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4 bay NAS or server?

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First post and I`m asking for help!

I`ve posted this on another forum - but it`s general PC hardware, so I hope you don`t mind if I pick your brains?

I`ve got up to £600 ($1000) to spend on NAS (Don`t really want to spend more than £400ish on the actual NAS, leaving me with £200 for the drives) and I don`t really have a clue!

I want to be able to configure the system in RAID 5.

I want to be able to use it as a print server.

It needs to be able to backup several computers.

I want to be able to set up password protected folders to enable the collection and deposit of potentially confidential projects - the persons must only be able to access their own specific folder.

It must be easy to configure and use - I don`t want to have to spend ages fiddling and other users might not have much in the way of IT skills.

I`ve looked at the four bay NAS units, but which to choose?

QNAP seem to be highly regarded, but I`m not sure that the lower models will be too slow.

The Drobos don`t appear to have LAN connections.

Edgestore NAS400?

Synology DS409+?

Netgear RND4000?

And then there`s the idea of buying a ProLiant server and running Freenas......

But then are we back to fiddling and presumably higher electricity costs?

My brain is hurting, please help!
Start by reading How To Choose the Right NAS for You.

Your needs are relatively simple and can be met by many products, perhaps except for the print serving. I suggest giving up on that feature if a product meets all your other criteria. Most integrated print server are very simple and don't handle multifunction printers.

You did not say how much storage you need or what your speed requirements are.

You also need to consider backup of the NAS itself, since RAID is not backup.
I have read through that and (& other sources) & I think I`ve narrowed it down to:

Synology DS409+


Netgear RND4000

I think the Netgear is perhaps a little outdated now though?

Speed, faster is better, but it's not the be all and end all - I`m not going to pick one simply on that basis - most of the files (after the initial setup) will be fairly small.

I was going to fit 4 x 640GB or 4 x 1TB dependant on current prices, I realise that this will be significantly reduced in RAID 5, however it should be more than sufficient

Data is regularly backedup on external drives/DVDs, this will be a further "backup".
The ReadyNAS NV+ is dated only in its speed. Otherwise it has all the features of the newer ReadyNASes. It is much more flexible in its backup capabilities and can back up automatically to and from any SMB/CIFS networked share.

You said speed isn't a primary concern, so why pay so much more for the Synology DS409+. You also don't need a webserver or all its fancy media services. So why pay extra? If you prefer the Synology feature set, you could go with the DS409 and still be much faster than the ReadyNAS.
In the UK the price is the same for the Synology DS409+ and the ReadyNAS!

The problem is that not having any experience in this field, comparing specs. is only half the picture, as I'm sure you know: how well are these features implemented, how reliable etc.

Could I ask what models you would suggest that I take a look at?
I try to stay away from specific recommendations, since I find them picked up and quoted by the vendors.

But if backup flexibility is what you want, the ReadyNAS series is about the best that you can do. Synology (and QNAP) focus on cramming as many features as possible into their products, including full LAMP serving. Way overkill for simple file serving needs and priced accordingly. NETGEAR also asks a premium for the ReadyNASes.

The current Buffalos I have reviewed (Terastation III, LinkStation XHL) have good price performance and a decent feature set. They only bundle one copy of Memeo client backup software, however.

I would not mess with the Edgestore NAS400. It's basically the same as the Promise NS4300N. You can read many tales of woe here.
I have read some reviews of the Edgestore & have dropped that idea.

The terastion III is roughly on par pricewise with the Synology DS409+ and the ReadyNAS @ £640 (compared with the Synology @ £430 and the Netgear @ £435) as it comes (at least in the UK) with 4 x 500GB - would you say that they are roughly equivalent at that same pricepoint - I realise that you have to be careful about recommendations!
Sorry, but I'm losing track of your comparisons.
The Synology comes with no storage, while the TeraStation and ReadyNAS NV+ are diskful. So you need to normalize your comparisons by adding the equivalent storage to the Synology and then doing a cost / MB calculation.

That said, the three products are very different animals. The Synology has the most features, most of which you don't need. The NV+ is the slowest, but has a good feature set, especially for backup. The Buffalo is somewhere in between for both feature set and performance.

You need to decide based on your priorities. I can't make the call for you.
That's fine, I know the decision must rest with me, just trying to extract the wisdom of those in the know! The Netgear is also without HDDs, that's why I was comparing them pricewise. 4 x 500GB drives are approx £160.

Synology £590
Netgear £595
Terastation £640

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