For more than two decades, I've been involved in designing wide area networks to allow the various office locations within large companies to communicate with one another. I thought I'd seen everything. Then one day my company's CFO came to me with a troubling request. He asked me to reduce our voice and data networking costs by 40 percent.
Stories by Desmond Fuller
The six-bay Iomega StorCenter px6-300d is the largest array you can get from Iomega before you venture into rack-mount servers, and it's just the kind of box you'd expect to see in a remote office or small to medium-sized business. Considering Iomega's parent EMC is a leader in the enterprise storage market, I had high expectations for this solution.
Netgear is the leader in this segment of the NAS market, and it's easy to see why. The hardware is solidly built, and the software makes it quick and simple for almost anyone to get up and running quickly. Netgear also offers a wide variety of backup solutions to fit your needs. And while many of the competitors in this playing field are taking "everything but the kitchen sink" approaches, Netgear seems to be more clearly focused on the business customer.
The QNAP Turbo NAS became my favorite during the testing. What this unit lacks in special cloud features (see the <a href="http://www.infoworld.com/d/storage/nas-shoot-out-iomega-storcenter-px6-300d-175526">Iomega</a> and <a href="http://www.infoworld.com/d/storage/nas-shoot-out-netgear-readynas-pro-6-175759">Netgear</a> reviews), it makes up in performance and solid functionality. My feeling is that the QNAP would be best suited to a company that has a little more tech knowledge on hand, so the staff could take advantage of all that this box can do. The hardware is solid, and setup and administration are well documented and easy to manage, but with all of the functionality that this box offers, I'm not sure I'd give it to a nontechnical business user.
For many InfoWorld readers, the name Thecus will not be a familiar one. This Taiwan-based corporation has been around since 2004, and I remember when it showed off its first NAS in 2005. If you go to the Thecus website, you'll find an overwhelming number of different NAS options (about 30 at my last count). If you look at the market share numbers for NAS, Thecus is usually part of "other." This is unfortunate because these NAS boxes are little powerhouses.
I bought my first Synology NAS in 2006 -- the CS-406. The box was small, quiet, and better than the PC I was using as a do-it-myself file server. Speed was good and the product was well-designed. Much has changed in Synology products over the past six years, some for the good and some for the bad. The hardware is still solid and performance is still great, but I'm not sure I would recommend this NAS to a nontechnical business user. Other products in this class make setup and ongoing backup much easier.
The entry-level NAS market is red hot. With prices dipping below $2,000 for a versatile storage server packing 10TB of disk, there's no wonder this market segment is witnessing extremely fast growth. Unfortunately for the business customer, it's also experiencing a lot of confusion.