Is there a SSD NAS?

Yes, there are solid state drive (SSD) network attached storage (NAS) devices available. NAS devices are centralized, high capacity storage devices that allow multiple users and devices on a network to store, access and share data. While traditional NAS devices use spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) for storage, SSD NAS options provide faster performance and data access.

What is a NAS?

A NAS or network attached storage device is a dedicated file storage server that connects to a local area network (LAN). A NAS contains one or more hard drives that are accessible over the network to authorized users. This allows multiple devices and users to store, backup, share and access files in a central location.

Compared to external USB hard drives or cloud storage, a NAS offers the benefit of on-premises high capacity storage that can be accessed by all devices on the network. NAS devices also typically include RAID technology to provide redundancy and protect against drive failures. Many NAS systems are designed to be always on and accessible.

Key features and benefits of a NAS include:

– Centralized storage – Store all data in one place and access it from anywhere on the network
– Shared access – Allows multiple users and devices to access and share files
– High capacity – Scalable to terabytes of storage with multiple drive bays
– Data protection – Offers RAID, snapshots and backups to protect and recover data
– Remote access – Access files remotely over the internet when needed
– Streaming – Many NAS support media streaming to smart TVs, game consoles and mobile devices
– User management – Set permissions and quotas for different users
– Hardware flexibility – Can accommodate both HDDs and SSDs in many cases

SSD vs HDD Performance Differences

The main differentiator between an SSD NAS and HDD NAS is the performance. This comes down to the technology used by solid state drives (SSDs) versus traditional spinning hard disk drives (HDDs).

SSDs use flash memory chips to store data and have no moving parts. This gives SSDs a huge performance advantage over HDDs:

– Faster access times – SSDs can access data in microseconds versus milliseconds for HDDs
– Higher read/write speeds – SSDs offer significantly faster sequential read/write throughput
– Lower latency – Virtually zero seek time for SSDs compared to HDDs
– More resilience – SSDs are less prone to damage from vibration, movement etc

In real world usage, this translates to much faster load times when opening files or accessing data on a SSD NAS compared to a HDD NAS. Things like transferring files, streaming media, accessing backups and launching applications from a NAS will be significantly quicker with SSDs.

For most home and office users, a SSD NAS provides a much snappier and responsive experience compared to HDD NAS devices. The higher performance removes storage bottlenecks and latency when accessing data.

Types of SSD NAS Products

There are a few main categories of SSD NAS products available from leading vendors:

– **All flash** – These NAS contain only SSDs with no HDD bays. Offer the highest performance but lower capacities.

– **Hybrid** – Combine both SSD and HDD storage. Use SSDs for caching or tiering to improve performance while still offering high HDD capacities.

– **SSD cache** – HDD NAS with dedicated M.2 or PCIe SSD slots for caching recently accessed data. Provides a performance boost over HDD-only.

– **Customizable bays** – NAS enclosures with bays that support both HDDs and SSDs. Allows flexible drive configurations.

Within these types, NAS can support different RAID levels like RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10 using SSDs for enhanced performance and protection. Manufacturers also offer both pre-configured NAS devices as well as diskless enclosures for custom DIY builds.

Benefits of a SSD NAS

Upgrading to a SSD NAS or adding SSDs to an existing NAS can provide several key advantages:

**Faster access to files and data**
By storing files, documents, media and backups on SSD disks rather than HDDs, users can open, access and transfer data much quicker thanks to the faster read/write speeds.

**Improved bandwidth for streaming**
For media streaming, SSDs can better handle multiple simultaneous streams and deliver smooth playback, reducing buffering.

**Quick application and game launch times**
Using SSD storage provides faster launch times for applications, games and programs stored on the NAS.

**More responsive backups and snapshots**
Backing up large amounts of data to a HDD NAS can be slow. SSDs speed up backup jobs and snapshot creation.

**Higher performance virtual machines**
Running virtual machines from a NAS, SSDs offer faster host and guest OS performance.

**Faster database access**
For database hosting, SSDs mean much lower latency and quicker queries.

**Speed up rendering times**
For video editing and 3D rendering workflows, SSDs accelerate project timelines.

By upgrading key data workflows to SSD storage on a NAS, businesses and home users can benefit from a snappier experience and time savings on many tasks. While SSDs still carry a price premium, the performance benefits often justify the higher cost for many usage scenarios.

Top SSD NAS Products

There are a number of leading NAS vendors that offer SSD options and support:

Synology SSD NAS

Synology is one of the most popular NAS providers for home and business use. Many of their NAS systems offer SSD cache support or hybrid drive configurations:

– **SSD Cache** – Entry level Synology NAS like the DS220j can add an M.2 SATA SSD for caching. Higher end models like the DS1621+ have dedicated M.2 NVMe SSD cache slots.

– **Hybrid RAID** – Certain Synology models support Hybrid RAID which automatically tiers hot data to SSDs for faster performance.

– **All SSD bays** – Higher end Synology NAS like the SA3600 have dedicated SSD bays for all flash configurations.

– **M.2 NVMe SSD slots** – Newer Synology units like the DS2422+ have built-in M.2 NVMe slots for SSD caching.

Synology NAS run the DiskStation Manager (DSM) OS which has advanced features like file sharing, backups, virtualization, media streaming, caching, Link Aggregation and SSD read/write caching.

Overall Synology NAS provide excellent SSD options and performance for home office and small business use cases.


