There are several ways to back up or protect your data, but if you are looking for a professional backup and restore (effective recovery is essential, otherwise a backup alone is not enough) with advanced technology, a NAS is a solution.

Your data is not always secure and needs to be protected, regardless of whether you are using a Personal computer, home network, or corporate network.

NAS allows small and medium-sized businesses to get all their data in one location, secure, and accessible from anywhere. One of the biggest advantages of a NAS is that it is multifunctional. Can be used for personal, at-home office, for small and medium enterprises (small and medium enterprises).

NAS has become very popular for home use to store your photos, videos, music, and documents in one central location and access them anytime, anywhere. For the professional environment, NAS has become a data storage asset. Based on employee credentials, the company provides access to NAS devices for backup, recovery, and access to sensitive data.

According to a research report, the Network Attached Storage (NAS) market is expected to grow at a CAGR (Complex Annual Growth Rate) of around 19.5% in the period 2021-2026.

It is estimated that more than 80% of midsize businesses use NAS for multiple storage tiers with excess capacity compared to other types of storage.

The main drivers behind the demand for NAS are the increasing need for secure data storage, easy access, increasing SOHO (Small Office or Home Office), the need for centralized data management, and more.

How exactly does Network Attached Storage (NAS) work?

NAS is a system/device consisting of hardware and software connected directly to the network. It can be connected to the router using a LAN cable.

From a hardware point of view, a NAS consists of a group of hard drives in an array used for storing data, CPU (processor) and RAM (Random Access Memory) for managing file systems, launching applications, processing media files, multiple users managing, etc.

The hardware configuration determines the speed and scalability of the NAS. From a software point of view, a NAS consists of an operating system, specifically Linux, to manage the entire NAS system.

The uniqueness of NAS is that it can be accessed by many people from various locations even through mobile devices.

NAS helps in centralizing data and optimizes storage utilization. It provides high availability of data using RAID and fault tolerance.

The data in NAS is stored in disk arrays, the data is processed using processor and RAM and the entire device is managed by the operating system. People access the data either through a mobile app or web portals.

Let’s take a look at some of the best NAS devices in the current market.

Synology DS221+ NAS

The Synology DS220+ has a very compact structure and is designed to streamline your data and provide a simple interface for accessing media files. Its RAID 1 (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) redundancy provides data protection and recovery functions in case of device failure.

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It is built into a powerful 2-core processor that not only speeds up access to intensive applications, but also improves photo indexing, read/write times, and web access. You can access your data through web applications structured across three centers – audio stations, photo and video stations.

Features

  • Performance of an application is boosted by 15%
  • The mobile app lets you access your work or home data from anywhere
  • Btrfs file system prevents data corruption and reduces maintenance costs
  • Automatic file recovery detects and recovers corrupted files without user intervention

The Synology 2 bay NAS is ideal for SOHO (Small Office and Home Office) networks. Users don’t have to worry about operating system compatibility, as this NAS supports all platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Synology DS920 NAS

The Synology 4-bay NAS DS920 features a 4-core processor that delivers 15.5% faster file indexing, 24% faster photo indexing, and 133% faster internet response. This NAS device has 4 GB of RAM which can be expanded up to 8 GB.

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It supports multiple file sharing protocols like CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP which allows anyone to centralize files or sync files on multiple devices in multiple locations.

Its intelligent security solution enables the connection of multiple IP cameras with live streaming and integration of I/O modules.

Thanks to its massive memory size and 2.7 GHz processor speed, users can transcode 4K H.265 / H.264 video up to 1080p and stream it to HD TVs, digital media players, mobile phones, and computers.

Features

  • There are two built-in SSD slots for SSD drives which increases the system input/output and 20 times faster application performance
  • Scalability: Supports up to 9 HDDs with DX517. expansion module
  • Multiple backup versions can be stored with block-level incremental backups and cross-deduplication
  • A complete surveillance solution for recording, monitoring, and management

If you’re looking for data backup and security for small and medium-sized businesses, then the Synology 4-bay DS920 NAS is the best choice. Even companies looking for scalability can plug in an external Synology DX517 for ever-growing volumes of data.

WD My Cloud Home

The WD My Cloud Home is an easy-to-use personal cloud storage device. It is easily connected to a wifi network via a router. It can be accessed anywhere without paying the subscription fee.

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All your smartphone data like pictures, videos can be set to backup and sync automatically and even data from your desktop, laptop, or cloud can be backed up wirelessly.

You can connect your external data drives like HDD or USB flash drives to quickly import and export data.

Features

  • Centralized storage for all files and search feature with date and time
  • Access, upload, and share photos, videos, and files from anywhere using the My Cloud Home app.
  • It is compatible with both MAC and Windows as well as IOS and Android devices
  • Its inbuilt software allows to setup backup and syncing with ease

This WD 4TB Personal Cloud is suitable for home or personal use.  Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to use.

WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra

The WD My Cloud EX2 is a high-performance NAS with multiple RAID options for data backup and protection. It comes with RAID 0 for increased performance, RAID 1 for data mirroring, and JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks) for non-RAID configurations.

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To ensure smooth streaming and high performance, it is integrated with a 1.3 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of DDR RAM. It comes with the My Cloud OS 5 mobile app, which allows you to store, access, and stream your content anywhere.

Features

  • Automatically sync files across all your computers
  • Volume Encryption: 256 AES Volume Encryption to protect your files across the network.
  • Full backup: Acronis True Image backs up the operating system, applications, settings, and individual files.
  • Support for third-party apps: Plex, Dropbox, WordPress, and more.

It can be used at the home office and also at mid-level organizations for backup with the data redundancy option. Data protection is based on AI that protects against ransomware and malware attacks.

QNAP 4 Bay TS-451D2

The QNAP 4Bay TS-451D2 NAS offers plenty of storage space for both home and small business use. Users can save, share and archive files.

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Business users or small organizations can connect locally or remotely for seamless access to work files as it features a 2.0 GHz dual-core processor that can be scaled up to 2.9 GHz.

Home users can enjoy a high-quality multimedia experience with 4K HDMI 2.0 direct streaming and output. Third-party cloud storage integrations allow you to connect your existing cloud storage.

Features

  • Host virtual machines and containers to run various applications
  • The private cloud that supports account protection, IP blocking, verification, and two-step encryption
  • QuDedup technology eliminates duplication of data before it is stored on the NAS to save storage space, bandwidth usage, and backup time.

The NAS is ideal for private home users as well as for SOHO (Small Office / Home Office) environments. Home users can use it to access multimedia content, including HDMI content, while office workers can access data on-site or remotely.

Netgear 4-Bay ReadyNAS

Netgear 4-Bay ReadyNAS offers feature-rich technology and storage with capacities up to 48 terabytes (4-device bay). It supports faster access speed up to 200MB/s read speed and 160MB/s write and also supports full HD 1080p content.

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Netgear snapshot technology tracks previous file versions for easy recovery. Unique bit red technology protects media from degradation. Automatic multi-folder backup and RAID protect data in case of device failure.

Features

  • Real-time antivirus software to protect against viruses and malware
  • Equipped with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM for better read/write operations
  • Supports SATA hard drives and SSDs (hard drives)
  • ReadyCLOUD web portal and mobile app for building a simple and secure private cloud

Despite being recommended for private usage, the rich feature list and introduction of advanced technologies like RAID, SSD support, and the BTRFS file system make it best pick small office networks.

Asustor Lockerstor 2

The two-drive bay Asustor NAS (AS6602T) from Lockerstor is an award-winning device that ranks second in Germany for 2021 according to data from CHIP magazine.

ASUSTOR is an official Adobe partner and its storage integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud for designs and projects using the award-winning Adobe ecosystem.

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This NAS features 4GB DDR4 RAM which is 30% faster than DDR3 RAM and is powered by the latest Intel Celeron Gemini Lake quad-core processor with 4MB of built-in cache for faster processing.

The hardware and software are compatible with the best virtual environments such as VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Features

  • Two 2.5 GbE ports with the ability to expand up to 5 Gbps with supported hardware
  • Easily power on and off your NAS remotely or locally with the mobile app.
  • Two M.2 NVMe SSD ports for fast caching
  • Integrated firewall and ADM protection protect your data from malicious attacks and prevent hackers from accessing your NAS.

One of the most modern NAS devices in the two-bay category. It can be used with streaming HD content for private homes and to store authorized data on a safer and faster backup NAS device for small offices.

Buffalo LinkStation 220DR

Buffalo LinkStation is a 2-drive network-connected repository that is smart, fast, and equipped with functions for private storage of audio, video, and other data files. It Comes with pre-configured NAS devices for superior RAID performance and reliability.

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It has various multimedia functions like Direct Copy, DSD (Direct Digital Stream). Direct Copy automatically transfers media files from digital devices to your LinkStation website, while DSD plays high-end audio files without losing quality.

Features

  • Integrated BitTorrent client for direct download of large files to devices without a computer
  • Backup compatibility with Windows and MAC systems via the award-winning NovaBACKUP Buffalo Edition and Time Machine for Mac systems.
  • Supported RAID levels: RAID 0, RAID 1
  • It has an 800 MHz processor and 256 MB DDR3 RAM

It has basic NAS features and average CPU and RAM clock speeds. It can be used for personal use to create a private cloud to store media files. It is not suitable for official use as its lower technical parameters can slow down the activity.

Terramaster F2-210 2-Bay

This is a powerful and affordable TerraMaster NAS and is suitable for everything from personal multimedia applications to small official data storage and protection. It is a dual-bay NAS and supports 18 terabytes of storage expandable up to 32 GB.

