Network attached storage (NAS) devices are among the most inexpensive and easiest-to-manage of any storage hardware. That has made NAS storage very popular with home users and small businesses, but NAS is also surprisingly popular with enterprises.
In the past, enterprises have often used NAS devices for remote or branch office locations. NAS devices’ easy manageability make them a good fit for environments with few (if any) IT staff on site and where fast performance isn’t a key requirement.
Today, however, the advent of affordable flash and scale-out storage means that NAS performance often rivals that of more expensive SAN hardware. A lot of modern NAS storage also has features like deduplication, snapshots, compression, encryption and compression that make them suitable for more enterprise use cases, including big data analytics and machine learning.
Because every enterprise will have slightly different needs, it’s nearly impossible to select one — or even a dozen — best NAS. However, the eight enterprise NAS devices below offer a snapshot of some of the best NAS storage currently on the market. All are rack-mounted hardware, but they span a wide range of form factors, performance characteristics and price points. They are arranged in alphabetical order and the table at the end compares some of their key traits.
To further assist your buying research, see our Guide to Choosing the Best Enterprise NAS.
Dell EMC Isilon F800
Dell EMC boasts that its Isilon storage is “the industry’s #1 scale-out NAS platform.” The F800 is its all-flash option, which provides up to 250,000 IOPS and 15 GB/s bandwidth. The company also claims that its dense system design reduces space requirements by up to 75 percent. It’s designed for high-performance workloads like HD video and data analytics.
Form factor:4U rack-mountable
Maximum Capacity: 924 TB per chassis
- Up to 60 drives per chassis
- Performance management
- Data management
- Data protection
- 256 GB of memory per node; 4 nodes per chassis
- Greater than 80% storage utilization thanks to data deduplication and storage tiering
- Intel Xeon Processor E5-2697A v4
- Isilon OneFS distributed file system
Dell Storage NX430
The NX430 is Dell’s entry-level appliance in its NX Storage family. Designed for use with Windows Storage Server 2016, it comes with the operating system pre-installed for easy deployment. It’s built on Dell’s PowerEdge server platform featuring Intel Xeon processors.
Form factor:1U rack-mount
Media: SAS or SATA HDD
Maximum Capacity: 40 TB
- Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1220 v5
- Up to four hot-swap 3.5” NL-SAS or SATA drives for data and OS
- Built on Dell R330 PowerEdge Server
- Continuous Availability and failover clustering
- RAID 5
- Data deduplication
- Thin provisioning
- DFS-R synchronization capabilities
Pure Storage FlashBlade NAS
Pure Storage FlashBlade is a scale-out NAS solution that offers both file and object storage. Thanks to its innovative blade design, FlashBlade condenses the storage provided by 50 racks of legacy storage into just 4U of space, according to the company. It also uses a proprietary messaging protocol to deliver up to 320Gb/s bandwidth per chassis.
Maximum Capacity:1607 TB usable
- Pure1 cloud-based management
- N+2 redundancy for high availability
- Built-in encryption
- High-performance 320 Gb/s fabric
- Up to 8 Intel Xeon CPU cores per blade
- 17 TB or 52 TB blades with support for up to 15 blades per chassis
- Up to 1.5M NFS IOPS
HPE StoreEasy 1000
According to HPE, its StoreEasy 1660 offers 60 percent more internal capacity than its previous best-selling NAS. The 1000 series of products also boasts up to twice the performance and 50 percent lower latency than previous generation hardware. The devices are based on HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers and come pre-configured with Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2016.
Form factor:2U, rack-mount
Media:SAS or SATA HDD or hybrid flash
Maximum Capacity:Depends on model
- Simple management
- Low-cost expansion
- Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2016
- Three-year warranty
- Volume Shadow Copy Service
- Advanced deduplication and compression
NetGear ReadyNAS 2312
NetGear boasts that its ReadyNAS 2312 is the “industry’s first 1U 12-bay high-density network storage solution.” It promises high-performance with a quad gigabit Ethernet interface, plus five levels of data protection and automated backup and disaster recovery. It can be used by small enterprises or SMBs, and it includes RAID protection for high availability.
