What is the best NAS for disaster recovery?

Having a reliable backup and disaster recovery solution in place is crucial for any business. A Network Attached Storage (NAS) device is one of the best options for on-site backup and recovery. But with so many NAS products on the market, how do you choose the right one for disaster recovery?

The key factors to consider when selecting a NAS for disaster recovery include:

  • Reliability and durability of the hardware
  • Data protection and redundancy features
  • Ability to replicate data offsite
  • Ease of recovery after a disaster
  • Remote accessibility
  • Scalability to meet future needs

In this article, we will compare the best NAS systems for disaster recovery and business continuity based on these criteria. We will provide an overview of the key features, pros and cons, and ideal use cases to help you select the right NAS for your environment.

What are the most important factors when choosing a NAS for disaster recovery?

When evaluating NAS devices for robust disaster recovery capabilities, the most important factors to consider are:

  • Reliability and durability: The NAS hardware itself needs to be dependable and resilient. Look for enterprise-grade components, redundant power supplies, high mean time between failures (MTBF) ratings, extended warranties and advanced cooling systems.
  • RAID configurations: The NAS should support RAID data protection. Optimal RAID levels for disaster recovery are RAID 10, RAID 6 or RAID 60, which provide a mix of performance, capacity and fault tolerance.
  • Backups: The NAS should make it easy to schedule and manage backups for both on-site and off-site replication. Look for built-in backup software as well as support for popular third-party backup tools.
  • Drive bays and storage scalability: More drive bays allow for future storage expansion. The NAS should support adding additional drives as needed.
  • Virtualization support: The ability to run VMs and backups of virtual machines on the NAS improves recovery time objectives (RTO).
  • Data security: Encryption, access controls, firewall support and other security features protect backed-up data against unauthorized access.

Prioritizing these robust data protection and availability features will ensure you choose a NAS that can reliably recover your data and systems after a disaster.

What are the top NAS systems for disaster recovery?

Here are our top picks for NAS devices specifically geared for business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities:

Synology DiskStation DS2419+

The Synology DiskStation DS2419+ is an enterprise-grade 12-bay NAS packed with disaster recovery features. Highlights include:

  • Dual Intel Xeon processors provide excellent performance.
  • Link aggregation offers transfer speeds up to 2,400 MB/sec read and 1,200 MB/sec write.
  • Up to 192 GB DDR4 ECC RAM boosts intensive backup tasks.
  • Onboard 10GbE ports support high-speed network and replication traffic.
  • Btrfs file system with checksums detects data corruption and integrates multiple drives into storage pools.
  • Backups can be configured to run automatically to local shared folders, external drives and cloud services.
  • Advanced snapshot technology allows point-in-time recovery.
  • Supports Hyper-V, Citrix, VMware for backing up virtual machines.

With its high-availability design, extensive storage capacity and broad backup capabilities, the Synology DS2419+ is ideal for small to medium businesses. It provides comprehensive data protection both on-premises and off-site.


The QNAP TS-932X is a high-performance 9-bay NAS aimed at SMBs. Key features include:

  • AMD Ryzen quad-core processor and up to 16 GB DDR4 RAM provide speed for virtualization.
  • Supports SSD caching and 10GbE connectivity.
  • HDMI output allows direct connection to a monitor for local management.
  • QTS operating system has a wide range of backup capabilities built-in.
  • Snapshots and replication support disaster recovery.
  • Can act as a backup target for PCs and servers.
  • Integrates with Veeam, Acronis and other backup software.
  • Provides remote access via cloud link for managing backups remotely.

With excellent virtualization capabilities and flexible cloud-based disaster recovery features, the QNAP TS-932X is a good choice for small business environments.

Dell EMC PowerVault ME4 Series

The Dell EMC PowerVault ME4 Series are enterprise-focused SAS and SATA storage arrays designed for data integrity. Features that make these good NAS options for disaster recovery include:

  • Dual controllers provide active-active redundancy.
  • Supports up to 60 drives with expansion enclosures.
  • Self-encrypting drive (SED) support for security.
  • Wide range of RAID options including RAID 6 and RAID 10.
  • Snapshots, replication, cloning and mirroring for recoverability.
  • Disk scrubbing and intra-disk parity for data integrity checks.
  • Seamless integration with Data Domain and Avamar for backup.
  • Cloud Tier appliance option for archiving cold data to public cloud.

With enterprise-class availability, extensive capacity and built-in backup integration, the Dell EMC PowerVault ME4 series is ideal for larger organizations and remote offices.

What are the advantages of using a NAS versus a traditional backup server for disaster recovery?

Using a purpose-built NAS platform for on-site backups and disaster recovery has several key advantages compared to traditional backup servers:

  • Reliability: NAS devices are engineered for 24/7 operation with redundant components, hot-swappable drives, multiple networking ports and other fault-tolerant features.
  • Better performance: Specialized NAS operating systems are optimized specifically for storage, backup and recovery versus running everything on a general server OS.
  • More scalable: Most NAS devices allow expanding storage capacity by just adding more drives. Regular servers have limited internal drive bays.
  • Hardware cost savings: Buying an all-in-one NAS appliance is often less expensive than having to purchase and configure separate backup software, drives and server hardware.
  • Simplified data management: Centralized administration of backups from a single NAS interface rather than managing multiple backup servers.
  • Space savings: Compact NAS devices take up less room in the data center versus full-size servers and expansive DAS/SAN arrays.
  • Power efficiency: Purpose-built NAS units consume less power compared to backup servers and enterprise storage systems.

