Seagate has announced two network attached storage (NAS) products for small and medium businesses (SMBs) with two distinct NAS models. The first is the Seagate NAS which comes with either two or four HDD bays and has been designed to provide storage for an average of 25 employees. It is powered by a Marvell dual-core chip running at 1.2GHz
The NAS Pro drive is built to handle the storage needs of 50 employees, and comes with up to 30TB of storage capacity. It also uses a processor that is more powerful: the Intel C200 series at 1.7GHz. This is an Intel’s Atom processor, and although it’s not “laptop-fast”, it does provide a comfortable advantage in the NAS space. This is handy when there is a need to perform operations on a lot of files.
The NAS space is arguably an extremely competitive one. Because it’s possible to buy boxes ready to be assembled and tune the cost per GB by adding drives separately. Seagate is well aware of that, and has chosen to compete on the user experience and ease of management instead of GB/$.
This is smart because there is a real business for that. Sure, it’s nice to pay less per GB, but many businesses don’t want to spend resources managing and setup up exotic NAS configuration. Also, many don’t have the technical know-how and want to keep contracting IT to a minimum. Seagate has worked quite a bit on its own OS (a Linux derivative) that the interface is pretty slick and seems pretty easy to use (I haven’t tested one in “production”).
Seagate’s main advantage here is that they represent a one-stop shop in terms of box, storage (disks) and support. If users need help, there’s a single number to call, and they won’t Ping-Pong between the disk maker and the box maker.
Of course, it’s near-certain that prospect buyers would contemplate using a cloud storage solution. However, it’s almost never the same thing and I personally see these options as complementary. If you deal with large quantities of data, you really never want to have to restore TBs from a cloud service, and that’s why it is so handy to have data on-site. The cloud is an awesome last-line of defense, but it’s not always convenient when things do go wrong.
Also, some companies may want to feel in control of their data, and devices like the Seagate NAS can act as a private cloud in and out of the office. Finally, it should be pretty easy to get one Seagate NAS to backup another identical device (at a different location). It sounds obvious, but many NAS boxes don’t offer this functionality.
Finally, it is worth nothing that this works well with Apple’s Time machine and that 3rd party storage apps/plugins will be available, notably from Amazon S3, Box and others. The NAS files can be accessed as a system network drive or simply from a web browser.
Seagate NAS pricing info: $299.99 (two-bay 2TB), to $649.99 (two-bay 10TB), $599 (four-bay 4TB) and 1,499.99 (four-bay 20TB). Seagate NAS Pro pricing: four- and six-bay models from 2TB for an MSRP of $399.99 USD to 30TB capacities for $2499.99.