Network Storage Tips

Small Business NAS Recommendation

We received an inquiry from a reader regarding a Small Business NAS Recommendation.

Here it is:

I want to move our company off of a really poorly configured server that we simply don’t use as a server anymore. I simply would like to store files using a few shares between a few computers.

The one issue I have would be using the NAS in a multiple subnet network. We have 4 remote offices all using a different subnet 192.168.1.x to 192.168.5.x. Will this be a problem for a NAS as we can ping and print anywhere?

What is the best poduct for our needs. Thanks in advance.

Here is our response:

If you can ping and print anywhere then the subnets is not an issue. Bandwidth, however, can be an issue if the files are very large.

Without knowing anything else I can only give you general guidance on a new NAS. ReadyNAS is one of our favorites because they have good quality, good support and pricing that is not extreme (QNAP, for instance, has more features – that you probably wouldn’t use, but is much higher price), less pricey NAS units usually come with more problems. ReadyNAS have a decent warranty also.

For business I like to recommend a business class product, but that does come with a higher price than just buying a consumer unit like many businesses do – and often regret later.

For a 4 drive NAS that allows you RAID5 capability, the ReadyNAS Pro 4 is an excellent unit. If you want more storage, expandability, or want the dual-redundancy of RAID6 then the ReadyNAS Pro 6 would be appropriate.

Note, these are desktop units, if you are looking for a rack mount style, let me know.

The Pro 4 is what we ordinarily setup a small business with.

You can find links to the different configurations available at our full review on the ReadyNAS Pro.

Note that the Pro 4 & Pro 6 that come with hard drives in them are enterprise class hard drives with 5 year warranty and longer life expectancy which accounts for some of the higher cost than a consumer unit. You can also buy diskless and put your own disks in.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any further questions.

There are lots of Small Business NAS devices to choose from, that is for sure. Here are some of the questions you want to ask when trying to determine which NAS would be best for your business.

  • What services will the NAS perform (some NAS servers can run SQL, for instance)?
  • How many concurrent users will be accessing data on the NAS?
  • How much total storage do you need now, assuming no more than 50% utilization?
  • How much do you expect your storage to grow over the next 3 to 5 years?
  • What level of redundancy do you want? (RAID1, RAID5, RAID6)?

If you need RAID6, for instance (X-RAID2 with dual redundancy is the terminology with ReadyNAS), then you need a 6 drive bay unit with ReadyNAS but fewer with QNAP.

If you are buying disks for a diskless unit, we have various hard drive compatibility posts with links for 2TB and 3TB drives. The latest is the 2TB QNAP compatible hard drives.

We are always happy to help you determine what NAS is right for you, just use our Contact page and give us as much detail as possible.