Having a reliable and efficient NAS (network-attached storage) solution is crucial for any organization to protect their data against potential disasters. Selecting the right NAS system for your disaster recovery needs can be a daunting task given the many options available. This article provides a comprehensive guide to choosing the best NAS for disaster recovery based on factors like data protection levels, scalability, affordability, and ease of use.
Why is a NAS important for disaster recovery?
A NAS is a dedicated file storage device that enables consolidated data access for clients on a local area network. Unlike general-purpose servers, NAS systems are optimized for storing and retrieving files efficiently. Here are some key reasons why a NAS is ideal for disaster recovery needs:
- Offers shared storage space for backups – A NAS allows centralizing backup data storage for all connected devices on a network instead of relying on individual backups.
- Supports redundancy features – NAS systems allow setting up RAID configurations to store redundant copies of data to protect against drive failures.
- Facilitates off-site backups – Backups can be replicated from a main NAS to a secondary DR NAS at a remote site for off-site data protection.
- Enables faster data recovery – In case of a disaster, critical data can be restored quickly from the NAS compared to off-line backup tapes or clouds.
- Scalable capacity – NAS capacity can be expanded easily by adding more drives as per evolving backup storage needs.
In summary, a NAS is purpose-built for data protection and disaster recovery scenarios making it a wise investment for organizations.
What capabilities are most important in a DR NAS system?
When evaluating NAS systems for disaster recovery, focus on models that come with these key features:
- Backup support – The NAS should support all common backup methods like snapshots, replication, cloning, archiving etc.
- Redundancy – It must provide RAID configuration options like RAID 10, RAID 6 etc. for optimum data protection.
- Disaster recovery – One-touch failover and failback between primary and secondary NAS is desirable.
- Versioning – The system should allow maintaining multiple backup versions for granular restore.
- Read/write speeds – Ensure the NAS offers high transfer speeds to support backup and recovery of large volumes of data.
- Scalability – It should support adding more HDDs/SSDs in future to expand capacity and performance.
- Caching – Having SSD caching will improve read/write speeds for hot data.
- Network interfaces – Look for 1GbE/10GbE/40GbE NICs as per network bandwidth needs.
- Disk bays – More disk bays allow building in redundancy through RAID.
- Hot swappable – Drives should be hot swappable to allow replacing failed drives without downtime.
- Dual power supplies – Redundant PSUs ensure uptime during power failures.
- ECC RAM – Error-correcting code memory safeguards against data corruption.
- Intuitive interface – Web-based and easy to use management dashboard.
- Monitoring – Ability to monitor health metrics like disk usage, I/O, caches etc.
- Alerting – Programmable alert thresholds and notifications on events.
- Reporting – Built-in or add-on reporting for operational insights.
- Scripting – Support for customizable scripts and automation of tasks.
- Access control – Granular user access permissions and quotas.
- Encryption – Volume-level AES-256 bit encryption for data security.
- Protocols – Secure data protocols like HTTPS, SSH, and SFTP.
- VPN support – Site-to-site VPN for secure remote connectivity.
Prioritizing these key aspects will help select a future-proof NAS that can scale with evolving backup and DR needs.
Top NAS brands for disaster recovery
When looking for a reliable DR NAS, go with reputed brands that have a proven track record in data protection solutions. Here are some leading options:
Synology is one of the top NAS vendors focused on delivering feature-rich yet affordable data management solutions. Some examples of their DR-ready NAS systems are:
- DiskStation DS2422+ – 12 bay desktop NAS with up to 140 TB storage.
- RackStation RS4021xs+ – High-performance 12 bay rackmount NAS.
- DiskStation DS3622xs+ – Scalable 12 bay desktop NAS for SMBs.
QNAP is another leading NAS provider that offers a wide selection of NAS devices suited for data protection needs. Some of their top models include:
- TS-h2490FU – High-end 24 bay rackmount NAS.
- TVS-h1688X – Cost-effective 16 bay hybrid NAS.
- TS-832PXU-RP – 8 bay rackmount NAS with SSD caching.
Asustor NAS systems provide comprehensive backup apps and cross-platform file access. Their DR-oriented models are:
- AS6604T – 64 bay NAS for large storage environments.
- AS1104T v2 – Cost-optimized 4 bay tower NAS.
- AS6508T – 8 bay rackmount NAS for SMBs.
Buffalo offers affordable NAS devices equipped with standard data protection and high availability features. Some examples are:
- TeraStation 5410DN – High capacity 8 bay desktop NAS.
- TeraStation 3410DN – 4 bay rackmount NAS for ROBO sites.
- TeraStation 3010 – 2 bay entry-level desktop NAS.
When shortlisting models, evaluate their redundancy features, capacity limits, connectivity options, and ease of management.
Key considerations when choosing a DR NAS
Along with the NAS product itself, factor in these additional aspects for your DR infrastructure:
The NAS platform should be compatible with major backup software applications like Veeam, Commvault, Veritas NetBackup etc. This allows leveraging powerful data protection capabilities beyond basic NAS snapshots and cloning.
To build a comprehensive DR plan, you need off-site backups as well. The NAS should allow backup replication or archival to public clouds like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud etc.
For efficient utilization of backup storage, opt for NAS models that support global deduplication across multiple backup jobs and locations.
A hybrid NAS with SSD and HDD tiers provides performance benefits for backup workloads. Hot data resides on SSDs for faster access while colder data goes to HDDs for affordability.
Calculate your long-term capacity requirements and choose a NAS that can scale-up through additional storage expansion units.
Ease of use
Look for NAS devices with intuitive web UIs that make ongoing management easy without the need for extensive training.
Check the availability of timely technical support for the NAS vendor to resolve any issues faced during deployment or operations.
How much does a disaster recovery NAS system cost?
The cost of a NAS system for disaster recovery depends on multiple factors like storage capacity, availability levels, drive types, networking, form factor, and software features.
Here is an overview of the starting price range for DR-ready NAS devices from different vendors:
|NAS Vendor||Starting Price Range|
|Synology||$500 – $1500|
|QNAP||$800 – $2000|
|Asustor||$600 – $1000|
|Buffalo||$300 – $1200|
|Netgear||$400 – $1000|
|TerraMaster||$400 – $1800|
More advanced NAS systems from leading vendors that are optimized for large backup storage environments can cost from $5000 upwards.
To build a complete disaster recovery solution, you will need to budget additional for aspects like:
- Backup software licensing
- archive storage in public clouds
- Replication bandwidth between sites
- Support and maintenance costs
Plan your DR NAS purchase by allocating approximately 25-30% of your overall backup infrastructure budget for the primary NAS system.
Investing in a dedicated NAS platform tailored for disaster recovery requirements is crucial to protect your organizational data against catastrophic loss. Leading NAS vendors like Synology, QNAP, Asustor, and Buffalo offer reliable models that can fit DR needs of all scales and budgets. Look for NAS systems that offer comprehensive data protection, high performance, redundancy, security, and manageability at an affordable total cost of ownership. Match your business goals, RTO/RPO targets, and future growth projections when sizing and selecting the right DR NAS model. With a purpose-built NAS at the heart of your BCDR architecture, you can ensure resilient data availability despite disruptive disasters.