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Best Network Attached Storage 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated July 1, 2019
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Maurice TurnerLooking for ways to bring your network attached storage to the next level? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’m Maurice Turner. After spending over 37 hours comparing at least 24 network attached storage, I am recommending the best network attached storage of 2018

I’ll brush up on how to choose the best network attached storage and examine things like materials, quality, and weight. You see I’m an average member of the public just like you and the main reason I decided to publish a review website on network attached storage is because I was looking for one not so long ago.

Best Network Attached Storage of 2018

Below you can find 3 reviews of the best network attached storage to buy in 2018, which I have picked after the deep market research. You must have heard that the best network attached storage should allow you to save money, right? Sure, but that’s not the only reason you should consider getting one. After carefully examining the reviews and ratings of the people who have used them earlier this listicle has been made. So, what exactly would anyone want to know about network attached storage? I know most of us don’t really care much about the history and the origin, all we want to know is which of them is the best. Of course, I will spare you the history and go straight on to the best network attached storage.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Ease of use
5 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
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Awards 1
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№1 – Drobo 5N2 Gold Edition: 5-Drive Network Attached Storage

Drobo 5N2 Gold Edition: 5-Drive Network Attached Storage

Gold Edition Includes: 5 Years of premium DroboCare Warranty Service & 128GB mSATA SSD Card for Accelerator Bay
Highly scalable network storage array. 64TB file system support Gigabit Ethernet connectivity x 2. Ethernet port bonding
Holds up to 5 x 3.5” SATA HDDs or 2.5” SSD’s. Included mSATA SSD boosts access performance by up to 30%. * Units with hard drives include Seagate IronWolf Pro HDDs
We’ve been using it for 4 months and didn’t notice any flaws.

Why did this network attached storage win the first place?

I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days.


Ease of use










№2 – Buffalo LinkStation 220 4 TB 2-Drive NAS for Home

Buffalo LinkStation 220 4 TB 2-Drive NAS for Home

Create a free personal cloud: access and share your content anytime, anywhere over the Internet
Connect to your router for centralized storage and backup for PC and Mac computers
Access your content from your tablet and smartphone devices remotely
A little more expensive than other brands.
Cheap feeling construction.

Why did this network attached storage come in second place?

I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.


Ease of use










№3 – WD 2TB My Cloud Personal Network Attached Storage – NAS – WDBCTL0020HWT-NESN

WD 2TB My Cloud Personal Network Attached Storage - NAS - WDBCTL0020HWT-NESN

Centralized, whole-home storage
Mobile and remote web access, Backs up PC and Mac computers
Photo and video backup for smartphones and tablets, Operating System – Windows/Mac
Longevity is in question.
On the more expensive end of the price scale.

Why did this network attached storage take third place?

The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.


Ease of use










Network Attached Storage Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy network attached storage, right? No!

Optimise your storage

If you’re looking for the best NAS to store your essential files for your office, or even your home media library in 2018, we’re here to help. 

We’ve created this exhaustive list of the best NAS (or network attached storage) devices you can buy today, which includes our expert advice on what to look for when buying the best NAS device for your needs, so you should keep in mind your storage and feature needs when you decide to start shopping around.

We also have our very own price comparison tool for checking prices across the internet to make sure you get the best prices for the best NAS in the New Year.

If you don’t really know what a NAS is, they’re basically hard drives that are connected to your network via Ethernet, and act as shared storage between any and all devices that are connected to the same network. Some NAS devices even let you access the files stored via internet, essentially forming your own cloud storage – much like iCloud or Dropbox, only you control it.  Need more portable storage? These are the best SSDs

The best thing is you don’t need unified platforms to use them with all of their devices, they support almost any operating system you could dream of. However, as with any professional or enthusiast-level tech, finding the one you need can be challenging.

That’s why we here on the TechRadar editorial team have put together this list of the best NAS devices that we have tested and reviewed over the last year or so. And, as they’ve all earned our seal of approval, you can be confident that they’ll all perform the way you need them to.

Apps not great

WD has achieved quite considerable success with its unashamedly consumer-friendly My Cloud products, which can stream to any DLNA-compliant device and can be accessed via mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Labeled as a ‘personal cloud,’ it’s a NAS box by any other measure and starts at 2TB of storage (you can also get it in or 4TB). As it’s a one-bay unit, it can’t back itself up to a drive inside the unit, but it can back up to an external hard drive via a USB port on the back.

Does not come with hard drives installed

The QNAP TS-251A is an awesome NAS device that comes with more features than you can shake the included remote control at. You’ve got dual Ethernet ports, a HDMI out for connecting it up to a TV and beefy hardware including a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron CPU and 4GB of RAM (that can be expanded to 8GB) for hardware transcoding media files.

The QTS operating system allows you to easily install a range of apps, from Plex Media Server, file sharing apps and even a karaoke app, as well as run Ubuntu Linux for even more flexibility.

In short – this is a fantastic NAS device, though you’ll need to buy the hard drives separately, so factor that in to the overall cost.


This two-bay unit can create a mirrored backup of your stuff (duplicating your data on both drives), using RAID configuration. That’s quite an advanced feature for a consumer box and you do pay quite a lot for that capability and WD’s user-friendly presentation, including an easy-to-master, browser-based control screen.

