives is further protected with state-of-the-art AES 265 encryption with other special features like anti-virus protection. The interface also includes access controls for determining which network users have access to which volumes or files.

BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN back

This is a handy feature for protecting proprietary information that needs to only be shared at the executive level or by in-house specialists.

Buffalo also backs this NAS box with a three-year warranty.

What We Liked

The BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN’s anti-theft features like the boot authentication tool and advanced password protection. Along with the AES 256-bit encryption, it ensures that even if the NAS box is physically stolen that access to sensitive data is nearly impossible to access by an unauthorized network user.

Overall

This NAS box is truly catered to small to mid-size businesses. It doesn’t specifically have security system features built-in but could certainly be customized to do so. The fact that it’s optimized for 10 to 30 concurrent users, means it’s not ideal for a large site, expansive data center, or commercial property.

Sale
BUFFALO TeraStation 3210DN Desktop 4 TB NAS With Hard Drives Included

  • Anti-theft features built-in including a boot authentication tool
  • 2 bays with hard drives included
  • Backed by a three-year warranty

QNAP TS-451+-2G-US 4-Bay NAS

QNAP TS-451+-2G-US 4-Bay NAS

Specs:

  • Intel Celeron Quad-Core 2. 0 GHz
  • 2GB DDR3L RAM up to a maximum of 8 GB
  • SATA 6Gb/s, 2 Giga LAN
  • Media transcoding
  • Virtualization station
  • Surveillance station
  • Multimedia files streamed via DLNA, Airplay, Chromecast and Bluetooth
  • Multi-zone multimedia control
  • scale up to 12 drives with QNAP UX-800P expansion enclosures

The QNAP TS-451+-2G-US is powered by a 64-bit Intel Celeron quad-core 2.0GHz processor. It also has 2 GB of energy-efficient DDR3L RAM, which can be upgraded up to 8 GB. It also has dual gigabit LAN ports.

QNAP TS-451+-2G-US 4-Bay NAS

It’s also capable of automatically increasing the processor’s rate from 2.0 GHz to 2.42 GHz for tasks that are more CPU-intensive.

QNAP TS-451+-2G-US 4-Bay NAS

This particular NAS box also supports state-of-the-art AES 256-bit volume, as well as folder encryption with a staggeringly fast transfer, speeds up to 205 MB/s.

QNAP TS-451+-2G-US 4-Bay NAS back

The media transcoding can stream HD videos on-the-fly or offline. There’s also an HDMI port and LAN connections available. It includes its own Virtualization Station and surveillance station.

What We Liked

The QNAP TS-451+-2G-US’s ability to run multiple platform applications including windows, Linux, UNIX, and even Android-based virtual machines via the virtualization station makes it versatile for all network users. Especially those who need to work with or export high-quality video. The fact that you can boost the processor rate from 2.0 GHz to 2.42 GHz is also a nice touch.

Overall

This is a well-designed NAS box designed for medium to small businesses or for a modest multi-media company that needs to stream video and transfer files. Especially for those users who operate on different platforms and devices, who need to share files with other network users.

QNAP TS-451+-2G-US 4-Bay NAS

  • Multimedia files streamed via DLNA, Airplay, Chromecast and Bluetooth
  • Processor rate can be boosted from 2.0 GHz to 2.42 GHz
  • 2 GB of DDR3L RAM, upgradable to 8 GB.

TerraMaster F2-210 2-Bay NAS

TerraMaster F2-210 2-Bay NAS

Specs:

  • ARM v8 quad-core 1.4GHz CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Read and write speeds of more than 114 MB/s
  • Supports Emby and Plex media servers
  • Supports Docker, Cloud drive sync
  • Compatible with 3.5″ and 2.5″ SATA HDD
  • Each bay supports the HDD up to 16TB to a total of 32TB

The TerraMaster F2-210 NAS box was designed largely for home use, small office use, or home entertainment. It has an ARM v8 quad-core 1.4GHz CPU and can read and write at speeds up to 114 MB per second.

TerraMaster F2-210 2-Bay NAS

It is compatible with 3.5″ and 2.5″ SATA HDD and Supports Emby as well as Plex media servers. It was designed to always be ready to handle on-demand streaming from a PC, mobile device, smart TV, or even a peripheral gaming console. The TerraMaster F2-210 was engineered for very quiet operation, which lets your audio system shine through.

