Why virtualise your NAS environment?
Seagate NAS (2-bay) 8TB storage device
Ease of use is a hallmark of this device, and it's a good one to choose if you're a newbie to the NAS scene
- Easy to use interface
- Simple remote access and file manager
- Not as fast as other NAS devices we've seen
- Small selection of apps
A good NAS to consider if you are not experienced with NAS devices. Ease of use is high, and even things such as remote access can be set up with a minimum of fuss. Suitable for small businesses with a handful of users, and also for home offices and families.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
If you ask Seagate, network attached storage (NAS) devices are no longer IT-driven, but instead crossing over to the mainstream. For this reason, it makes sense that NAS devices for home office users and families be easy to install and maintain. The Seagate NAS (which is as matter-of-factly named as any tech product on the Aussie market) attempts to be simplistic both in terms of the way the drives are set up, and in the way it can be configured.
Physically, the Seagate NAS is available as either a 2-bay or a 4-bay unit, with capacities ranging from 2TB to 10TB for the 2-bay, and 4TB to 20TB for the 4-bay. We had a look at a 2-bay, 8TB device for this review, which came equipped with two 4TB hard drives, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and a USB 3.0 port. Setting up the NAS drive was a matter of plugging it in to our wireless router, switching it on, and going through the Windows Network folder to find it and drag files onto it.
The drives were already using what Seagate calls its SimplyRAID technology, which is technology that assesses the capacity of the drives that are installed and then applies the best solution for maximising the space while also keeping the data redundant. It’s designed so that users don’t have to know anything about the various types of RAID arrays. It left 3.9TB usable on our drive.
You’ll want to know what the drive’s IP address is in order to log in to it and make use of all its features. You can use the dicsover.seagate.com address, which will attempt to find it for you, but if that doesn’t succeed, you can download and install the Network Assistant tool off Seagate’s Web site (do a search for it), which will find your drive and ask you whether you want to access the drive’s contents or log in to its Web interface.
When you log in to the drive’s interface, you are met by a clean operating system (Seagate’s NAS OS4) which displays the main features that are installed by default. There is the Device Manager, which is where you can adjust all of the NAS device’s settings; then there is a File Browser, which comes in very handy when you want to access the NAS from a remote location; then you have a Download Manager that allows you to work with torrent files, and then a Backup Manager that allows you to back up the contents of the NAS either to another NAS device (rsync is supported), or to a USB drive. Apple Time Machine is also supported.
Read more: Seagate Wireless Plus 2TB hard drive
At the end of the row of icons is the App Manager. If you’re familiar with other NAS devices (such as those from Asustor, Synology, and Thecus), you will know that apps form a big part of their overall ecosystem, with download managers, anti-virus, surveillance recording, email and Web servers, and many other applications available to add functions to the NAS and make it much more than just a simple storage device.
For the Seagate NAS, the selection of extra apps is limited to a small number at the moment, and you can download them all if you have interest in doing so. They will appear on the main page of the NAS after they are installed. We added all of the apps that were available at the time of writing, including the AntiVirus scanner, ownCloud, and WordPress apps.
Head to the Device Manager when you want to do things such as add share folders, users, and to implement access permissions for those folders and users. You can also see which services are available to run on the NAS (by default it has Windows and Mac file services enabled), and you can also monitor the NAS’s performance and drive space.
There is a remote access feature that can be enabled and set up to work using Seagate’s MyNAS Web site. It’s a matter of selecting a name for the drive’s URL, and also making sure that you have a strong password set up for the NAS so that not just anyone can log in to the device, should they find out what your URL is. Once it’s all up and running, the Seagate MyNAS site will keep a tab on the IP address of your NAS, so that it will always be remotely accessible. We found it to be a very easy solution for remote access, and it allowed us to make use of all of the drive’s features, as well as download files through the File Manager.
One of the neat things about this NAS is that it allows you to very simply set up an iSCSI target. Essentially, this means that you can allocate some space on the NAS device that will then show up on a local computer as if it were a local hard drive. The user will be able to use the iSCSI drive as if it were another hard drive on their system, rather than a network drive.
To get iSCSI running on a Windows computer, simply do a search for ‘iSCSI’ and Windows will ask you if you want to enable the service and then bring up the settings box through which you will need to put in your Seagate NAS device’s IP address. Then, you will have to go into your Drive Manager and format the iSCSI drive just as you would any other local drive. Once that’s done, it will be ready to use.
In terms of performance, the Seagate NAS isn’t as quick as other devices that we’ve looked at, but it’s decent. Using a Billion 8800AXL router and Gigabit Ethernet connections to a desktop PC and the Seagate NAS, the Seagate NAS recorded a write rate of 47.7 megabytes per second (MBps), and a read rate of 61.35MBps. To put it in perspective, a Thecus N2310 NAS device running WD Red hard drives on the same network recorded a write rate of 82.10MBps and a read rate of 102.4MBps. When we nuked the SimplyRAID and created our own RAID 1 array, the Seagate’s write rate stayed largely the same, but the read rate improved to 71.73MBps.
Speed isn’t the end goal of the Seagate NAS. Instead, it’s meant to be a NAS device that requires little effort to install and maintain. We think it’s a relevant device in this respect and feel that its interface is one that is indeed one of the simplest on the market. Even more technical aspects of the drive, such as setting up remote access and iSCSI could be enabled with minimal fuss.
Overall, we recommend you consider the Seagate NAS if you’re a new NAS user and don’t want to spend too much time pondering how things are meant to work.
There is a Seagate NAS Pro available, which offers a more powerful Intel processor (compared to the 1.2GHz Marvell CPU in the regular NAS) and higher capacities due to being available with up to six drive bays. Like the Seagate NAS, the Seagate NAS Pro also runs Seagate's NAS OS 4 and makes use of SimplyRAID.
Seagate NAS and NAS Pro prices
Seagate NAS 2-bay 4TB: $549
Seagate NAS 2-bay 8TB: $699
Seagate NAS 4-bay 4TB: $699
Seagate NAS 4-bay 8TB: $899
Seagate NAS 4-bay 16TB: $1,299
Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay 4TB: $719
Seagate NAS Pro 2-bay 8TB: $899
Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay 8TB: $1,199
Seagate NAS Pro 4-bay 16TB: $1,699
Seagate NAS Pro 6-bay 6TB: $1,199
Seagate NAS Pro 6-bay 12TB: $1,980
Seagate NAS Pro 6-bay 24TB: $2,599
Seagate NAS Pro 6-bay 30TB: $3,299
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