This is a 4TB unit (6, 8, and 16TB units are also available). For extra peace of mind, you can also back the contents up to Dropbox.

Synology DiskStation DS216j Bay Desktop Network Attached Storage

USB 3.0 ports only rear-mounted

This great NAS is a two-bay device with a DLNA media server on board. As with the QNAP enclosure, there’s no storage included out of the box, and you’ll need to buy your own drives.

While this means it takes a little more time to set up, the flexibility of choosing your own drives means you’ll get the capacity and speed you need, while sticking to your budget. The DiskStation software will also sync with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and others, as well as different DiskStations.

The Whats & Whys of NAS

First off: What is a network attached storage, or NAS, device? In its simplest form, it’s a hard drive or hard drives in a box, connected to your router. Inside the chassis is a small motherboard, with a CPU and some memory to control its functions, plus a power supply. That’s all there is to it—like we said, a simple concept wrapped in opaque terminology.

The main benefit of a NAS drive is that anyone who is connected to the router for his or her Internet connection, either wired or wirelessly, can access the hard drive. As a result, the NAS can act as a central, local repository for files, media, and anything else that needs to be shared by multiple folks all using the same network. Advanced features in today’s routers also let you extend that file-sharing access to people outside your local network, in essence letting you host your own “personal cloud.” (That’s a term NAS makers throw around—a lot.)

The much cheaper alternative to installing a NAS is to set up file sharing directly on an individual’s computer, then configure the settings to allow other people to connect to those files or folders. File sharing in that way presents several issues and limitations, though. First, it’s possible that either the person sharing the files or the person wanting to connect to his or her computer will not understand how to do this—setting up file sharing under Windows or macOS can be cumbersome. Second, if the person sharing the files has his or her computer powered off, then nobody can access the file content on it. Third, the entire arrangement is limited by the amount of storage space the hosting party has on his or her computer.

NAS-optimized Seagate IronWolf hard drive…

WHICH DRIVES TO USE? NAS makers that sell diskless NAS drives recommend certain drive models or families that have been tested for use with their NAS drives. This might coincide with the hard drives they actually manufacture, or not. Take a look at these drive-compatibility lists before you buy. If you already own a bank of hard drives you intend to install, you’ll want to look for such validation. If yours are not on the list, it doesn’t mean they won’t work, but if you’re buying drives new, it’s best to stick with the NAS maker’s recommendations. Most “NAS certified” hard drives have been tested to run 24/7/365, which is a bit much for regular, consumer-level drives. Seagate and Western Digital are the two drive makers that specifically offer drives meant for NAS use by homes and businesses.

The designations for these drives have changed a bit in the last year. Seagate has rolled out fresh branding for some of its bare drives, and Western Digital has simplified the “colors” that distinguish the drives in its line. The drives you’ll likely want to be using in an always-on NAS unit are the ones designated for NAS use, or for “surveillance” use, if you’ll be using your NAS as a recorder for home cameras. (Surveillance-class drives are expected to be churning constantly, recording data from networked cameras, oftentimes to a NAS device.)…and Western Digital’s equivalent, the WD Red

If you are looking at Seagate drives, the NAS-class drives are called the “IronWolf” and “IronWolf Pro” lines, while the surveillance drives (available in capacities from 1TB to 10TB) are the “SkyHawk” drive series. Straight IronWolf drives are what you’re after for outfitting a NAS drive in a home or SOHO scenario; they come in 1TB to 10TB capacities, as well. IronWolf Pro drives are rated for service in enterprise or commercial situations.

On the Western Digital side, the NAS-specific drives are the “WD Red” (at this writing, available in 2TB to 8TB sizes), with the “WD Red Pro” series meant for enterprise use. The surveillance-minded designs are the “WD Purple” drives, which come in 1TB to 8TB sizes.

EDUNDANCY OR NO? As we mentioned earlier, NAS units that have more than one drive are built to offer the option for redundancy, so in two- and four-drive configurations the extra disks can simply mirror the contents of the other drive. Example: A two-bay unit with two 4TB drives would offer only 4TB of usable storage if you leave it in mirror mode, as the other drive is “invisible,” copying all the files from the other drive in the background.

Usually, the user has the option to reconfigure the drives in order to gain the capacity of the second drive, if desired. But since the data will span both drives (if configured in striping-only mode), if either disk fails all the data will be lost, so we don’t recommend this approach. It essentially doubles the failure risk. Many NAS units also support a JBOD mode (“Just a Bunch of Disks”), which lets you address each drive as a separate drive letter and save data to discrete drives within the NAS box. This is marginally safer than just basic striping, but any data you save to a given drive is still vulnerable to the failure of that specific mechanism.

NAS OPERATING SYSTEMS. Since all NAS units use roughly similar hard drives and enclosures, what really differentiates them is the operating system that controls everything.

This OS ships with the drive, and is generally accessed via a Web browser when you set everything up. Most NAS OSs are Linux-based, and are vendor-specific. For example, Synology’s consumer/SOHO NAS units use what it calls “DiskStation Manager” (DSM), which gets periodic updates. Likewise, NAS maker Thecus employs ThecusOS, QNAP employs its own software environment (“QTS”), and so on.

