Network-attached storage (NAS) devices make it possible for businesses to backup data and share files over a network. While many NAS devices are geared toward consumers and home offices, businesses need network-attached storage environments that support critical enterprise data needs, like high-speed data transfers, replication, and encryption.
Our picks for the top NAS devices offer cybersecurity and backup features as well as significant storage capacity for teams that need enterprise-grade storage networking. We graded them on a scale from zero to five based on features, price, available protocols, and the vendors’ customer support. Here are our top six enterprise NAS devices for 2023:
- Asustor Lockerstor 10 AS6510T: Best for enterprise-grade security
- TerraMaster F5-422: Best for SMBs that need significant capacity
- Synology DiskStation 1621+: Best for critical workloads
- Buffalo TeraStation 51210RH: Best for storing large volumes of data
- QNAP TS-432PXU: Best for advanced SMB IT environments
- WD My Cloud Pro PR4100 40TB: Best for media teams in creative industries
Best Enterprise NAS Devices at a Glance
NAS devices designed for enterprise storage needs often have advanced capabilities lacking in those designed for personal and home office. This chart provides an overview of pricing and key features of enterprise NAS units.
|Asustor Lockerstor 10 AS6510T
|Synology DiskStation 1621+
|Buffalo TeraStation 51210RH
|WD My Cloud Pro PR4100 40TB
- Top enterprise NAS devices
- Key Features of Enterprise NAS
- How to Choose the Best NAS Device for Your Business
- How We Evaluated NAS Devices
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Bottom Line: NAS Serves Enterprise File Storage
Asustor Lockerstor 10 AS6510T
Best for enterprise-grade security
Overall rating: 4/5
Asustor’s Lockerstor 10 AS6510T is a 10-bay NAS appliance that supports both hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs), including NVMe-based drives. The AS6510T is particularly focused on cybersecurity—features to highlight include a virtual private network (VPN) connection, two-step access verification, and antivirus software integration. The AS6510T is best for organizations of all sizes that need plenty of security features for their NAS environment.
- $1,219 (Amazon)
- Surveillance system includes four free camera channel licenses (expandable to 64)
- Partnership with Adobe Creative Cloud
- Integration with expansion bays for more capacity
|Many security-focused features
|Customer support availability is unclear
|Supports NVMe-based drives
Read more about the importance of security for NAS environments.
Best for SMBs that need significant capacity
Overall rating: 3.9/5
The TerraMaster F5-422 is a five-bay NAS that syncs with multiple cloud solutions and supports multiple backup tools. Its total capacity can be up to 100 TB; consider TerraMaster for high-capacity storage needs. The F5-422 doesn’t support non-volatile memory express (NVMe)-based drives, just hard drives and SATA SSDs, but it does support many file sharing workloads.
- $619 (Amazon)
- Integration with Docker, a container solution
- Transcoding for 4K streaming
- TNAS mobile app
- Privilege management features, including access permissions and support for LDAP
|Supports multiple backup tools
|Doesn’t support NVMe-based drives
|Supports 10-Gigabit Ethernet
|Up to 100 TB storage capacity
Synology DiskStation 1621+
Best for critical workloads
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Synology’s DiskStation 1621+ is a six-bay NAS designed to support critical business data. Synology offers multiple backup applications for file servers and on-premises data and supports block-level deduplication for Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. Consider the DS1621+ for your business’s backup needs—it’s also a good choice for supporting surveillance data, with multiple video and security features.
- $954 (Amazon; pricing varies between resellers)
- Drag and drop file sharing with Synology software
- Backup application integrations
- Surveillance capabilities using IP camera models, access privileges, deep learning video analysis
|Expansion units available
|Supports multiple virtualization solutions
|Capacity around 90 TB
Buffalo Terastation 51210RH
Best for storing large volumes of data
Overall rating: 3.2/5
Buffalo Technology’s Terastation 51210RH offers 12 bays, 10-Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and a five-year warranty. For large enterprises willing to pay—the 51210RH is one of the most expensive units on our list—the 51210RH is a high-capacity beast of a NAS, with 144 TB of possible capacity. But keep in mind that the 51210RH only supports HDDs, so teams looking for SSD speeds may need to look elsewhere.
- $2,792.99 (Amazon)
- Five-year warranty
- Replication (requires two separate TeraStation units)
- 256-bit AES encryption
|Massive storage capacity
|Incompatible with SSDs
|Plenty of customer support options
|Doesn’t integrate with expansion bays (mitigated by high capacity)
Best for advanced SMB IT environments
Overall rating: 3.1/5
The QNAP TS-432PXU is a four-bay rackmount NAS designed for small business IT infrastructures. But if your business is growing and you need to scale storage space, it supports TR RAID expansion enclosures, one of QNAP’s products for NAS expansions. It’s a small but mighty NAS, with backup and syncing to servers and cloud storage solutions and security for snapshots. The TS-432PXU is a good choice for SMBs planning to expand or just looking for enterprise-grade features.
- $659 (Amazon)
- Hybrid Backup Sync works with other NAS, servers and cloud storage
- QNAP Boxafe backs up Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 data
- Snapshot protection
- Integration with virtualization software
|10-Gigabit Ethernet available
|Lacks encryption features
|Support for NVMe-based drives
WD My Cloud Pro PR4100 40TB
Best for media teams in creative industries
Overall rating: 2.3/5
Western Digital’s My Cloud Pro 4100 is a four-bay NAS best for home office environments or small businesses in the multimedia industry. It offers built-in video transcoding for HD streaming that works with a Plex Media Server. But the My Cloud Pro isn’t just for video and streaming—it also offers features like encryption and backup integrations. This NAS doesn’t support SSDs, so you may not get as rapid speeds as some of the other devices on this list.
