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Test of NAS boxes shows ioSafe as disaster proof

Five NAS appliances for all your small business storage needs

By Eric Geier, Network World
May 28, 2013 06:04 AM ET

Network World - We tested five Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances, ranging from 4T to 18TB in capacity and targeted for small offices and businesses with up to 20 to 25 users. All are more-or-less in the same price range: about $700 to $2,000 with drives.

Our participants were: D-Link’s Share Center Pro, Western Digital Sentinal DX4000, Thecus N4800Eco, Ctera C200 and ioSafe N2.

All of the units provide basic NAS functionality. They support RAID drive configurations and offer iSCSI support. They all provide local accounts and directory authentication for controlling user access. They support the popular file sharing protocols: CIFS (Windows), NFS (Unix/Linux), AFP (Mac), FTP, and offer at least basic remote web access.

The best NAS for your business depends upon the capacity you need and what you want to do with it. For instance, if data safety is the No.1 priority you’d want to opt in for the disaster proof ioSafe N2 unit, which also offers many more server and network functions over the traditional NAS feature-set.

If you don’t require a lot of disk space and would like easy clientless backup and could use some cloud and collaboration functionality, consider the CTERA C200. (Watch a slideshow version of this test.)

If you require high capacity, consider the Western Digital (4-bay 4T to 12 TB), Thecus (4-bay up to 16TB), and D-Link (4-bay 12TB or 6-bay 18TB) units. All are in similar price ranges with some notable feature differences: Western Digital uses the Windows Storage Server OS and Thecus offers video and audio outputs, while D-Link doesn’t offer as many bells and whistles.

NAS

Here are the individual reviews:

D-Link ShareCenter Pro 1250

The D-Link ShareCenter Pro 1250, part of the S-Series Network Storage line, offers a 4-bay unit with a 12TB capacity and a 6-bay unit with 18TB capacity, both shipped empty for you to add your own compatible hard drives.

We tested the four drive bay unit; model number DNS-1250-04. Online prices range from as low as $700 for four-bay unit and $900 for the six-bay unit. Both come with a five-year warranty with online and phone support from D-Link.

Both D-Link units are loaded with an Intel Atom D525 1.8-GHz Dual Core processor and 2GB RAM, just like the Western Digital and Thecus units. But the D-Link unit comes with a proprietary OS, designed like a typical network appliance GUI.

The four-bay unit we reviewed measures about 7½ inches high and 9½ inches deep, and the 6-bay unit is about 2½ inches taller. On the front-top is a two-line LCD screen that lets you scroll through the status details: NAS name, IP address (which you can also change), voltage readings, CPU and system temperatures, fan speed, system date and time, and firmware and BIOS version.

Below the LCD screen are the drive bays that you can unlatch and pull out the trays to mount your drives on. And on the left-side you’ll find a USB 2.0 port for connecting additional storage devices or printers, a button to initiate a backup of a connected USB drive, status and activity LED lights next to each drive bay, and a power button on the bottom.

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