QNAP is another leading NAS vendor that supports SSD integration and caching:

– **HybridMount** – QNAP’s HybridMount software automatically tiers data between SSDs and HDDs in real-time to boost performance.

– **Qtier** – Uses SSD for auto-tiering less accessed data from HDDs via scheduled tiers.

– **SSD cache** – Most QNAP NAS have M.2 or PCIe slots for SSD caching to speed up access.

– **All flash models** – High end QNAP NAS like the TVS-hx74 offer all flash SSD configurations.

– **ZFS support** – QNAP offers ZFS on some models which has advanced SSD caching capabilities.

QNAP’s QTS OS has a similar wide range of functionality as Synology DSM. Overall QNAP NAS provide robust SSD options from consumer to enterprise use cases.

Asustor SSD NAS

Asustor NAS also integrate well with SSDs:

– **SSD Cache** – Asustor NAS have dedicated emplacements for M.2 SATA or NVMe SSDs to enable caching.

– **Hybrid Wizard** – The built-in Hybrid Wizard automatically tiers data between SSDs and HDDs.

– **All flash** – Asustor offers all flash SSD NAS models like the AS6510T for high performance.

– **SSD-optimized file system** – Asustor uses an SSD-optimized file system for improved read/write speeds.

– **RAID support** – Asustor NAS support various RAID levels like RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 using SSDs.

Asustor uses the ADM OS which has a wide range of apps and features like the other NAS vendors. Overall Asustor NAS integrate well with SSDs for caching and storage.


Beyond commercial NAS units, there are also options to build your own DIY SSD NAS:

TrueNAS and OpenZFS

TrueNAS is open-source storage OS that is built on OpenZFS. Key features include:

– **SSD caching and tiering** – OpenZFS has advanced caching and auto-tiering capabilities to accelerate storage pools.

– **Flash optimized** – TrueNAS uses a flash optimized ZFS file system to deliver high performance SSD pools.

– **RAIDZ expansion** – Supports RAID equivalents like RAIDZ1, RAIDZ2 etc using SSDs.

– **All flash support** – TrueNAS allows creating all flash storage pools.

– **Flexible hardware** – Can be installed on most commodity hardware for a DIY NAS.

For users wanting maximum configuration flexibility, TrueNAS CORE offers advanced SSD features, optimization and scalability.


Unraid is another popular DIY NAS OS:

– **SSD cache pool** – Unraid allows creating a cache pool with fast SSDs to accelerate HDD arrays.

– **Many drive formats** – Supports combining SSDs and HDDs in different formats.

– **Lower cost** – Leverages mixed drive types to provide SSD caching at a lower overall cost.

For home and small office users, Unraid makes it easy to build a DIY NAS with SSD caching on standard hardware.

Windows and Linux

Using Windows, Linux and popular file systems like ZFS also allow creating DIY NAS configurations with SSDs:

– **ZFS** – As mentioned above, ZFS on Linux supports advanced SSD caching, tiering and pooling.

– **Windows Storage Spaces** – Storage Spaces on Windows Server supports tiering SSDs and HDDs.

– **Linux MDADM** – Can use MDADM to create custom RAID arrays on Linux, including SSD stripes.

– **Samba sharing** – Samba easily enables network sharing of the SSD storage pools on Windows and Linux.

For advanced computer users, DIY NAS builds using standard platforms allow customizing SSD hardware and configurations.

SSD vs HDD NAS Costs

The main tradeoff with SSD NAS devices is the higher cost per gigabyte versus traditional hard drive based NAS units. Some cost considerations when comparing SSD and HDD NAS options:

– **SSDs higher $/GB** – Currently around 4-5x the cost per gigabyte for SATA SSDs versus HDDs. NVMe SSDs have an even higher cost per gigabyte.

– **Lower capacity SSDs** – Most consumer SSDs max out at 4-8TB per drive. High capacity HDDs go up to 18TB+.

– **Hybrid for balance** – Using a smaller SSD alongside larger HDDs offers a balance of capacity and performance for budget buyers.

– **Caching improves value** – SSD caching provides much of the performance benefit while still primarily relying on larger HDDs for main storage.

– **Prices declining** – While still higher, SSD prices continue to slowly decline year over year, improving cost considerations.

– **Value from speed** – If the performance benefits of SSDs accelerate key workloads, it can justify the higher price for some buyers.

While SSD NAS remain more expensive than HDD NAS, the technology continues to improve in cost and capabilities each year. For many buyers, the added speed and performance outweigh the higher prices when used for primary workloads.


SSD based network attached storage provides a major performance advantage over traditional hard drive based NAS devices. Leading NAS vendors like Synology, QNAP and Asustor all offer excellent options to integrate SSDs via dedicated slots, tiering, caching and all flash bays. For DIY buyers, TrueNAS and other open source platforms allow building customized SSD NAS solutions on standard hardware.

While SSD NAS remain more expensive per gigabyte versus HDD NAS, the plummeting price of SSDs along with the major speed benefits make it a worthwhile investment for many buyers. For use cases like hosting virtual machines, databases, video editing or as primary network storage, SSD NAS deliver a much snappier experience over their HDD counterparts.

Factors like required capacity, network bandwidth, simultaneous users and budget play a role in choosing between SSD, HDD or hybrid NAS configurations. But with SSD prices continuously dropping, all flash and hybrid NAS provide an increasingly compelling product segment as mainstream SSD adoption accelerates.