- $1,899.99 (Western Digital)
- Adobe Creative Cloud integration
- Backup software integrations
|Beneficial for creative and media teams
|Doesn’t support SSDs
|Expansion opportunities are limited
|While it comes with disks, it’s expensive compared to similar-sized units
Key Features of Enterprise NAS Devices
While home office and business-level NAS have similar features, the best enterprise devices offer high storage capacities and backup capabilities, as well as additional features like cloud integrations.
One of the most critical use cases for NAS is protecting data. Keeping backup copies is the most straightforward way to do that. An enterprise-grade NAS should support enterprise-level backup so businesses can store sufficient copies of data.
Cloud software integrations
NAS devices should be able to sync with cloud applications like Dropbox or Google Drive so teams can store their files in the cloud. This can also help with backup—it’s useful for important files to be stored in multiple safe places.
While file sharing is one of the main purposes of all NAS devices, not all solutions can support enterprise-level file sharing. Ensure that the solutions you’re considering have the bandwidth and Ethernet speeds to support your business’s needs.
Support for expansion bays
This depends on your business’s needs and how many bays the appliance already has, but some NAS environments will eventually need to scale. Integrations with expansion units will be a key feature for some large enterprises.
How to Choose the Best NAS Device for Your Business
Choosing the right NAS device will depend upon your specific storage needs as well as your business’s overall file-sharing and backup requirements. You’ll also need to take hardware compatibility and the product’s overall scalability into account. Consider the following criteria to help you decide among the top candidates listed in this guide.
Can the NAS scale over time? This is important for enterprise-level NAS devices even if your business is currently small, because quickly-growing SMBs need additional capacity. This can include compatibility with expansion units. Consider scalability for NAS features, too—your team may not need virtualization support now, but if it’s on the roadmap for the next few years, plan ahead.
HDD and SSD compatibility
Keep in mind that you may have to buy new drives as well, depending on the hardware your new NAS supports. Some NAS systems are compatible with hard drives and SSDs from vendors like Western Digital and Seagate, but you’ll have to check each NAS provider’s compatibility list to know whether you need to buy additional drives. Some vendors don’t offer technical support for drives that aren’t on their compatibility list.
What are the top additional features your team wants in a NAS? Maybe your business works in the media industry and you want video transcoding and streaming capabilities, or you’d like a NAS to support hot-swappable drives. Make a shortlist to help you prioritize.
The amount of technical support your NAS requires will depend on your storage team’s expertise and the appliance’s ease of use. Highly experienced teams may find it easier to troubleshoot technical issues, but more junior teams may want a vendor with readily available customer support. Check overall vendor and product reviews to get a broad idea of their customers’ support experience before buying.
Support for concurrent users
You need to make sure a NAS device can meet the demands of the number of users that will concurrently share files on the network. Knowing the maximum number of users that can connect and use the device without degradation of performance is important before making a purchase — you don’t want to pick a unit and then run into slowdowns a month after deployment.
How We Evaluated Enterprise NAS Devices
To evaluate the best NAS devices for enterprises, we compiled data on storage capacity, speed, feature availability, and pricing, and then analyzed the products using a weighted scoring rubric. Our scoring system ranks products from 0 to 5. The best solutions are chosen from that shortlist.
Note that we scored these products based on a list of enterprise-level features and requirements. The scores are not a reflection of the overall product but of how well it meets those specific criteria.
Capacity | 20 percent
Business NAS devices need greater storage capacity than personal or home office units. Note that overall NAS capacity depends on the capacity of each individual HDD or SSD, so NAS vendors typically list the highest possible capacity based on the top drive capacity (usually between 15 and 30 TB).
Core Features | 35 percent
We evaluated the major features of enterprise NAS devices to determine which are more suitable for such use cases as business security, backup, and multimedia.
Price | 15 percent
We evaluated the pricing of NAS units by dollar breakdown. However, take into consideration that an expensive unit with more bays and features may be the better choice for a larger business.
Additional Features | 10 percent
We evaluated other features like snapshots and integrations with creative software.
Customer Support | 10 percent
We evaluated availability of live chat, phone, and email support, as well as knowledge bases and documentation for customers.
Protocols and Connectivity | 10 percent
We evaluated bays based on support for NVMe-based drives as well as 10 Gigabit-Ethernet ports, which increase data transmission speeds.
Enterprise Storage Forum doesn’t rank recommended solutions based on any vendor partnerships, only on features and capabilities. We may also analyze comprehensive user reviews and the vendors’ own data on their products to determine whether we think that product is a good fit for our audience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
People often ask the following questions about NAS devices and their uses in business scenarios.
Is NAS good for long-term storage?
NAS is often used for long-term file storage. Because it’s typically cheaper than storage area networks or flash arrays, it’s a good solution for inexpensive file archiving.
Can NAS replace cloud storage?
It depends. While NAS can serve a similar purpose—storing files for remote access—it’s not always a complete replacement for cloud. Cloud is beneficial because it’s a managed service, but you’ll have more control over your data with a business-run NAS environment. Some NAS units also connect to cloud storage solutions, giving you the best of both.
Can NAS devices connect to the internet?
It can be beneficial to connect a NAS device to the internet, but that can also expose files it stores to vulnerabilities, including malware. If you choose to connect to the internet, take security precautions first.
Bottom Line: NAS Serves Enterprise File Storage
Network-attached storage devices are an affordable, easy way for businesses to set up or expand network data storage. Compared to general purpose servers, NAS devices are faster and offer easier administration for IT staff. Choosing the right one requires identifying your business’s top storage needs and finding a NAS that has features to support those needs. Our list provides options to consider as you continue to build your organization’s storage infrastructure.
Read NAS vs. SAN: What’s the Difference? next to learn more about network storage solutions for enterprise use and the strengths and weaknesses of each.