USB-drive copy port on QNAP’s TS-469L.

USB PORTS. Most NAS drives have one or two USB ports that you can use to connect a printer or external storage drives, letting you add those to your network. Once they are plugged in, just like everything else on the NAS, they can be shared with all the connected users. A frequent arrangement: A NAS drive will have one USB 2.0 port that is usually used for printer sharing, and a USB 3.0 port that can be used for external storage. (USB 2.0 is much, much slower than USB 3.0, but a printer doesn’t need the fast pipe, so a USB 2.0 port is just fine.)

Some NAS units also have a “copy” button on the front panel designed to make copying the contents of an external drive, such as a flash drive, to the NAS a one-button-press affair. You just connect the drive and tap the button, and everything on the external drive is safely copied to the NAS to a pre-designated location.

REMOTE ACCESS/”PERSONAL CLOUD” FEATURES. We discussed the concept of the “personal cloud” earlier. In addition to the above sharing features, most NAS drives let you send Web links to people to allow them to access remotely certain files or folders located on your NAS, making your NAS serve like your own Dropbox or Google Drive, but with way more storage capacity—and no monthly bill. Many NAS makers tout this.

IME MACHINE SUPPORT. Got Mac users on your network? Look for this. Support for the Apple spec is almost universal across NAS drives these days, but it’s best to make it a checklist item in your buy. NAS units from Synology, QNAP, Netgear, WD, and Seagate all support it, but it’s something you should specifically look for if you’re buying any NAS, as there might be specific requirements for it to work.

Disks for NAS drives

When you choose your disks, look for ones that have been designed to work specifically with NAS boxes. NAS-optimised features include more secure construction providing more resistance to vibration, which makes a lot of sense for a drive that’s designed to be on the whole time. They also offer power management so they can adjust performance based on their temperature.

These drives also offer special features in firmware known by WD as TLER (Time-Limited Error Recovery) and by Samsung and Hitachi as command completion time limit (CCTL). This optimises the error correction for drives when they are installed in a RAID array (explained below) as is usually the case with NAS drives.

Multiple bays

You can buy single-bay NAS units, meaning it can contain one hard disk drive, but multiple-bay systems provide more flexibility.

The more bays there are, the greater the maximum capacity, but more importantly this allows drives to be combined in various ways that provide different balances of performance, capacity and protection from drive failures.

RAID support

You’ll see the term RAID (short for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, though RAID doesn’t always provide redundancy). There are various RAID ‘schemes’ (or types), including:

In general, all the drives in a RAID setup must be the same size or space will be wasted. For example, if 4TB and 6TB drives are combined, only 4TB of space will be used on the 6TB drive(s).

If you want to use different types of drives, some NAS devices support JBOD (short for Just a Bunch Of Disks), which technically isn’t RAID but can combine a variety of disks into one big volume – though there’s with no redundancy, so the failure of one drive is likely to result in the loss of all data.

Choice of drives

It’s generally a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when selecting hard drives for NAS use. Reliability is important, so don’t try to economise by installing drives that aren’t designed for this style of operation.

Some NAS devices make specific provision for solid state drives (SSDs) that are used to cache frequently used data to improve performance.

Multiple users

As a general rule, four, six and eight-bay units have faster processors and more RAM, so they are better able to cope with the demands of RAID, heavier use by more users, and software such as web servers, mail servers, content management systems and virtual machines.

Network support

The more data you need to get on and off the NAS, the more network bandwidth required. RAID and SSD configurations may be capable of delivering data faster than a single Gigabit Ethernet port can handle, so demanding users may need to consider models with multiple ports or provision for 10GbE.

PC backup

A common use for a NAS is to provide a single backup destination for multiple computers. If the NAS includes appropriate software, that’s one less thing you need to buy, providing the bundled licence covers the sufficient number of PCs.

NAS backup

The use of RAID might give you more than one copy of your data, but that doesn’t count as a backup. All it does is protect against a drive failure – it’s of no help if the unit is stolen or destroyed in a fire or flood.

Media server

NAS devices often include media server functionality. While this is primarily aimed at home users, it can be useful at work for playing promotional and other videos in public areas, or providing background music (subject to the necessary licences).

Who this is for

A network-attached storage device, or NAS, is a small always-on computer generally used for backing up computers and serving files to devices on your local network. It includes at least one but usually two (or more) hard-drive bays, a (usually) Linux-based operating system optimized for network storage, and enough CPU power and RAM to do everything it needs to do while using far less power than a repurposed old computer. Unlike a USB drive or an external hard drive, a NAS with two or more hard drives can provide data redundancy, copying the contents of one drive over to the other automatically.

A NAS is great if you have a large media library, because you can store your files in one place and stream them locally to computers, phones, tablets, speakers, or media centers throughout your house (or even outside it). The same goes for photographers storing photos, music producers archiving music files, designers stockpiling massive Photoshop files, and anyone else who needs needs to access large amounts of data from multiple computers. Most people don’t need to store thousands of raw photo files, terabytes of raw video, gigabytes of lossless digital music, or backups of their Blu-ray collection, but a NAS is a useful tool for the people who do.

