A NAS box for all seasons

Five NAS appliances for all your small business storage needs

Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances

We tested five Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances, ranging from 4T to 18TB in capacity, ranging in price from $700 to $2,000, with drives. Our players are: D-Link’s Share Center Pro, Western Digital Sentinal DX4000, Thecus N4800Eco, Ctera C200 and ioSafe N2. (Read the story version.) Here are the individual reviews:

D-Link ShareCenter Pro 1250
D-Link ShareCenter Pro 1250: Basic functionality, best warranty

The D-Link ShareCenter Pro 1250 offers a four-bay unit with a 12TB capacity and a six-bay unit with 18TB capacity, both shipped with empty bays. Prices range from as low as $700 for four-bay unit and $900 for the six-bay unit. Both come with a five-year warranty with online and phone support. Both D-Link units are loaded with an Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz Dual Core processor and 2GB RAM. Overall, the D-Link ShareCenter Pro 1250 is a solid, no thrills, NAS unit. Only gripe is that the five USB ports are only 2.0, whereas all the other units we reviewed have two USB 3.0 ports.

Western Digital Sentinel DX4000
Western Digital Sentinel DX4000: Flexible, good failover, lacks print server.

The Western Digital (WD) Sentinel DX4000 provides four bays loaded with drives from the factory, available in five capacities. Each supports up to 25 Windows or Mac computers for server access and backup. Prices range from $700 for the 4TB unit to $1,600 for the 16TB unit. All come with a three-year warranty and 30-days free support. We found the WD Sentinel DX4000 to be a well-designed unit. It’s a great choice for those wanting to use the Windows Storage Server OS. But it lacks a print server. On the other hand, it’s the only unit we reviewed that offers tray-less drive bays and two power inputs for failover.

Thecus N4800Eco
Thecus N4800Eco: Low cost, extra media outputs

This unit provides four empty lockable drive bays supporting up to 16TB with their supported 2.5- or 3.5-inch drives. It can be purchased as low as $540 and comes with a two-year warranty. We found the Thecus N4800Eco to be a solid NAS unit and one of the least expensive when you take into account its maximum capacity of 16TB. Plus it’s the only unit of the five we reviewed that offers HDMI and VGA/audio outputs for managing the unit or playing media. And similar to the ioSafe unit, you can add many other servers and features.

CTERA C200: Cloud integration, no print server, most expensive per terabyte
CTERA C200: Cloud integration, no print server, most expensive per terabyte

The CTERA C200 unit we reviewed is one of the four cloud storage gateways they offer. It provides two drive bays supporting up to 6TB of storage space. Pricing through VARs and MSPs ranges from $500 for the unit with no disks and one-year warranty, up to $1,000 for the unit with two 3TB disks and three-year warranty and maintenance. The CTERA C200 is a traditional NAS unit with great cloud integration. It lacks a print server, but it’s the only unit that offers easy local clientless backup. It’s the most expensive when you look at price per TB of capacity.

ioSafe N2
ioSafe N2: Ruggedized, has Wi-Fi

The ioSafe N2 is a fireproof and waterproof NAS unit, providing two drive bays supporting up to 8TB total when using their 2.5 or 3.5 inch supported drives. We found the ioSafe N2 to be a solid NAS unit with the best management and user interface, thanks to the Synology DSM OS, which offers many other servers and functions as well via add-on apps. Plus it’s the only unit in our review that offers Wi-Fi support, so the unit can be semi-portable and more easily hidden to protect against theft.