The streamlined architecture, fault tolerance and storage efficiency of modern NAS platforms make them better suited for on-site backup, archiving and disaster recovery systems versus traditional backup servers.

How does replication help with disaster recovery using NAS?

Replication capabilities are one of the key advantages of using NAS for disaster recovery. Replicating backups from the main NAS to a secondary NAS at a remote site provides an offsite copy of data for recovery in case of site disaster.

Here are some of the ways NAS replication aids disaster recovery:

  • Affordable offsite replication: NAS replication provides cost-effective offsite backups versus sending tapes offsite. Only changed blocks are replicated to the remote NAS to conserve bandwidth.
  • Data mirroring: Continuous or scheduled replication results in an up-to-date copy of data at the disaster recovery site.
  • Quick RTO: In the event of a disaster, production systems can be restored quickly from the offsite NAS backup, minimizing downtime.
  • Encrypted replication: Data can be encrypted during replication for secure transfer over WAN links.
  • Global file locking: Access controls prevent conflicting dual writes between sites during replication.
  • Failure alerts: Alert notifications if the replication job fails or the remote NAS goes offline.
  • Versioning: Some NAS platforms support snapshot replication, providing access to previous versions of files.

Overall, NAS-to-NAS replication provides reliable and efficient replication for keeping an up-to-date copy of backup data offsite for complete disaster recovery protection.

What are some disaster recovery best practices when using NAS systems?

To make sure you are fully leveraging the disaster recovery capabilities of your NAS, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use enterprise-class NAS models designed for high-availability versus consumer-grade devices.
  • Configure RAID 10 or RAID 6 for optimal data redundancy.
  • Enable drive hot spares to allow automatic rebuild of degraded arrays.
  • Use solid state drives for storage tiers that need higher performance.
  • Take advantage of native backup capabilities like snapshots and cloning.
  • Automate on-site and off-site backup jobs instead of relying on manual processes.
  • Replicate backups to a secondary NAS at a remote facility for an offsite copy.
  • Encrypt backup data both locally and during replication.
  • Test restores on a regular basis to validate recoverability.
  • Monitor NAS system health proactively with comprehensive alerting.

Planning ahead for rapid recovery and implementing reliable backup schedules is critical. Documented disaster recovery runbooks help guide the recovery process during an actual event. Following NAS best practices for backup and recovery will provide robust protections suitable for most business requirements.

What questions should you ask vendors when choosing a NAS for disaster recovery?

These are some important questions to ask when evaluating NAS solutions for your disaster recovery needs:

  • What enterprise data protection and high-availability features come built-in?
  • What backup technologies like snapshots, cloning or replication are supported?
  • What RAID levels are available? Are RAID 6 and RAID 10 supported?
  • Can the NAS integrate with major backup software applications?
  • Does the NAS replicate backups to another NAS at a remote site?
  • Does the NAS support virtual machine backups? What hypervisors are supported?
  • Is military-grade encryption available for securing backups locally and during replication?
  • Can I scale storage capacity and performance as needed through additional drives or SSD caching?
  • What redundancy features are included, such as redundant power supplies, controllers or fans?
  • What monitoring capabilities are available for health checks and alerts?

Getting specific answers to these questions will help validate if a particular NAS model can meet your business requirements for resilience, data security and recoverability after disaster.

How can you estimate the amount of NAS storage needed for disaster recovery?

Properly sizing your NAS capacity is important to make sure you have ample room to maintain all required backups and recovery points on-site. Here are tips for estimating required NAS storage for disaster recovery:

  • Calculate total storage needed for the source data being protected, such as documents, databases, virtual machine images, email, etc.
  • Estimate expected data growth over 3-5 years.
  • Factor in storage needs for keeping multiple recovery points based on backup frequency and retention policies. For example, figure 4x storage for weekly full backups retained for 1 month.
  • Include capacity required for temporary storage of backups before offsite replication.
  • Account for overhead of data protection methods like snapshots or cloning which make copies of data sets.
  • Consider need for archives or object storage for old but still accessible data.
  • Add at least 25% extra capacity headroom to accomodate unforeseen growth.

Performing a storage assessment and capacity plan tailored to your backup schedule, retention and growth requirements will help determine your ideal NAS size for disaster recovery purposes.


Having a sound disaster recovery strategy is a key responsibility for any business to ensure they can stay operating when adverse events occur. A Network Attached Storage system purpose-built for data protection and availability is an excellent technology choice for on-site backup and recovery.

Look for enterprise NAS models with redundancy, security and replication capabilities to meet your unique DR requirements. Implementing modern NAS allows affordable scaling of reliable backup storage on-premises while also replicating backups offsite for complete data protection.

Carefully considering your backup storage needs, recovery objectives and long-term growth will ensure you select the right NAS solution for cost-effective business continuity and disaster recovery.