You should consider a NAS if you have more than one computer at home, since you can back them all up to the NAS rather than connect an external backup drive to each computer. And if you want to protect your data and backups from theft and natural disasters, a good NAS is capable of uploading files directly to a cloud backup service, too.

A NAS is also useful if you have too much data to store in Dropbox or Google Drive, or if you don’t trust your data to cloud storage providers. When you use a NAS, your data remains in your home and does not go to the cloud unless you tell it to do so. Many NAS devices have even added photo-management tools and file-syncing services that attempt to replicate various cloud storage offerings. While those NAS tools aren’t as feature-rich as commercial services from Google, Apple, and others, they can at least provide an adequate alternative to pricey subscriptions.

How we tested

First we set up each NAS following its included install guide, if it had one. Next we looked at the Web interface’s organization and features. We tested ease of use by configuring user and group accounts, as well as file and folder access permissions. We checked to see if the NAS offered a secure cloud service for remote access so you don’t have to mess with port forwarding and static IP addresses. We also looked at Android and iOS mobile apps for accessing and administering the NAS.

The easiest way to measure real-world NAS performance, at least for what you’re going to be doing with a home NAS, is to copy files to and from the NAS and calculate the data rate. Since 2015, we’ve run read and write tests the simplest way we can: by copying files over Gigabit Ethernet and measuring the elapsed time. For this latest update we looked at four new NAS devices alongside our previous pick, the QNAP TS-25We installed 8 TB WD Red drives in each NAS, connected each model via Gigabit Ethernet to a Netgear Orbi router, and connected a desktop PC with Gigabit Ethernet to another port. We used Windows 10’s built-in Robocopy file-copying tool to read and write three datasets to each NAS: a 32 GB music folder with 6,15MPfiles, and a folder with two large files, an 8.1 GB MKV file and a 7.07 GB Linux ISO file. We ran each test nine times in each direction: three times with encryption turned off, three times with disk or folder encryption turned on, and three times with in-flight SMB encryption turned on.

To simulate drive failure, we pulled a drive from the NAS while it was running. A NAS should beep or flash an LED to alert you that something is wrong, and the interface should show a drive-failure notification. If the NAS allows you to set up SMS or email alerts, that’s even better. If a drive fails and the NAS doesn’t produce a notification, you’re at risk of data loss if the second drive also fails.

Next we replaced the pulled drive with one of equal or greater capacity. A NAS should detect a new drive and automatically re-create the mirrored array. With each device, as it rebuilt the RAID mirror, we confirmed that all data stored on the NAS was intact and accessible.

This process also allowed us to test the quality of each NAS device’s drive bays. A good NAS has drive trays or slots that make the drives easy to remove but are sturdy enough to ensure that the drives fit tightly and securely, with no chance of getting disconnected by a random bump.

We also connected a flash drive to one of the USB ports. A NAS interface should recognize a connected drive and display its make, model, and file system. It should allow transfers between the USB drive and the NAS.

All our NAS picks have some sort of energy-saving feature. We used a Kill A Watt EZ to test the power consumption on each NAS when it was performing a task (such as a file copy), when it was idle, and with its energy-saving options enabled.

Pull Quote

Power-saving features won’t work if you enable any media server functions, because the NAS needs to be available all the time.

In our tests, the DS218+’s data-protection features worked as advertised. With the DS218+ running, we pulled the drive out of the second bay and the NAS beeped at us until we acknowledged a drive-failure notification. We also received an email notification at the address we’d set up previously. Logging in to DSM, we found another notification as well as instructions for how to rebuild the drive array in the Storage Manager once we replaced it.

The front of the DS218+ features a removable plate that hides away the drive bays, as well as LED indicators for general status, network connectivity, and the status of each drive. If you’re not a fan of bright blinking lights, you can adjust the LED brightness or set it up on a schedule so the lights dim at night. The DS218+ has three USB 3.0 ports, including one on the front for copying data to and from a USB thumb drive. It also has an eSATA port so you can expand the NAS with external drives using one of Synology’s compatible expansion units. Like every NAS we considered for this guide, the DS218+ has two drive bays. Unlike other options, the drive bays are tool-less, so you don’t need a screwdriver to install a drive.

When it came to power consumption, the DS218+ performed similarly to the QNAP TS-251A and TS-231P2, consuming between 1and 2watts during file copy, slightly better than the QNAP models. This Synology NAS used about watts while in power-saving mode, compared with the QNAP models’ watts. Power-saving features won’t work if you enable any media server functions, because the NAS needs to be available all the time; you have to manually turn off media servers and a handful of other similar services, such as cloud access and the mail server, if you want the power-saving mode to work. You can also turn the DS218+ on and off according to a schedule, and it supports Wake-on-LAN and multiple fan-speed modes, the latter of which can help reduce the overall noise of the DS218+. No NAS is completely quiet, but to our ears the DS218+ was less noticeable than the QNAP TS-251A or TS-231P2.

