Seagate goes after small business market with new NAS devices

Seagate's new NAS and NAS Pro devices have unimaginative names, but interesting new software and capabilities

A couple of new network attached storage (NAS) devices have been launched by Seagate, with the company aiming at home office workers as well as office environments with up to 50 people. The new units are simply called Seagate NAS and Seagate NAS Pro, and the company boasts Seagate technology throughout the device, from the hard drives, to the chassis and the software.

The software is a key part of the new device offering, with Seagate introducing NAS OS 4, and bringing with it features such as a more intuitive interface, streamlined setup, and support for optional apps that can add functionality to the device, including IP camera surveillance. A new remote app, called Sdrive, can make accessing data from remote locations much easier, either from a laptop or a mobile device.

Streamlined setup is aided by the use of Seagate’s SimpleRAID technology, which can be used to manage the configuration of the drives within the NAS, without the user knowing anything about how RAID arrays work. With SimpleRAID, the Seagate NAS can be configured and re-configured easily within its Web interface to optimise the space and data redundancy of the drives as needed, even when drives of varying capacities are installed.

The use of NAS OS 4 and SimpleRAID are key features for Seagate, which said that NAS units are no longer IT-driven devices, but also home devices. Data storage is the main use for these drives in the home and in the office, in addition to being used for data back-ups.

Seagate doesn’t provide backup software with the new drives, citing that barely anyone used the Acronis software that was provided with older drives, and instead said that users should use Apple Time Machine or the built-in backup software that can be found within Windows. NAS-to-NAS backups are supported over a local network, and remotely, and the data on the NAS can also be backed up to a USB drive, if it has a big enough capacity. Pre-determined backup jobs can be initiated at any time through a button on the front of the chassis.

The differences between the Seagate NAS and the Seagate NAS Pro primarily concern capacity and performance. The Seagate NAS, which is designed for home use or for businesses with up to 25 employees, can be purchased in a two- or four-bay configuration, while the Seagate NAS Pro can be purchased up to a six-bay configuration, and is suitable for businesses with up to 50 employees. The four-bay NAS (non-Pro) has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, while the two-bay has one.

Seagate NAS with four drive bays.
Seagate NAS with four drive bays.

The Pro version is claimed by Seagate to be one of the first NAS devices on the market to make use of Intel’s latest generation C2000 dual-core processor, which runs at 1.7GHz and is specifically designed for NAS devices, while the non-Pro version has a 1.2GHz Marvel CPU. The NAS Pro also has more RAM than the non-Pro version (2GB versus 512MB), two Gigabit Ethernet ports for load balancing and redundancy, as well as a front panel display, which can give information such as network details, and a piano black finish.

Seagate NAS Pro with two drive bays.
Seagate NAS Pro with two drive bays.

Both devices can be purchased either with disks or without, with Seagate citing better value for money for the models that come pre-configured with drives, especially since they use Seagate’s NAS-specific hard drives, which are designed for 24x7 NAS operation, rather than regular desktop operation.

Pricing for the Seagate NAS starts at $399 for the two-bay, 2TB version, with the two-bay, 8TB version costing $699. The four-bay, 4TB version is $699, while the four-bay 16TB version is $1399.

Pricing for the Seagate NAS Pro starts at $749 for the two-bay 4TB version, and goes up to $2599 for the six-bay 24TB version.

The NAS devices are supported by a three-year warranty, which encompasses both the chassis and the drives inside. When purchased pre-configured with the drives, the specific model of each hard drive is known, and a faulty drive can be swapped out and replaced without the entire NAS being shipped off.

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Elias Plastiras
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