The TerraMaster F2-210 also supports Docker, as well as Cloud Drive sync, with multiple backups, remote access, and even a convenient mobile app.

What We Liked

Even though this NAS box doesn’t come with hard drives installed, it gives you the chance to customize it to your needs. Which is great for gamers, game testers, as well as homes and organizations that want a rich multimedia experience.
The Cloud backup is also a nice touch, and depending on how you want to use it, you can still access your favorite media files when you are physically away from the network. At the same time, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of the Btrf file system with snapshot features.

Overall

A unit that has this incredibly low of a price point usually comes with a few minor complaints. The 1 GB of RAM is not upgradeable, so if this pushes your acceptable limits, you might want to keep looking. The fact that it also comes without the hard drives installed can be a little bit of a double-edged sword depending on your personal preferences.

Ultimately, this isn’t the ideal NAS box for a corporate setting. Yet it can shine when configured to your home’s multi-media network. It could also be a good choice for an art department.

TerraMaster F2-210 2-Bay NAS

  • Each bay supports the HDD up to 16TB to a total of 32TB.
  • Hard drives not included but WD red hard drives or Seagate IronWolf are recommended.
  • 1 GB of RAM included, but not upgradeable.

Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 (Diskless)

Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 (Diskless)

Specs:

  • Quad-core 1.4 GHz
  • Over 226 MB per second sequential reading
  • 170 MB per second writing
  • 4K video transcoding
  • 2GB DDR4 memory
  • 40TB raw single volume capacity
  • Dual 1 GbE LAN ports
  • Easy network access via mobile apps
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Operating Temperature from 40 to 104-degrees Fahrenheit

Synology is one of the strongest names in data storage and network hardware. Their DS418 offers an enormous amount of storage capacity with the ability to maintain total command of your data in a private cloud network.

Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 (Diskless)

The Synology DS418 has the features, software, and tools to help boost work productivity for network users via enhanced collaboration tools. At the same time, it has robust backup solutions that help you to maintain secure control over critical data.

Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 (Diskless)

You also can’t look past the 4K Ultra HD video transcoding which is powered by cutting edge 64-bit quad-core processor. This allows it to transfer data at speed up to 10-bit 4K H.265, as well as enabling video transcoding on the fly.

The Synology DS418 supports a wide range of network file sharing protocols. This includes AFP, CIFS, NFS, FTP, just to name a few. Their proprietary DiskStation centralizes the data from an entire office network which lets you sync them across multiple devices, as well as secure file sharing with mobile devices for superior interactive collaboration.

The Synology DS418 can also provide you with state-of-the-art site security solutions via their Surveillance Station. It’s engineered for intelligent monitoring with video management tools including the ability to manage multiple IP cameras with active live streaming, as well as the integration of I/O modules.

What We Liked

The ability to use this NAS box to produce a private, secure cloud with file synching for all network users certainly makes the Synology DS418 a great option for office spaces where multiple individuals need to collaborate on a single project.

The 4K video transcoding also represents the cutting edge or multimedia file sharing, streaming, and resolution. Not to mention the Surveillance Stations’ ability to help with physical site security.

Overall

The Synology DS418’s file sharing and synching features make it a great fit for office spaces that need to produce creative media such as an ad agency. Though it works just as well in any business environment where accurate, up-to-date file sharing plays a vital role in operations.

Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418 (Diskless)

  • 4K video transcoding
  • Surveillance Station feature for superior site security
  • Supports multiple file-sharing protocols and synchs file data across the network

Asustor AS1002T v2 | Network Attached Storage + Free exFAT License

 Asustor AS1002T v2

Specs:

  • 1.6GHz Dual-Core processor
  • 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • 109 MB per second read
  • 108 MB per second write speed
  • 4 free IP camera licenses
  • Asustor Backup Plan
  • Asustor EZ-Connect for mobile access
  • File syncing in real-time for private cloud space
  • Over 200 free unique apps for customized use
  • 3-year warranty

The Asustor AS10 Version-2 represents an upgraded version of their NAS box. This iteration has a new dual-core 1.6 GHz CPU, that has been optimized for performance. It has a read speed of 110 MB per second with a write speed capable of exceeding 98 MB per second. System performance is also boosted by an ADM OS, app. It was also designed for superior speed during photo album browsing, file uploading and downloading.