You can add wireless capabilities to the DS218+ with a Wi-Fi dongle. This unit also supports more than 5,000 different IP cameras, has special configuration settings for uninterruptible power supplies, and supports SSDs. The DS218+ comes with a two-year warranty, and Synology offers various support options, including tutorials, email support, and browser-based text chat.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The DS218+ is brand-new, so at the moment it doesn’t have a ton of owner reviews or a big enough install base for us to root out any potential problems with the device. It is a successor to the well-reviewed and well-received DS216+II, though, and Synology has made reliable and well-liked NAS devices for years, so we don’t expect to run into any significant problems.

What to look forward to

After releasing the DS218+, Synology introduced the DS218play and DS218j. The DS218play ramps up the multimedia features of the DS218+ but ditches the front USB port and Btrfs support; it also has only 1 GB of memory and lacks an eSATA port. We don’t think it’ll compete with the DS218+, but we may look at it for a future update. The DS218j is the budget option, with a much slower AMD-based processor and less memory, so it will almost certainly not match the performance of the DS218+.

Synology’s DSM 6.update is currently in beta and will be released to the public soon. We don’t recommend running beta software on your NAS because doing so is too risky for something that’s storing all your data, but the beta does provide some insight into what the new version will add. Among other things, it will offer an improved storage dashboard, bit-rot prevention to help you avoid data corruption, and a new virtual machine manager that will allow you to host virtual machines on your NAS—this is one feature QNAP currently offers in its NAS devices that Synology doesn’t.

QNAP hasn’t announced anything upcoming, but since the TS-251A was released in 2016, we’d expect an update within the next year or so. Other NAS makers have been playing catch-up to QNAP and Synology on the operating system front, and while those other competitors are still nowhere near the usability of either—and most still have terrible customer support—they’re at least getting closer with their operating systems. If you’re curious, nearly every NAS maker offers a live demo of its operating system on its website that’s worth checking out, including Asustor, Thecus, and Zyxel.


Craig Ellison, QNAP TS-X51A Series Reviewed, SmallNetBuilder, August 30, 2016

Chris Finnamore, QNAP TS-251A, Trusted Reviews, November 4, 2016

Jon L. Jacobi, QNAP TS-251A NAS Review: More media features than you can shake a stick at, TechHive, January 26, 2017

NAS for Mac Solutions Compared

The following five NAS devices are all designed to work with Mac systems. Some go beyond basic functionality to add in Mac-specific features that users should find helpful. Models from Buffalo Americas, ioSafe, LaCie, Netgear and Seagate Business Storage are all included. In addition, Synology was invited but declined to participate in this Mac-friendly guide.

At the end of this page you’ll find a comparison chart with details on the hardware specs, security and backup features, as well as a bit of management information. We asked each vendor to tell us what makes their Mac-friendly NAS device different and good for Mac environments. Here are their answers.

What makes this device especially good for Mac environments?


Only NAS to allow remoe backup for Apple Time Machine Unlimited snapshots are especially useful with data shuch as video, photos, graphic design as files can be restores from any point in time withoit complicated version control. Easy file serving or backup in multi-platform (Mac, PC, Linux, etc.) environments.

LaCie 5big NAS Pro

The LaCie 5big and 2big NAS models are identical in terms of Mac compatibility with the only major difference being storage capacity. The 5big can scale up to 20 terabytes while the 2big maxes out at terabytes.

They both offer not only NAS support in a traditional way, but act as a gateway into true enterprise class cloud storage through the LaCie Wuala business storage service. Unlike standard Wuala storage, where files always belong to the user who does the uploading, files uploaded to the business version can be assigned to groups with the ultimate ownership belonging to the company regardless of who initially uploaded the file.

Both the 5big and 2big offer an easy-open, tool-free maintenance chassis for expanding or swapping out drives. The 5big can be configured into RAID 0, 1, 5, 5+Spare or configurations while the 2big is available in RAID 0, or JBOD.

Both units have full Mac support and file protocols and can be dropped into any Mac or hybrid network to become immediately available to all clients. The 5big NAS supports up to 50 simultaneous users while the 2big supports up to 20. There is no maximum number of non-concurrent users for either NAS.

Seagate Business Storage 4-Bay NAS

One thing that heavy NAS users may want to consider is getting the 4-Bay NAS loaded with new enterprise-class Seagate drives installed in the bays. They offer extremely fast performance and are under warranty for up to five years of continuous usage, which is very impressive for a hard-working traditional spinning disk drive.

The 4-Bay NAS offers full support for Time Machine backup and can be setup to become an iTunes server with minimal effort. Beyond just supporting Mac-friendly software, Seagate goes the extra mile with its Seagate Global Access program, which allows for remote management of the NAS through iOS devices. Figuring that an organization that is making use of a NAS to support Mac users is likely going to have more Apple products, the Global Access Program will send device health status updates and e-mail alerts to iOS devices and also works with Android. Using the mobile device, administrators can get total control over the NAS and perform tasks such as adding new users and configuring groups or other settings.

All data on the NAS, regardless of where it came from, is protected using SSL/TLS encryption. This can be set up based on different volumes, users or groups.

A built-in Universal Storage Module slot allows transfer to and from USM-compatible portable drives at speeds three times faster than USB 3.0. Those portable drives can then be taken off site for another level of backup, or can be inserted into a different NAS to create a full NAS to NAS backup system. If you are using Time Machine from a Mac desktop, that’s three full backup copies of all data when combined with the USM drive, which should be more than enough protection to allow most people to rest easy.

