There's no doubt that the cloud has become an increasingly relevant option for file storage over the past few years. However, if you don't trust your data in the hands of a third-party service, a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device might be the way to go.
Sitting somewhere between local and cloud storage, NAS devices keep your files and data in your hands. Whether for personal or business use, a NAS solution could be the right way to go for an easy way to share and back up data across a local network and beyond. However, sorting through the various features and price points can be a bit of a hassle, so we've rounded up ten of our top picks for NAS devices from the past year.
A fully capable storage solution for the small business crowd with a price to match.
With excellent performance, ample expandable storage options, and easily navigable software, the TS-470 from QNAP is definitely impressive. The device comes packed with four drive bays and four Gigabit network ports, all running on a 2.6GHz dual-core Celeron processor.
With extra features such as SSD Caching and optional web apps, along with the option to upgrade to a 10GbE card, the TS-470 offers plenty of options for users. However, those options come at a cost: about $1,180 (£700, AU$1,270). At that price point, this offering from QNAP firmly straddles the line between high-end NAS solutions and full-blown rack-mounted options.
Read: QNAP TS-470 review
Western Digital Sentinel DX4200
A full-featured solution for businesses.
The WD Sentinel DX4200 is definitely an interesting little NAS box. While the DX4200 comes in a similar size as other NAS offerings, its internals are what make it stand out. Rather than the traditional Linux setup, the DX4200 runs Windows, allowing it to seamlessly integrate Windows workgroup or Active Directory network. As a bonus, the DX4200 comes pre-loaded with four hard drives. However, that inclusion will set you back around $1,693 (£1,080, AU$2,036) for the 8TB option and $2,180 (£1,390, AU$2,620) for the 16TB option.
Our only notable qualms with the DX4200 were with the device's somewhat complex configuration software. However, with a separate boot disk (with an option of two for extra redundancy), solid build, and ample external ports, the DX4200 makes a great option for enterprise users that are willing to look past the price to add some storage to their existing Windows server setup.
Synology Embedded DataStation EDS14
A rugged, compact solution for surveillance.
The EDS14 from Synology ($275, £160, AUD$295) is definitely a unique option. The tiny EDS14 foregoes the typical drive bays for flash memory and USB-mounted external storage. However, what it lacks in drive options, it makes up for in its ability to be tucked away out of sight.
The EDS14 can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 to +50 degrees Celsius (-4 to 122 Fahrenheit), and really shines when used as a network attached storage solution for IP cameras that are tucked away in the corners of a building or bus. Building on this idea is the device's relatively low power consumption, along with Surveillance Station software. In other words, if you're looking for a convenient way to set up a network of IP cameras, the EDS14 might be your ticket.
Western Digital DL4100
Excellent backup for a wide variety of users.
If you're looking for a NAS device to help manage your backup needs, the DL4100 might be worth. taking a look at. One of the coolest features of this device is its web dashboard that offers users options for backing up to cloud services such as Dropbox and Box. Additionally, we really liked the ability to set up SMS and email alerts in case the system failed for whatever reason.
As far as storage options are concerned, the DL4100 comes with four drive bays in your choice of four configurations: $529.99 (£499, AU$689.52) for the diskless model, $849.99 (£799, AU$1105.57) for 8TB, $1,169.99 (£1099, AU$1522.17) for 16TB, and $1,529.99 (£1419, AU$1990.53) for 24TB. Aside from some annoying issues with wireless transfers, we found that the DL4100's 1.7GHz dual-core Atom processor and 2GB of RAM (configurable up to 6GB) performed admirably. Combine this with an easy setup and cloud connected web apps, and you have an interesting backup offering on your hands.
Redundancy is key with this rack-mounted storage option.
At around $2,350 (£1,500, AU$2,840), this rack-mounted NAS solution from Thecus definitely on the expensive side. However, with 10GbE, extensive redundancy, hardware-based 256-bit encryption, the N8810U-G offers plenty to like for business customers. Additionally, the unit comes with support for up to eight SAS or SATA drives, configurable in a wide variety of RAID modes, including RAID 50 and 60.
While we found the software to be a bit behind-the-times in terms of design, the N8810U-G performed well in our tests—especially with those speedy 10GbE speeds. As a bonus, if you find the RAM or CPU lacking down the road, the interior of the device is easily accessible for upgrades. As long as you keep in mind that this is a rack mount, and thus comes with the weight and size that entails, the N8810U-G is worth consideration.
Read: Thecus N8810U-G review