Asustor AS1002T v2

The Asustor AS210 Version-2 NAS box provides multi-user network access and seamless cross-platform connection. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac OS X or Unix-like operating systems, as well as wireless devices such as smartphones. notebooks, or tablets.

Asustor AS1002T v2 back

Asustor also offers a proprietary “LooksGood” database software capable of 1080p. It’s designed to let you quickly browse through all your multimedia content for a truly dedicated multimedia database. This feature also allows you to do things like schedule digital TV recordings and manage them efficiently. It’s paired with Asustor’s “Use Aivideos” software which allows you to browse through the video collection without having to wait for a download to complete!

What We Liked

The 4 included camera licenses are a nice touch, especially if you want to multitask this NAS box for something like an office or home security. The entertainment programming features are also handy for homes that want to use the Asustor as the beating heart of a home theater set up.

Overall

As a value-priced NAS box, there are a few minor complaints that lean this NAS box strongly toward home or small office use, as opposed to large scale corporate data management. The 512MB DDR3 RAM is not expandable, and the 1080p resolution is still a solid step below 4K video transcoding.

When you think of it in the vein of a home multi-media server and data storage system, its characteristics start to shine. This includes features for managing and transferring data, including images and music. When paired with a high-quality home theatre and the audio system it lets you keep all your cherished images, video and audio at your fingertips.

Asustor AS1002T v2 | Network Attached Storage + Free exFAT License

  • Over 200 customizable apps including, cloud backup, anti-virus, media server, video streaming
  • Designed for home multimedia use
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

Buyers Guide

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage which is a file-level storage architecture that makes it easy and convenient for users to access data that is stored on devices connected throughout that network. It provides users with things like built-in security, data transfer protocols, and things like tolerance capabilities, all via lightweight operating system software.

A NAS Box has several benefits including a scale-out capacity that allows you to add more drives without having to shut the network down. It also removes the responsibility of file serving from the devices connected to the network, which essentially helps boost overall network performance. It can also be set up to handle file redundancy with fault tolerances to ensure data integrity.

It does all this with an easy to use interface, and simple setup procedures, while allowing access to all authorized network users. When shopping for a NAS box there are a few things you might want to keep an eye out for.

The Number Of Drive Bays

The more drives you can install in a NAS box the more overall data storage capacity it will have. Just bear in mind that a DAS box that is set up in a RAID configuration will have a redundancy drive paired with every storage drive. If you set the NAS box up in a RAID 5 configuration the redundancy will come from recording parity information rather than from mirroring.

Ethernet Connections

Most NAS boxes use Gigabit Ethernet connections which are theoretically capable of data transfer speeds of up to one gigabit per second. However, there are some high-end units that are capable of an impressive 10 Gigabit Ethernet connection.

This represents the cutting edge in the next wave of data transfer speeds and might not necessarily be something that you need right now. It’s also worth noting that there are some NAS boxes that NAS can be set up to include PCIe expansion card slots which can be used to upgrade ethernet connection speed.

You should also take note of the number of ethernet ports that are available. A NAS box that has two or more ethernet ports might also be capable of link aggregation. Also known as Link Aggregation Control Protocol or LACP it allows the NAS box to balance the data between multiple Ethernet ports to improve network performance across multiple computers or other network devices.

CPU Brand And The Ability To Handle Encrypted Data

Of course, a NAS box is more than just a collection of hard drives. It’s essentially its own type of full-fledged computer with its own CPU. For most users, the CPU brand itself isn’t a major factor, though there are some users and IT personnel who have brand loyalties or preferences.

The CPU starts to matter more when it comes to things like viewing transcoded video or encrypting data for transfer.

RAM

Just like a personal computer the more RAM a NAS box has the more task capacity it has. This gives it the ability to handle multiple simultaneous connections while encrypting data and performing other critical network tasks.

You might find a NAS box that you like but the onboard RAM it comes with might not meet your expectations. In a scenario like this, you want to look for a unit that allows you to expand the RAM. Even if the NAS box meets your current requirements, the ability to upgrade the RAM may come in very handy in the future.

General Power Consumption

A NAS box is designed to run continuously which means it will constantly be drawing power. Even when it’s in low-power or hibernation mode. You will want to look for terms like “Maximum Continuous Power” as well as power consumption stats for idle usage. It might not seem like it’s a big deal at first, but over time a NAS box that has a high-power consumption can start to impact your utility costs.

