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There are many good reasons to set up a NAS (Network Attached Storage) at home or at the office.
From the need to have a file server to the desire to have a media center, to the possibility of using it as a personal server, a VPN server (virtual private network server) or as a private cloud.
In this way, they are increasingly used for more and more applications, which is why their popularity is growing all the time.
However, choosing the right NAS server for your needs requires minimal technical knowledge.
To make it easier for you, we at have put together this comprehensive shopping guide.
- 1 The most important
- 2 The best NAS on the market: our recommendations
- 3 Shopping Guide: What you need to know about NAS
- 4 Purchase criteria
- 5 Summary
The most important
- The popularity of NAS servers for home and small business use is growing. These computers, which are halfway between local storage and cloud storage systems, offer a number of advantages.
- The main applications of NAS servers are backing up, operating as media centers, and managing files on a network so that they are available to any computer without the need to connect directly to the drive on which they are located.
- Some NAS servers come with built-in storage units; however, most are sold with empty bays so you can buy the ones that suit you best. You can buy specific NAS models that offer better performance and lower power, or use a hard drive that you are not using.
The best NAS on the market: our recommendations
Below, we provide you with a ranking of the best NAS servers currently available on the market.
We make it including as many products as possible, but always with the best quality.
In addition, we only select those that offer the best value for money.
The hard drive for NAS users' favourite online
This Western Digital hard drive is designed specifically for use in NAS systems up to 8 bays.
This means, it is ideal for home and small office systems.
It supports a workload rate of up to 180 TB (terabytes).
Using it, you can stream, back up, network share and organize your digital content.
It also features NASware 3.0 technology, increasing compatibility with your devices, such as TV or stereo.
Where to buy
The best compact and reliable NAS server
This server represents a compact, yet powerful and reliable shared storage solution.
It has an encrypted sequential performance of over 113 MB (megabytes) of read and 112 MB of write.
It also provides smooth, high-quality live video playback between multiple devices.
In addition, it comes equipped with a dual-core processor.
In addition, it has a 2 GB (gigabyte) DDR3L memory, expandable to 6 GB.
Where to buy
The best NAS server for its performance
This server offers excellent performance. It is equipped with Intel Celeron Quad-core 2.0 4-core and 2 GB DDR3L RAM (expandable to 8 GB).
In fact, you can use it to centralize the storage, sharing and backup of your files.
In addition, it operates in different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Unix and android.
It will allow you to play high quality videos live or offline with transfer speeds up to 205 MB.
Where to buy
The best NAS server for home use
This is a model that combines secure data storage and multimedia entertainment in a single device.
It is equipped with an Intel Celeron J3355 dual-core processor.
It also has a 2 GB DDR3L RAM, expandable to 8 GB.
In addition, it supports dual-channel H.264 hardware decoding and trans coding, so you can enjoy watching multimedia files on multiple devices.
Where to buy
Shopping Guide: What you need to know about NAS
When buying a NAS server, it is essential that you consider a number of important factors.
Keep in mind that there are different models of NAS and each one is designed for a different type of user.
That’s why in this section we will answer the questions that are usually asked by buyers.
What exactly is a NAS server?
A NAS server is a high-capacity network storage system that connects to a home or business network.
Its function is to make it possible to access all files and documents on any of the devices on the network without having to establish a direct connection to the drive on which they are located.
What is a NAS for?
NAS servers can have different applications.
Some of the most common are managing files on a network, setting up your own streaming server, or providing access to a local network for a set of users.
In addition, they are often used to store the recordings of IP surveillance cameras.
Likewise, they can be configured as servers connected to the Internet and, therefore, to carry out functions similar to those performed by web storage or hosting services.
Thus, you can use them as mail servers or to store your website.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of CABA?
Having a NAS offers you a number of undoubted advantages.
For starters, it makes all the documents and files in the office accessible to any of your employees.
It can also be used as a media server.
It also allows you to have your own cloud on the network without Google being able to access your files.
- They allow you to have a shared and quality storage space.
- You can access all your data, files and documents from anywhere in the world through an application on your smartphone or through a certain web page in the browser.
- You can create a media center to store movies, music or photos. The NAS server will send them to any device from which you can play them.
- If you use it as a private cloud, you will have all your documents available on the web without Google or any other company being able to access them.
- Installing and configuring a NAS is a fairly simple task. Many integrate their own setup wizard.
- It involves making a financial investment to purchase the NAS and hard drives, in case you don’t have them.
What are NAS Bays?
The spaces that NAS servers have for mounting hard drives are called bays.
For home NAS, one or two bays are usually sufficient.