Backup Software

licenses of NovaBACKUP Business Essentials, providing a complete, all-in-one data protection solution for PCs, storage servers, Exchange servers and SQL databases.

Integrated Time Machine server is also included for backing up MacOS systems using Time Machine.

PC: Genie Backup Manager Pro (licenses) Mac: Intego Backup Manager Pro (licenses), PC to NAS: using client software (Time Machine, Windows Backup, etc.), NAS to DAS: scheduled, automatic, and restore, NAS to NAS: scheduled, encrypted, compressed, and automatic to local or remote NAS

Unlimited snapshots for point-in-time restoration Compatible with all major BU software Compatible w/ Apple Time Machine

BlackArmor backup software for Windows  PC’s Time Machine support for Mac computers Backup to/from USB/USM disks with programmable OneTouch button NAS-to-NAS backup with incremental or full backup Support of 3rd-party backup software 

Sohail World

Your NAS can run various web apps that will be accessible over the net. Only enable what you need and if you open a port on your router to access your NAS from the Internet, make sure you are using a strong username and password. Consider enabling any filtering or auto-blocking features your NAS offers to eliminate brute-force login attempts.

Difference between NAS and DAS

DAS or Direct attached storage is a storage device that is not connected to a network. i.e. a USB stick, hard drive, flash drive all are DAS. You must have physical access to the device for transferring data. When served over network, NAS devices could have better performance than DAS.

Difference between NAS and SAN

In both NAS and SAN or Storage Area Network, a centrelized data storage is shared between multiple devices via a network connection like LAN.In NAS, the storage is available to other computers as file-level but in SAN, the data is available as block-level, file system is handled in the client side. Most of the time, SAN uses fibre channel protocol for faster data transfer.

QNAP TS-251A 2-bay TS-251A personal cloud NAS

The QNAP is a powerful drive with Intel Celeron N3060 Dual Core 1.6GHz (up to 2.48GHz) processor and 4GB DDR3L RAM. For first time installation, it provides USB 3.0 quick access ports that quickly completes the installation. Two more transmission mode is supported by this NAS : Ethernet NAS mode and iSCSI SAN block-based mode.For back up, it uses QTS storage manager that can restore data to any point of time in case of data loss. Files can be shared between computers and smartphones using QSync synchronization manager. Even cloud sync is also available to access data from anywhere. You can take backup to any of the cloud services available like Azure, Google cloud, Box, Dropbox, Google drive, onedrive etc.

One of the cheapest way to store data.

Comes with installed backup software. This is critical as it guarantees the users against data loss.

Best at centralizing data storage in the most reliable and safe way.

Outside there in the market, there exist various Network Attached Storage. For this reason, most users find it hard to choose the best out of those available. Our 36-hour research yields the Top Best Network Attached Storage in 201Reviews.

10.WD 8TB My Cloud EX4100 Expert Series 4-Bay Network Attached Storage

Diskless vs Included HDD

A diskless model is just what it sounds like, as it doesn’t have any kind of hard disk drive included so it’s just a housing to which you can add your own storage. There are other models that include one or more HDDs.

The best option really depends on what you plan on setting up. If you need included storage, choose one with a hard drive. On the other hand, if you plan on adding your own hard drives separately, a diskless option is better.

Form Factor and Size

The form factor of a NAS system is indicated differently depending on what design you choose. Desktop options are usually measured in terms of the number of bays available. Each bay can house a single hard drive, so if you need to place three drives in your NAS, then choose one with at least three bays.

Rackmount models are measured in terms of how many shelves or units are used up by the NAS. If a NAS requires three shelves it will be described as 3U, while a smaller model that only takes one shelf is indicated as 1U. Larger models offer you more storage, but also take up more space, so make sure you have room enough for whatever model you are interested in and choose one that has enough storage for your needs.

Number of RJ-4Ports

RJ-4ports are used to connect your NAS physically to other devices such as computers or other networking hardware. This really comes down to figuring out your overall network design and choosing a NAS model that has enough ports to connect to your other hardware.

Most models have at least one or two RJ-4ports, but there are also NAS systems with three or four ports. To make sure you choose the right option, plan out your network and determine how many ports you need, then pick a NAS that works with your requirements.

Why storage is so important

When you press that shutter release button, the camera does its thing and a fraction of a second later several million bytes of data needs a new home. It’s easy to regard that mass of data as simply an image file, but with modern digital photography it’s easy to generate thousands of image files consuming terabytes of storage space. Taking a picture or shooting a video is simple but what you do next requires a bit of thought – otherwise you’ll end up with a mass of randomly stored images and a big headache finding what you need in the future.

Ease of finding the photos you need

Once you’ve built up a sizeable archive of files, finding files you need can be a major problem. Fortunately, photo image files can be keyword tagged with appropriately meaningful words that can help you to find target images quickly and easily. You can use DAM (Digital Asset Management) software to build a robust database of tagged images, although even your computer’s operating system may be able to offer a rudimentary image tagging and searching facility. Storing your images in a logical structure of folders, perhaps arranged by date or subject, can also help, although I wouldn’t recommend this instead of tagging.

