NAS Reviews For Home, SMB and Enterprise Network Storage
|Required Benefits for Review|
|Home NAS Reviews|
|SMB NAS Reviews|
|Enterprise NAS Reviews|
Helpful NAS Reviews can make the difference between buying a perfect Network Attached Storage device that will ensure your data is protected and accessible versus making a purchase that you regret for years to come, maybe even by losing valuable entertainment media or data files.
We will explain what features you should look for in a NAS device and how they will benefit you. Then you can view the comparison tables to determine what network storage product best suites your needs and at what price.
We have some “minimum” requirements for a NAS device to show up in our NAS reviews and certainly to be recommended here at Network Storage Tips. Some call them “features“, but we prefer “benefits“. How many times doesn’t a vendor tout a “feature” that is really of no “benefit” to us?
And while these “rules” are not set in stone we do have a great deal of experience with network attached storage and know what we want, what we want to avoid and how to accomplish that.
So here is a list of features that our NAS review devices will have, unless included for comparison. (My dad used to have some inferior merchandise on his sales floor just so he could compare the quality products he wanted to sell in a side by side fashion with what the customer would find “down the street”.)
- Reputable Manufacturer – This should go without saying but sometimes people are swayed by price, and often regret it. Our goal is to avoid regret and buyers remorse.
- Acceptable Warranty – I do not consider 1 year to be an acceptable warranty. Some products on these pages may have only 1 year, but mostly these products are reviewed here for the purpose of showing you why it is advisable to look at a different NAS solution.
Netgear ReadyNAS leads the way with a 5 year warranty on their better NAS devices, as does Seagate with their 5 year warranty on the enterprise hard drives that Netgear uses in many models and what we suggest for adding your own drives.
- Easy to use Web Interface – If you cannot get your new NAS device up and running quickly, then it’s too complicated for home use certainly, but probably for most businesses too. While almost everyone offers a web interface, some are better than others.
Other things “my daddy used to say”:
- A warranty is only as good as the company who offers it, which is probably why reputation is above warranty in the list above.
- The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is GONE! – he had this printed on the back of his business card.
Home NAS devices vary quite considerably from basic models that are little more than an external USB hard drive with a network port to some very advanced units offering every possible “feature” you can think of.
No kitchen sinks that I am aware of, but just about everything else.
For the most part, this site only deals with NAS reviews that are at least capable of RAID storage protection, a minimum of which is RAID level 1 or mirroring.
Obviously since many of these network attached storage devices we review are available in diskless NAS versions and every model can be configured (though we advise against it) as RAID0 we cannot necessarily speak of every unit in every configuration as RAID NAS.
While some office or business users will certainly end up with a non-RAID protected NAS despite our best efforts, it is more common to find that in the home NAS market. Just don’t you be one of those people who does so and winds up losing data!
The whole reason we do these NAS Reviews is so you can make and informed and wise purchase the first time.
Small and medium sized businesses (SMB) have different requirements when it comes to network storage than home users.
Due to the amount of multimedia and entertainment data in the home storage situation, an SMB storage device may actually need LESS disk space than the home.
One difference with business NAS over home NAS is security. While some home users may choose to secure their files and media with password protection, businesses certainly should and may even want to do that with a connection to a Windows Active Directory.
The primary characteristics we will look at in our SMB NAS Reviews are going to be:
- Reliability – a business usually cannot sustain NAS downtime without costing them lost revenue.
- Multi-user Performance – streaming media is not usually required, but delivering multiple files to multiple users likely is required
- Form Factor – our business NAS Reviews will always separate out Rackmount network storage from desktop units
Obviously, there are many crossover units that could do a great job for both home or office; and some NAS devices that have an equivalent unit in both desktop and rackmount form factor. We try to point that out as we go.
Additionally, few home users (although there are some) will be interested in iSCSI, where as many businesses either are or soon will be. Compatibility with server virtualization is an important factor we discuss in our NAS Reviews for business.
When it comes to Enterprise NAS Reviews we are building on the SMB issues and placing even more emphasis on server virtualization, iSCSI targets and talking about “SAN” or Storage Area Network.
Enterprise NAS devices are going to be rackmount, but that doesn’t mean an enterprise would not buy a desktop unit for a workgroup that behaves similarly to a small business. Naturally, enterprise products will include LOTS of storage capacity and typically be pretty pricey.
When trying to buy enterprise NAS without the full blown cost associated with top of the line SAN storage, there are not a lot of vendors to take seriously. In fact, Netgear’s ReadyNAS lineup is likely to be your top contender.
But new units are coming out regularly and we will do our best to post a review page as soon as we can after that happens.