Guide to buying a NAS

 

A WORD TO THE WISE

Want to buy a NAS? – Use the eAegis Checklist

No. 1 - Features

Bells and whistles wear off, but features never do. Make a list of mandatory features that you need as well as “nice to have” features that may be useful. It’s imperative to ensure the “must have” features are supported.

No. 2 – Select Quality Drives

The golden rule of “you get what you pay for” rings true for buying cheap and low grade drives, desktop drives that do not support a systems with multiple drives should NOT be used. At all times use RAID supported quality drives that have a minimum three year warranty, anything less than that is superfluous and totally reckless.

No. 3 Modular NAS server

The features discussed earlier will require hardware that can scale upwards. Whilst in the initial stages it may not be necessary to use the extra performance the system will need to have the capability to perform when called up on. If you don’t have the power you are unable to take advantage of all the features. In NAS terms this can also mean adding more capacity and also up scaling RAID sets without loss of data.

No. 4 Warranty and Support

Reputation of a storage manufacturer can be measured by the warranty and support it offers. Ensure the minimum warranty for smaller NAS devices is two years whilst the intermediary and higher level comes with three to five years of warranty. Support is an important area, whilst we provide support, it is also important to establish the manufacturer us also based within USA so support can be attained.

No. 5 Pre-built or BYOD

Many vendors do not offer a configuration and testing service that includes installing drives and setting the required RAID level. More often than not, buyers are succumbed to buying a diskless NAS system and hard drives separately, then assemble, prepare RAID and complete the cycle in preparation of deployment themselves. Our advice is simple. Buy pre-installed and try to stop the urge of “bring your own drives” for NAS, as the advantages outweigh the minuscule savings that can be made, if at all. This is by far the most ideal way of buying storage array. Take away the hassle factor of returning drives that arrive faulty, or indeed the NAS device. Pre-built and burn tested is the most prudent way forward no doubt about it!

No. 6 Buy from a Specialist

Our ultimate recommendation is to ardently consider buying from a storage specialist, and avoid the normal run of the mill computer or electronic online dealer because they will save you 50.00 dollars!, long term you will lose the 50 dollars and more when it comes to resolving issues and addressing problems that cannot be addressed by these non-specialist. The acid test is to call them and challenge them with technical questions reading the NAS device in question. Buy wisely; it’s your money and more importantly your data that needs to be protected.

Conclusion

Overall, we cannot emphasize enough on selecting a storage solution based on the features and strength of the firmware (operating system), as well as opting for a system that adopts excellent quality components, is designed and supported well. Most of all though the system and options can be excellent but selecting to integrate hard disk drives that are below specification or not apt from a quality perspective will inevitably be the reason of unreliability and subsequent failure of the array to perform its functionality. After all, select the wrong drives and the time expounded in swap-outs and possible downtime will fast become the legacy of a bad purchase and deployment.

Deploying the system under a critical environment will demand an exact balance of performance, memory and quality drives, with build in modularity to allow capacity and RAID expansion without loss of data. Modularity and unification across all major platforms are important factors if you work in a heterogeneous environment.

Another aspect that is mostly overlooked is one of System warranty. At this level the minimum of three years should be mandatory. In cases of the deployment being critical an advance replacement or an on-site service option should be exercised as these avoid any downtime after failure to be exasperated. Support via telephone and/or logging support issues should again be mandatory. However, if you purchase online from an electronics retailer you will most likely not receive after sales product support. Try calling them and asking for pre-sales support if you are unable to discuss your requirements that may give a clue to their capability.

Buying from a specialist then becomes an important factor. Are you likely to buy your own diskless unit and pre-populate with drives? If so, maybe examine the choice of buying a pre-populated system tested and ready to use out of the box. You may be pleasantly surprised. Overall, it comes down to good service with warranty to suit and excellent quality and compatibility across the board. Buy sensibly; it’s your money and more importantly your data!