Hard disk drives

Hard disks are so named because there used to be a flexible or ‘floppy’ disk alternative. An electromagnetic read/write head ‘flies’ on a cushion of air, a tiny fraction of a millimetre above a magnetic disc (called a platter) that spins at up to 10,000 RPM. In principle the faster the platter spins the faster data can be written to it and read from it. The term ‘disk’ – with a ‘k’ – is historic and comes from the term ‘diskette’ or a small disc.

The most common hard drive spin speeds are 5400 and 7200RPM. Other performance factors include the drive’s cache memory and controller circuitry. Some 5400RPM drives can perform as well as, or even better than, some 7200RPM drives. Computer magazines regularly test batches of drives from different manufacturers and these tests can be a good guide to ultimate performance as well as value for money.

You may notice the term ‘green’ being used in the model name or description for a hard drive. This means that the drive has been designed to use less power and to operate at a lower temperature than the manufacturer’s standard drives. There may be a small penalty in performance, but not always. Sometimes ‘green’ drives are audibly quieter, too.

Hard disk drives are available in many capacities and several standard form factor sizes. Laptops generally use 2.inch drives, while desktop PCs traditionally use 3.inch drives (although some compact models use the smaller 2.inch drives). There are also super-small 1.inch drives sometimes used in netbooks. Until a few years ago one-inch drives incorporated into units the same size as a compact flash cards, called Microdrives, were in common use; solid state flash memory cards have now rendered Microdrives obsolete, but larger hard drives continue to improve steadily in performance and overall capacity.

The capacity of a hard drive depends on the density at which data can be written to the drive’s platter and how many platters are contained. In 3.inch sizes capacities commonly available are 500GB, or and terabytes (TB), respectively. A terabyte is a thousand gigabytes, or a million megabytes. 4TB 3.inch drives are now available and we may see even higher capacity drives in the near future.

2TB 2.inch drives are already available, although 250, 500 and 750GB 2.inch drives are the most commonly sold at present. Don’t assume that any 2.inch drive will fit inside your laptop as a replacement, because in order to accommodate extra platters the thickness or height of the drive could be greater than the space available. The most commonly used 2.inch drives are 9.5mm high, but some are as slim as 5mm and others as large as 15mm.

Optical media

As manufacturers of hard disk drives and flash memory devices have pushed the envelope and reduced costs while steadily increasing capacities, the relevance of optical media has waned. Recordable CDs and DVDs are slow and often unreliable, as well as offering only limited capacity. With 3and 64GB memory cards now commonly available, even recordable Blu-Ray discs, which remain stubbornly expensive, are unattractive for photo storage. Optical media does remain a viable option for creating slide shows and, of course, edited video movies.


Firewire is a serial bus standard that works like a network and can operate as a chain of interconnected devices. Back when USB was just 1megabits per second Firewire was offering 400 megabit speeds, but Firewire never gained the ubiquity of USB. Later we had Firewire 800 (800 megabits/sec) but its adoption was once again far lower than USB 2.0.


Most basic hard disk drives, or bare drives, and other devices like DVD or Blu-Ray drives, connect to their hosts using SATA (Serial ATA). SATA is a high performance data bus designed to work over relatively short cables, connecting fast storage devices like hard disk drives inside a computer’s case. eSATA is a version of SATA; this enables SATA devices to be connected externally while retaining the same level of performance as internal SATA drives. Using eSATA-connected drive docking stations is a convenient way of using multiple bare hard disk drives.

Social media networks

Billions of photos are shot every day – more than at any time in the history of photography, though the number of prints made from photos is lower now than it has been for many years. Instead of printing photos they are being shown on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others, including photo-centric networks like Flickr, Image Bucket, etc. Simplifying the sharing of photos to your preferred networks can save a lot of time. Look out for photo-sharing options in desktop software and, especially, image apps for smartphones and tablets.

Processing Power

NAS are like personal computers in a lot of ways. Not only do they require dedicated hard drives, they also have dedicated CPUs, or computer processors. As you may know, quad-core is better than dual-core and 3.0 GHz is better than 2.GHz. NAS also utilize RAM (random-access memory) the way a computer does, and more RAM is always a good thing.

So let’s take a look at where we are today.

All-flash arrays such as the NetApp AFF use log-structured architectures to match the low latency performance of flash. Similarly, copy-on-write or redirect-on-write snapshot architectures that were originally developed in NAS systems are standard in flash to minimize the performance overhead and capacity impact of data protection. NetApp has also added clustering support for its ONTAP operating system to simplify manageability of files at scale.

Dell Fluid File System

Earlier this year, Dell launched version of the Fluid File System (FluidFSv5), high performance scale-out NAS designed to address the challenges of managing growth in the number and size of user files. It supports file-based workflows in specialized areas like video surveillance, media and entertainment, and scientific research. Enhancements include increased scalability with global namespace, data governance with Dell Change Auditor, PowerShell and REST API, and global namespace.