Form factor:1U rack-mount
Media:SATA 3.5″ HDDs or SSDs
Maximum Capacity:120 TB
- Intel Atom C3538 Quad Core Processor
- 2GB DDR4 RAM
- Hot swappable drives
- 2 rear USB 3.0 ports
- 5-year warranty
- Unlimited snapshots
- iSCSI and thin provisioning
- Compatible with VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0
- Automated disaster recovery
The NetApp FAS9000 can be configured either as a SAN or NAS and offers blazing fast performance with NVMe flash. It can scale up to 24 nodes and features continuous availability, built-in encryption and simplified management with NetApp ONTAP data management software. According to the company, it’s up to 50 percent faster than previous-generation hardware.
Form factor: 8U
Media: Flash SSD
Maximum Capacity: 138 PB
- Up to 192 TB onboard NVMe Flash Cache
- 1024 GB RAM
- High availability
- Synchronous replication
- Support for RAID-TEC, RAID 6, RAID 4, RAID 6+1 or RAID 4+1
- Support for up to 12 nodes
QNAP Enterprise ZFS NAS Series
QNAP promises that its Enterprise ZFS NAS Series will provide “nearly zero downtime.” It’s optimized for mission-critical virtualized workloads, particularly virtual desktop infrastructure, and it offers features like nearly limitless snapshots, block-level data deduplication, thin provisioning with reclaim and simplified management. It uses the QNAP Enterprise Storage (QES) operating system and supports the ZFS file system.
Form factor:3U rack-mount
Media:SAS HDD or SSD
Maximum Capacity:160 TB
- Intel Xeon 6-core Processor E5-2420 v2
- Dual active controllers
- 2 GB/64 GB main memory + 16 GB write cache per controller
- Data deduplication and compression
- Support for up to 500 VDI instances
- Five-year warranty
Qumulo QF2 P-Series
Qumulo’s QF2is a scale-out file storage system that can run on premises or in the cloud. When QF2 runs on the company’s P-Series all-flash storage hardware, it creates a high-performance NAS device suitable for advanced applications like machine learning, gene sequencing, HD video editing and more. It comes in two versions: the P-23T with 23TB of raw capacity or the P-92 T with 92 TB of raw capacity.
Form factor:1U, 2U or 4U
Maximum Capacity:92 TB
- Up to 24 x 3.84 SSDs
- Intel Xeon Scalable 6126 CPU
- 4GB per second throughput from a single node
- 192 GB RAM
- High performance
- Low costs
- Highly rated support
|Dell EMC Isilon F800||Up to 924 TB||250k||15 GB/s||Appliance||SSD||Just under $200,00 for 48 TB||Leader in File and Object|
|HPE StoreEasy 1660||Up to 67.2 TB||7,200 rpm HDDs||90 MB/s||Appliance||HDDs/some SDDs||$6,000 to $15,000||Well suited for HPE, Windows environments|
|NetGear ReadyNAS 2312||Up to 120 TB||7,200 rpm HDDs||90 MB/s||Rackmount||HDDs/ some SDDs||Starting at $1,599||Good for home, SMB|
|NetApp FAS9000||Up to 172 PB||500k||17 GB/s||Appliance||SSD/ NVMe||Starting at $100,000||High performance|
|QNAP ZFS||160 TB||500k||2.3 GB.s||Rackmount||HDD/ SDD||$3,500 to $6,000||Good midrange option|
|Pure Storage FlashBlade NAS||1.6 PB||1.5 million||15 GB/s||Appliance||SSD||Starting under $200,000||Flash focus|
|Qumulo QF2 P-Series||92 TB||400k||16 GB/s||Software that runs on multiple hardware||SSD||$580 per TB for 3-year subscription||Handles demanding workloads|
|Dell NX430||40 TB||7,200 rpm HDDs||90 MB/s||Appliance||HDD||From $2,849||Reasonably priced workhorse|