However, professional users or office environments require four or even twelve bays, depending on the need.
Please note that each bay accepts a certain storage capacity.
Thus, if it is 10 GB, a 12 GB disk cannot be mounted.
In addition, you have to consider the power consumption, the more you have, the higher it will be.
Which RAID configuration is best suited for a NAS?
A RAID is a group of hard disks that have been configured to work as if they were one.
In that sense, they can be made to work by adding their storage capacities or by duplicating the information to avoid data loss in case one fails.
Each type of RAID has different characteristics.
What hard drives do I need for a NAS?
Although some NAS come with hard drives inside, this is most often not the case.
In these circumstances, it is essential that you buy hard drives that offer the right performance.
No matter how much capacity you have, it’s the reading and writing speed that matters.
One brand that offers specific hard drives for NAS is Western Digital, which has a specially developed network range.
Without a doubt, these equipments guarantee a very good performance.
In any case, if you have external hard drives that you are not using, you can also take advantage of them and install them in the NAS.
How do I install a NAS server?
Setting up a NAS is not excessively complicated and can be summarized in 3 steps:
- To start with, you need to install the storage units you will use.
- Once this is done, the next step is to connect it to the local network.
- And finally, you just need to configure it from the NAS’ own operating system.
When it comes to purchasing a NAS, it is essential that you consider a number of purchase criteria.
To help you in the selection process, we have selected the ones we consider to be the most important.
We hope that they will guide you through your purchase and that you will be completely satisfied with your new NAS.
Operating system that manages the NAS
NAS devices do not work with Windows. Large manufacturers have their own Linux-based operating systems, such as Synology DiskStation Manager, Qnap’s QTS, or WD’s My Cloud.
However, there are also many free systems such as FreeNAS, NASlite, or Openfiler.
In general, all of them are quite simple to use. Some like QNAP, Asustor or Synology can even be managed from the same mobile.
In addition, it is also important to consider what applications each system has to handle mail servers, FTP (File transfer protocol) and backups, among others.
However, for an office, you should think at least about a quad-core processor.
In general, mid-range models are now usually fitted with Intel Celeron processors, while professionals use either the Intel i3 or Xeon.
The RAM you will need will depend on how you want to use the NAS server.
If you only need it for backup purposes, you don’t have to worry too much about this.
For home use, 512 MB may be sufficient.
For an office, up to 8 GB may be recommended.
If you want it as a media device to play HD content, you’ll need at least 1 GB of RAM.
If you are going to use the NAS as a media player in HD or 4K quality, then you should consider one equipped with 2 GB of RAM or more.
Maximum storage capacity supported by the NAS
Before you buy a NAS server, you should know what storage capacity it has and what type of hard drives you will be using in it.
The simplest computers have only one slot for a hard drive.
The most basic drives may allow you to store 1 TB or 2 TB, which may be insufficient for certain tasks.
If you’re going to be saving large media files, you’ll want to think about capacities of 6 TB or more.
If the NAS is going to be installed in an office, you can consider up to 20 TB capacity.
Some computers also allow you to install SSDs, but the benefits of these are rarely used in the NAS.
If it has USB ports, you can expand its storage capacity or connect printers directly to the NAS.
It is recommended that you integrate a Gigabit Ethernet connection 1 Gbps or higher, to connect to the router.
Otherwise its performance will be significantly affected.
In any case, the latest NAS servers already have 10GbpE connectors.
Many also have a second LAN plug.
You may also want to consider having a microSD card slot.
If you’re going to use it as a media center, then you might also want it to have an HDMI output so you can connect it to your TV.
Before you buy a NAS server, it is important to check what type of RAID it supports.
If you want to make the most of your storage capacity, you’ll want RAID 0.
If you want to be protected against errors and gain speed, even if you lose half of your storage capacity, you’ll want RAID 1.
When buying a technological product, it is essential that you choose a manufacturer that offers a guarantee of quality and good performance.
In this respect, brands such as Synology, Qnap or Western Digital assure you that their products will offer you good performance and that you will have good customer service.
The many applications, both domestic and professional, of the NAS have caused it’s used to increase dramatically in recent years.
There is no doubt that purchasing one involves a significant financial investment.
However, there are many advantages that they offer, so they make it worthwhile.
Choosing the right one depends largely on having a minimum of technical knowledge and knowing exactly what your real needs are.
To do this, you must first ask yourself what you will do with it.
From there, you can start thinking about which configuration and which manufacturer suits you best.
Finally, if you find this guide useful in your selection process, you can leave us a comment or share it with your friends through social networks.
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