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It is equipped with a high-end quad-core 1.4 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM and supports read/write operations of 124 MB/s. This NAS device has multiple data backup methods RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and SINGLE, and supports protocols HTTP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, FTP, NFS, and WebDAV.

Features

  • Supports file sync with Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive
  • For Small businesses: Ability to create email servers, web servers, FTP servers, MySQL databases, CRM systems, etc.
  • Docker Hub application integration to easily create, manage, and deploy container applications for your team.
  • Supports backup from multiple devices including Windows, MAC, mobile devices, USB storage devices, file servers, and more.

Recommended for SOHO (Small Office Home Office) environments and personal use. This NAS has a number of features including expandable storage, multimedia performance, private cloud, data protection tools, remote startup applications, and easy installation.

Free Network Attached Storage (NAS)

In this section, we look at brief information about free NAS software. We looked at the NAS device above, but this FREE NAS is the only software you need to install on your own server.

TrueNAS Free Version

The TrueNAS website claims that more than 35% of Fortune 500 companies use their NAS.

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The free edition supports a single node, while there is also an enterprise edition and a data center edition.

This software can be installed on any hardware platform and any virtual data-sharing system over the network. This software offers the simplest method to create central storage space.

This free software comes with a ZFS file system that protects and backs up all your data that can be accessed and used anywhere. Small businesses and large organizations can opt for the paid version for its advanced features and scalability model.

Features
Supports encryption, replication, snapshots, data protection, file sharing, and more.

XigmaNAS

XigmaNAS supports many operating systems such as Windows, Apple, UNIX for archiving and sharing media and data files.

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Easy to install and configure, both for home use and for complex requirements in enterprise environments. It allows you to easily manage and share large amounts of data on your network.

XigmaNAS also includes many different streaming features to share your media with other devices on your network.

Features

  • Supports three software RAID 0, 1, and 5 to protect and enhance data
    iSCSI initiator: To send data to an external storage array based on iSCSI
  • RRDtool: For processing time-series data such as network bandwidth, temperature, or CPU load
  • Network Bandwidth Meter (iPerf3): A tool to measure and adjust network performance
  • VirtualBox with WebSocket VNC server – serves the same purpose as Remote Desktop Protocol server.

Openfiler Free NAS

Openfiler is a NAS software system that provides file-based network storage.  It is based on CentOS Linux and is free software licensed under the GNU GPLv2.

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With Openfiler NAS, you can efficiently use system resources and storage capacity on a network across multiple platforms.

It supports both software and hardware RAID with monitoring and alerting tools. It can be installed on bare metal or virtualization platforms.

Features

  • iSCSI virtualization targets
  • Powerful web-based management
  • Scalable up to 60TB+ and volume support
  • Remote block-level replication

How to select the NAS for your network?

Every electronic device has technical indicators or parameters that must be considered before buying and this is totally usage-based and the same applies to NAS devices. This equation of technical parameters directly affects the price of NAS devices.

If you plan to use the NAS for personal or home use, you may prefer a lower configuration, and if you need large storage and higher protection then move to a higher configuration.

Here are the main points to consider before choosing the best NAS.

  • Speed and Performance: The higher the CPU and RAM, the higher the speed and performance of the NAS. Small and medium businesses prefer higher core processors and RAM expansion for scalability reasons.
  • Storage capacity: NAS with 1 or 2 bay devices is sufficient for home or personal use. Small or medium businesses can choose from 3 to 5 device compartments and even an additional device compartment for future expansion.
  • Data Protection (Protection): This function is very important for organizations that want to protect their sensitive data. A NAS with RAID functionality would make sense for this. Even firewalls or prevention from cyber threats and malware attacks will also do.
  • Remote access: Easy-to-use mobile apps or web access are essential for easy backup, sharing, and restoration that can be accessed from anywhere. This function is available on all types of NAS today.
  • Others: You can buy a NAS with or without an HDD. If you want to select your own device, you can select a diskless device, but you will need to configure it. NAS with HDD comes pre-configured and ready to use.
  • Cloud integration is also another feature if you want to transfer your data to your private or public cloud.
  • USB port: Make sure you get a USB 3.0 port as it is much faster than USB 2.0.

Conclusion 👨‍🏫

If you have personal data or an official, then protection and backup are must-haves. The backup and restore process should be a simple one and made possible with a user-friendly NAS interface.

NAS provides versatile backup and protection methods. If you are looking for personal or home use NAS then you can pick Synology 2 Bay NAS DS220, WD 4TB My Cloud, Asustor LOCKERSTOR 2, TERRAMASTER F2-210 2 and if you are looking for large storage, redundancy then you can go for Synology 4 bay NAS DS920, QNAP 4 Bay, Netgear 4-Bay ReadyNAS storage, etc.