Hardware Encryption

If data security is important to you, which it likely is, then you are also going to want to keep an eye out a NAS box that has hardware encryption features. This includes volume encryption as well as file encryption. Without them, it means the CPU will have to handle encryption, which could potentially impact overall performance.

Transcoding For Audio And Video

Hardware transcoding is especially important if your network frequently transfers a lot of audio or video files. These features efficiently convert high-resolution files to versions that will be optimized for the end-user.

RAID Level Support

A NAS box that has multiple drives will often use some type of “RAID” scheme, which stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. This essentially makes the discs appear and operate as if they were a single volume. The RAID level of support for a particular NAS can influence how it integrates with your existing or planned network.

For example, Synology Hybrid Raid or SHR and Drobo’s “Beyond RAID” offer striping as well as redundancy to maximize the total amount of potential storage. Different models might use different file systems such as ext4 and the new Btrfs, which can increase support for things like low-level data integrity monitoring and system snapshots.

Taken in a certain light these features are as much marketing terms as they are technical jargon. Yet Ext4 tends to run a little faster than Btrfs, which tends to focus more on things like data preservation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is NAS A “Cloud?”

A: Technically a NAS box is not a cloud. IT environments like a cloud is essentially an abstract pool of sharable, scalable resources that can be accessed by a large number of users across a network. However, a NAS box can be integrated to become a very effective storage feature in a cloud-based environment.

Q: How Is NAS Different From SAN Or DAS?

A: A SAN or “Storage Area Network” which splits things like hard disks, virtual storage nodes, and other large block storage volumes into smaller volumes. Each of these smaller block volumes can then be assigned their own set of specific protocols. While SAN might provide more user flexibility, it can also make the blocks more difficult to navigate. Especially if different volumes employ significantly different protocols.

In a certain light, DAS or “Direct-Attached Storage” is a forerunner of NAS data storage that is directly attached to a single device such as a computer. It doesn’t have to be connected to the network, which can potentially limit the ability to access that data from another device since each device is managed separately. The evolution to NAS means that the NAS box essentially manages the data from all connected devices which can then be accessed throughout the network.

Q: What Is SDS And Can It Be Used With NAS?

A: SDS, or “Software-Defined Storage” is essentially an independently operated type of hardware management software. This means it’s technically possible to install SDS on a NAS box to tailor it to specific functions such as clustering multiple servers.

Q: Can I Use An Old Hard Drive Or Only A NAS-Specific Hard Drive?

A: There are some NAS boxes that don’t include any hard drives in the initial purchase. While this is a money-saving way to expand into network-attached storage devices, it also means you need to add drives via another purchase.

For some individuals, there is a strong temptation to repurpose old hard drives by adding them to a new or existing NAS box. While you might be able to execute this on a technical level, there are some drawbacks. When you combine mismatched drives with different capacities or their own unique characteristics you inevitably end up with unusable disk space in your RAID configuration.

At the same time, older drivers are also more prone to faults and potential failure, which could lead to critical data loss. It’s also worth noting, that most older peripheral hard drives are not designed with features that will minimize vibration and the rigor of continuous operation. There are simply better ways to save money in your IT budget.

Conclusion

Network-attached storage devices are increasingly popular with small businesses, offices that use multiple platforms and even commercial properties with security needs. Yet the rapid evolution of data storage and management technology has also allowed things like a NAS box to land firmly on the radar of homes that use a high volume of rich multimedia.

The first step in finding the NAS box that is right for you often starts by looking at the nuts and bolts of things like storage capacity, processor speed, and connectivity. From that point, you can start refining through special features that suit your needs best.

Let’s say you have a commercial property or a business that needs physical site security. Then you will likely prioritize a unit that includes security and surveillance options, as well as streaming features, with open camera licenses included in the purchase. This allows your NAS box to handle physical security while you also take advantage of its data storage and management functions.

This is especially handy if your business has a lot of R&D on site. Especially since many of these NAS boxes also come with cutting edge data encryption and network user management features.

On the other end of the spectrum, a Creative Department in an office, or a home screening room might care little for security features. In a scenario like this, things like video transcoding, and customizable multimedia apps, with wireless connections might be high on the priority list.

The field of NAS box options on the market today is broad, and at first glance, you might feel spoiled for choice. Yet once you dial in your needs in the here-and-now as well as your need in the future, you may just find one of the units on your list is a perfect fit for your network environment.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2020-03-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API