Have you been recently introduced to the idea of NAS or “network-attached storage” or a fullfledged pitch in a business meeting recently? Confounded by what this all too geeky, all too tech savvy, and forward term?
This post will explain what NAS is and the basic considerations you should factor in when comparing different NAS solutions for your business.
What is NAS?
It is simply a storage device that is connected to your network rather than an individual computer, so that every user authorized to use the network can access the data stored in it conveniently. Plus, it also offers scalable storage solution. Meaning, that if tomorrow, your data storage needs increase, you can easily accommodate it with a network-attached storage.
NAS is like having a personal cloud in your own office
And no, you don’t need to be tech savvy to purchase one for your office. We are here to make the process extremely easy for you, guiding you through the basics of purchasing a network attached storage device. The explanation that follows is designed to be simple and easily comprehensible for everyone, irrespective of your technical skill level.
Consideration #1: The Storage Capacity
You will be using the NAS device to share multiple files with multiple users. Hence, you need to make sure that the product you are buying offers ample storage capacity to facilitate this need. When we talk about a NAS’ storage capacity, it all comes down to the number of drive bays it includes.
A NAS device could have one bay, two bays, four bays, six bays and sometimes even more. The more bays it has, the more storage capacity you will have.
For consumer grade, office home and small business owners, we would suggest that you should atleast invest in a two to four bays NAS solution. As for the customers who own a much larger enterprise, a four to six bays NAS device is the minimum requirement.
Consideration #2: The Processor and Memory
It is not only about storing terabytes of important information. A solution fit NAS device should also offer optimum processing and handling of the stored and shared information. That is where the memory and processor specifications come in.
If your business handles a heavy traffic of input-output operations, it is advisable to invest in a NAS device that comes equipped with high end processor and an installed memory that is in an upscale range. If you think the application is not too cumbersome, then a mid-range processor and memory will also do just fine, all the while being economical.
It’s just like owning a computer, where the better the processor and more the memory, the better the performance of a NAS device.
Consideration #3: A Populated Device or a Diskless Device
NAS devices are available in two options.
- You can either go for a populated device, one, which comes disk fitted.
- You can also go for a diskless device, for which you will have to buy the storage drive separately.
If you decide to go for a disk fitted option, make sure that it is economical or atleast on par with the alternative in terms of price.
If you decide to go for a diskless option, then make sure that the storage disk, that you are buying, is compatible with the specifications set out by the NAS vendor. It is often the most preferred option for customers who already own a bank of internal hard drives.
Always choose the option that offers the best price along with the quality and convenience.
Consideration #4: Connectivity Options
Here again, you will have multiple options to choose from. Some NAS devices offer Gigabit ethernet connectivity, while others offer the option of wireless connectivity.
From our experience and up to date information, NAS devices with wireless connectivity are often found to offer throughput lapses, experienced during the transfer of data bits. Whereas, a device that comes equipped with GbE ports tend to perform better in that respect. You can also link aggregate multiple ethernet ports for improved speed and increased throughput.
Consideration #5: Media Streaming Specification
Not all NAS device are built to stream media files of every type. Some NAS drives are compatible with a specific format of media file, while others are programmed to stream a different format.
As an analogy, consider running an AVI file on a standard iPhone software. Does it work? Absolutely not, until some tweaks are executed. The same is the situation with running incompatible media files with a NAS device. You will need to circumvent your way to stream some media files, that otherwise are not compatible with the device’s specification.
Therefore, it is important to review which media streams are supported by the NAS device, if you want to avoid all those software and hardware tweaks.
Consideration #6: The Remote Access Feature
If you want a user to access the content stored inside a NAS device from a remote location, then buying a NAS device equipped with remote access feature is a must. It is just like operating a Dropbox or a Google Drive, but one which offers more storage capacity, with no expended bills for the service utilization.
Remember, most but not all NAS devices currently available in the market, offer the remote access feature. Therefore, always refer the product data sheet before purchasing the product.
Consideration #7: The Security Features
Just like every data repository, a NAS device should also come equipped with advanced data security features to ensure that information is stored and accessed safely. When buying a NAS device for your office, make sure it has atleast one or a combination of following security features:
- File encryption support.
- User based authentication system of accessibility.
- Security controls that provide protection against any intruder, trying to make their way to the information stored in a NAS device.
NAS, as a storage solution, offers synced and centralized data storage that can be conveniently accessed and shared among multiple users, operating in-house and from a remote location. With an easy to deploy and scalable characteristics, NAS devices are growing in popularity and number of businesses are incorporating them with their other storage platforms. We hope this buying guide helped you in better understanding the concept of NAS taking an informed decision using the considerations we’ve discussed when buying a NAS device. For more details get in touch withNoel Network & PC Services, Inc.