How to buy NAS systems for any organization

Last updated:January 2016

Editor's note

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.

1Enterprise 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.

2NAS 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.

3What 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.

4Enterprise 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.