Top 10 business NAS drives

From standalones to RAIDs to racks and scale-outs

With support for usual virtualisation standards VMware, Citrix and Hyper-V, iSCSI support for SAN use and straightforward encrypted volumes, on top of the basic back-up and network services, this is a well priced, well performing NAS for SMBs.

5. Thecus N4800

Thecus N4800 pic

Despite the low price, the Thecus N4800 is a highly competitive and capable NAS drive, as long as the volume of storage is not an issue. Despite that its four hot-swap bays can still cater for a total of 16TB.

Inside it's running a capable dual core 2.13GHz Intel Atom with 2GB of memory. It has a built-in OLED status display, HDMI output and even comes with a mini UPS for safe shutdown without power.

Even at this price it offers dual port gigabit LAN connection with load balanced and redundancy modes. Dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 is in there. Connection wise you'll find one eSATA, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. There's even a single lane PCIe slot.

The management software supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 with full volume AES 256-bit encryption. Virtualisation support for VMware and Citrix is in there, along with support for iSCSI for SAN use. Cloud support is the usual Amazon S3, Dropbox and ElephantDrive.

6. QNAP TS-469 Pro

QNAP TS 469 Pro pic

A four bay NAS that can support higher end needs, such as virtualisation standards and iSCSI for SAN.

Based around the dual core Intel Atom 2.13GHz processor with 1GB of memory, it still retains the performance to keep up with demanding business needs.

The four loackable hot swappable drive bays support the latest SATA III 6Gbps 4TB drives for a maximum 16TB of storage. External connections are two eSATA, two USB 3.0 and 5 USB 2.0 ports.

A dual port gigabit LAN connection caters for the networking and can be run in the usual redundant or load balancing modes with a suitable switch. This means speeds can reach 220Mbps with load balancing and 107MBps with standard gigabit LAN port.

Given that it offers the same comprehensive cloud, back-up, encryption and other network services as the more expensive QNAP TS-879 Pro, this four-bay model seems excellent value.

7. Synology DiskStation DS712+

Synology DiskStation DS712 pic

For the smaller end of the SMB segment or demanding home office user, the Synology DiskStation DS712+ provides a high end NAS in a tiny dual drive chassis. While there is no doubting the capability of this NAS, there is an issue around why you would opt for this dual drive model over a slightly more expensive quad model?

With the same styling as the far larger Synology DiskStation DS1812+, the pedigree of the DiskStation DS712+ shines through. Based around an 1.8GHz Intel Atom with 1GB of memory, the NAS can support a maximum internal capacity of 8TB, but can be expanded via the DX510 to seven drives and 28TB.

Despite its diminutive size it has dual port gigabit LAN connection that in load balancing mode can top 180MBps read and 105MBps write, which is not too shabby. It does lack USB 3.0 but has three USB 2.0 and a single sATA port. Most importantly it supports all the network protocols and services of its big brother, including iSCSI and visualisation with VMWare, Citrix and Hyper-V.

If you can live with RAID 0 or 1 support for the base NAS, then there's little else here to criticise.

8. Imation DataGuard T5R

Imation DataGuard T5R pic

This Imation DataGuard T5R is an interesting NAS, as alongside its five locked SATA II drive bays is a SATA RDX cartridge drive. RDX is Imation's solution to the death of tape back-up, a hard drive in a removable, rugged cartridge.

The main bays are SATA II 3Gbps with support for 4TB drives, providing a maximum of 20TB. The RDX catridges sit alongside an eSATA, two USB 3.0 and three USB 2.0 ports. The DataGuard system supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 with iSCSI for SAN deployment.