Buyer's Guide

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How to buy NAS systems for any organization

This guide breaks down each level of a NAS purchasing decision, from selecting the technology that's a match for your environment, to overviews of some of the available products on the market.


Storage hardware has become increasingly sophisticated over the past few years. Of the three major types of storage, network-attached storage is most commonly used among midrange organizations. But the decision to buy NAS technology can become difficult due to the large number of products available.

With traditional file systems, NAS products are generally a more optimal way to store unstructured file-level data, such as backups or archived data, rather than structured databases. And unlike SAN devices, which are intended for high-performance environments, NAS systems rarely have their own dedicated network and typically offer lower performance through the use of iSCSI interconnects.

Most NAS vendors support a variety of features. For instance, NAS products targeted toward the SMB market often consist of no more than a network interface card, storage controller, power supply and primary storage. By contrast, higher-end enterprise NAS devices often have redundant components that can take over in the event a primary component fails.

This guide discusses what you should look for if you intend to buy NAS for either an SMB environment or enterprise. The final sections offer a head-to-head comparison of the best SMB products, as well as a detailed listing of the top enterprise NAS offerings available today.

1Do I need it?-

How to determine if NAS is the right choice

Does a NAS device fit into your organization's storage plan? NAS devices vary widely in terms of cost and capability, and are a great option for certain use cases. With this section, understand whether or not NAS will easily integrate with your current setup.


Choosing NAS for your organization

Expert Brien Posey explains how NAS differs from competing technologies, and lists NAS benefits and other factors you should consider before deciding to buy NAS. Continue Reading

2How to buy -

Enterprise feature evaluation

Once you've decided to buy NAS appliances for your organization, it's important to understand the wide range of features available. Learn what vital features you should put at the top of your evaluation list.


NAS purchase considerations

While enterprise-scale organizations often use SANs, NAS still can be a great fit. If your organization is looking to buy enterprise NAS, this article acts as a feature checklist. Continue Reading

3How to buy-

NAS for small business

NAS has become a viable storage option for small businesses. This section enumerates important technology features -- and the advantages they bring -- for SMB NAS buyers.


Features list for SMB NAS

Your organization may be small in terms of size, but you can still have a NAS product with enterprise-like features that will get you to the next level. Continue Reading

4What to buy-

What to buy for SMB

Once you decide SMB NAS is the correct choice for your environment, it's time to sift through the available products on the market.


Four NAS appliance options for SMBs

Dive into the features and benefits of four SMB NAS appliances from leading vendors. Important features to look for in a NAS device include solid-state drive support, data protection and thin provisioning. Continue Reading

5Top product overviews-

Enterprise NAS products

Once you decide to buy NAS products for the enterprise, take a look at our listing of some of the products in the market. This section provides an in-depth look at today's leading enterprise NAS solutions.


Dell PowerVault NX Series NAS

The Dell PowerVault NX series offers file- and block-level storage and comes in three models: the NX400, NX3230 and NX3330. The series does not support SSDs or other flash-based storage. Continue Reading


EMC Isilon HD400 NAS

The Isilon HD400 is designed for deep-archive storage. It uses hard disk drives and is the only product in EMC's Isilon HD-Series. Continue Reading


EMC Isilon NL400 NAS

The Isilon NL400 NAS platform is designed for near-line storage and is currently the only product in EMC's Isilon NL-Series. The array has a maximum raw capacity of 210 TB per node and has 36 total drive slots. Continue Reading


EMC Isilon S-Series NAS

The EMC Isilon S-Series lineup of midrange NAS systems consists of the Isilon S200 and Isilon S210. The series is designed for primary storage with an emphasis on performance and supports hybrid flash configurations. Continue Reading


EMC Isilon X-Series NAS

The EMC Isilon X-Series is a lineup of NAS arrays consisting of three products: the 2U X200 and X210, and the 4U X410. All three models can be scaled into clusters of up to 144 nodes and are designed for environments that need primary storage with an emphasis on high capacity. Continue Reading


EMC's VNXe3200 midrange NAS

The EMC VNXe3200 is a midrange unified storage array that supports a hybrid flash setup. It also supports EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering software suite and EMC Storage Analytics. Continue Reading


Hewlett Packard Enterprise StoreEasy 1000 Storage family

The HPE StoreEasy 1000 Storage family has four basic models: the 1450, 1550, 1650 and 1850. Formerly HP StoreEasy 1000 Storage, the series is a lineup of midrange NAS appliances that run on the Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard Edition operating system. Continue Reading


Hitachi NAS 4000 series

The Hitachi NAS platform 4000 series consists of the 4040, 4060, 4080 and 4100 models. The modular layout is unlike that of most other NAS systems and can be attached to almost any Hitachi storage system. Continue Reading


NetApp's FAS2500 series NAS

The NetApp FAS2500 has three models: the FAS2554, FAS2552 and FAS2520. All models are available with one or two controllers and are designed to fill midrange storage needs. The series also supports hybrid flash. Continue Reading


Oracle's ZFS Storage Appliance

The Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance has two products: the ZS3-2 and ZS4-4. Both have a variety of setup options and a wide range of configurations. The line is designed for mid-tier NAS environments; support includes HDDs for data, and SSDs for metadata and write acceleration. Continue Reading

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