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Network Storage: Three NAS Units Rounded Up

Network Storage: Three NAS Units Rounded Up
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If you're in the market for a storage upgrade, you have some important decisions to make. First off, there's the choice to build your own solution or buy one from an established vendor. If you choose the former path, know that there are tons of options, which we'll explore in a future story. Here, we'll be going down the latter path.

In this article, we're going to present three network-attached storage (NAS) devices from well-known vendors Qnap, Promise, and Co-World.

These devices are as different as their makers. This becomes increasingly evident as we start digging into their performance benchmarks and describe their overall capabilities, storage capacity, and target markets / audiences.

For Home Networks and PC Enthusiasts

Here's a list of the machines we examine in this story:

* The Promise NS2300N
* The Qnap TS-509Pro
* The Co-World ShareDisk Pro 400

Each of these machine aims at a different target market and offers different capabilities and special features. Case in point: the Promise NS2300N has been designed for the home-user market. It is a sort of "little brother" to the small-office oriented NS4300N that we reviewed in our story Promise NS4300N: NAS For Small Offices

By comparison, the Qnap TS-509 Pro straddles the boundary between the enthusiast and the small business market, thanks to its capacity, features, and functions.

The Co-World ShareDisk Pro 400 is in the same boat as the Qnap unit in that it offers both home and business features. But this NAS device employs a proprietary network direct-attached storage (NDAS ) technology and really leans more toward the business side of SOHO and small office applications. NDAS is a lesser-known technology that exists largely in the shadows of NAS equipment. It does not offer all the bells and whistles that users of NAS devices have come to expect, such as streaming multimedia services. Instead, NDAS requires device drivers to attach to and interact with PC clients.

In the pages that follow we will describe the features and functions that these devices deliver in more detail and discuss their network throughput and performance characteristics.

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  • 0 Hide
    moberr , 10 April 2009 20:25
    why do all the prices appear in $ in this article on
    tomshardware.co.uk

    e.g., "you can find one for under $900"
  • 1 Hide
    Nick_C , 11 April 2009 18:12
    You can build a NASLite-2 based hardware RAID server (albeit using an eBay RAID card) using "retired" PC components for less than £600 / $900.

    .... and you can replace or add to any of the components at any time should you wish to upgrade. The Antec 4480 case is an ideal enclosure for this exercise. The operating system only costs $30 / £20.
  • 1 Hide
    skgiven , 13 April 2009 04:09
    "if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right"

    I agree. If you want to store data, use a proper system - a file server!!!

    Network storage is complete rubbish compared to a server system.

    Unless you use a Raid 5 system (or better) NAS is just too slow.
    NAS systems are usually over priced by about 30 to 50% of their real value.
    In many ways it is another layer of, 'could go wrong IT'.

    From a security point of view, I think all NAS units are especially vaulnerable to inteligent attack, and many would fit nicely into a swag bag!

    For most people buying a 1TB drive and sticking it into their existing system is, The Correct Answer. Some of the Green drives use about 1 or 2 Watts idle, you just can compete with that!
  • 0 Hide
    skgiven , 13 April 2009 04:09
    "if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right"

    I agree. If you want to store data, use a proper system - a file server!!!

    Network storage is complete rubbish compared to a server system.

    Unless you use a Raid 5 system (or better) NAS is just too slow.
    NAS systems are usually over priced by about 30 to 50% of their real value.
    In many ways it is another layer of, 'could go wrong IT'.

    From a security point of view, I think all NAS units are especially vaulnerable to inteligent attack, and many would fit nicely into a swag bag!

    For most people buying a 1TB drive and sticking it into their existing system is, The Correct Answer. Some of the Green drives use about 1 or 2 Watts idle, you just can compete with that!
  • 0 Hide
    PhReaK2007 , 20 April 2009 16:58
    I don't get it why people will stop complaining about the dollar / pound sign, dammit is it that difficult to do the conversions !! But I must say , i would rather set up a file server
  • 0 Hide
    petur , 8 September 2009 16:47
    the point is, this *is* a fileserver.... just a pretty small one. But very complete