DataCore offers unified NAS/SAN with an emphasis on high-availability in compact configurations targeted at Windows environments. Just recently, it introduced a version suited for long retention file shares, cold data and archives with cloud economics. The software scales up to multiple petabytes by adding more capacity and scales out by adding more I/O processing nodes to accompany larger capacities. Deduplication and compression are built in. It may also be configured for scale-out file server, all managed from the DataCore SANsymphony software-defined storage platform. “This cheap and deep bulk storage solution appeals to organizations that prefer the security of in-house control rather than relying on public cloud services,” said Augie Gonzalez, director product marketing at DataCore Software.


Panzura Cloud Controllers are certified for Microsoft Azure as a means of enabling an end-to-end global file system (using Panzura controllers on-premises and Panzura controllers running inside Azure). This opens the door to Azure storage being used for all tiers of file storage across distributed locations, as well as the in-cloud NAS, which is integrated with the rest of the global file system. Data is secured at rest as well as in transit in between controllers and the cloud with FIPS 140-certified security and security keys. “When the data is only in the corporate datacenter, the performance of applications in the cloud suffers; when the data is in the cloud, the performance of applications in the corporate datacenter suffers,” said Barry Phillips, chief marketing officer of Panzura. “Splitting data between the two causes inefficiencies due to data integrity and versioning issues.”

OpenStack Manilla

OpenStack Manilla has racked up quite a list of active contributors from the data storage world. This includes Mirantis, NetApp, Huawei, HP, EMC, SUSE, Hitachi, Red Hat, Dell and Intel.

The Manilla shared file system service for OpenStack provides coordinated access to shared or distributed file systems. While it is primarily for OpenStack Compute file sharing, it is accessible as an independent capability for multiple vendor systems and file systems. This expands the reach of OpenStack, which was previously block or object storage focused. “Successfully using drives this dense requires a fundamental rethinking of the way that scale-out file storage uses disk drives,” said Jeff Cobb, vice president of product management at Qumulo. “With our flash-first hybrid design and sequential rebuild technology, Qumulo Core provides built-in performance acceleration while still delivering on less than one hour rebuild times regardless of file size, even with 6TB, 8TB, and now the highest density 10TB drives.”

FreeNAS Features

I like to use FreeNAS because it has lots of different features and can be customized for different environments. Best of all it’s completely free and open source!

Below are some of the features that I consider to be the most useful ones. You can find a more a more comprehensive list of features on the FreeNAS website.

Web interface – After FreeNAS is installed all of the configuration can be managed through the web interface. There is no need to have a keyboard or monitor connected to the device.

Support for several protocols – FreeNAS has support for several different protocols including CIFS (Samba), FTP, TFTP, NFS, SSH and many others.

ZFS filesystem support – ZFS is a cutting edge fully open-source filesystem. ZFS includes several great features such as data integrity protection, automatic repair, and RAID-Z.

Remote monitoring – FreeNAS has several features that allow the system to be managed and monitored remotely. Syslog support allows the NAS logs to be forwarded to a remote system.

SNMP monitoring allows performance counters and other information to be remotely polled. Email alerts can also be configured to provide additional visibility of the systems status.

Hardware Requirements for FreeNAS

FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD 8.so it supports the same hardware listed in the FreeBSD 8.compatibility list.

To build a high performance NAS using the ZFS filesystem you’re going to need a computer with a 64-bit processor and at least 6GB of ram.

If you are building a simple home performance NAS you can use the UFS filesystem which has much less requirements.

Installing FreeNAS

FreeNAS can be installed on a hard drive, memory card, or USB flash drive. I like to use a USB drive because it saves more room in the NAS for hard drives. The installation requires about 2.5GB of space so it will fit on most USB drives.

If you do install the software on a hard drive the drive must be dedicated to the operating system, this means you cannot use that drive for file storage.

Configuring an IP Address

When FreeNAS finishes booting the console setup menu can be displayed. The first thing you should do at this point is assign an IP address for the system. Once an IP address has been assigned you can access the web user interface.


Volumes can be divided further into datasets, each dataset can have different quotas assigned to them.

Datasets also allow you to apply compression to a dataset without having to compress an entire volume.

I like to create a separate dataset for each share that I plan to create. For example I created individual datasets for videos, pictures, music, etc. This allows me to control access to the shares on a much more granular level.

Volumes can be divided into data sets with individual settings.

Turning on Services

FreeNAS supports several different protocols that allow clients to access files on the NAS in many different ways.

By default all of the services are turned off, I recommend only turning on the services that you plan to use. This will preserve system resources and increase security as well.

To turn on services click on the services tab in the web gui and click on any service that you want to enable.

Individual services can be enabled or disabled through the services tab.

How It Works

A NAS is very much like a server: An external storage appliance that connects to a network. Multiple users or devices connected to the network can access the files stored in the NAS appliance. You can choose a NAS with hard drives already installed or an appliance without drives. For the latter, you can build your NAS with the drives of your choice.

Our Picks

Ideal for the home or small office, the My Cloud EXdelivers fast performances with its 51MB memory and 1.GHz processor. From the NAS, you can stream videos and photos to connected TVs and media players. As it is also compatible with iTunes, streaming your music collection is a breeze.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Network Attached Storage wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Network Attached Storage



Questions? Leave a comment below!

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