Want to buy a NAS?

A word to the wise

No. 1 – Features

Make a list of mandatory features that you need as well as features that you wish to have that may be useful. It’s imperative to ensure the “must have” features are supported. Now NAS is beyond just hardware.

No. 2 – Select Quality Drives

The golden rule of “you get what you pay for” is true for buying cheap and low grade drives. So choose wisely. Desktop drives that do not support systems with multiple drives should NOT be used. Use RAID supported quality drives that have a minimum three year warranty, anything less than that is redundant.(These are called as Enterprise / Near line Enterprise drives)

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 required. If you don’t have the power you will be 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 NAS devices is two years. But more important in India is who gives the warranty & how committed distributor / ASP is for warranty is more important.

No. 5 Pre-built or BYOD

Bring your own drive has advantage with warranty as one does not have to give back the whole box for drive failures. But ensure the drives are compatible & NAS Class.

No. 6 Buy from a Specialist

Buy from a storage specialist and avoid the normal run of the mill computer or electronic online dealer because in the long term you will lose the saved money while resolving issues and addressing problems that cannot be addressed by these non-specialists. It’s your money and more importantly your data that needs to be protected. And buying wrong product which does not have any speed or feature can be very annoying.

Conclusion

The primary factor for 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 two 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. Exercise 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!

And Last word – Connect UPS to your NAS.

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