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Best NAS boxes for small business
Boatloads of storage
best nas boxes small business 1

If you're looking for a desktop Network Attached Storage device, the current crop of NAS appliances should make you happy. Every box we tested worked well, provided boatloads of storage, and many cost less today per terabyte than they did just a few years ago. Four of the seven units we tested come with enough software, mostly free open source applications, to run a complete small business and provide Web hosting. The seven products are from QNAP, Thecus, ZyXEL, ioSafe, Buffalo, Netgear and D-Link. ALSO, CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW OF SOFTWARE-BASED NAS.

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Review: Best NAS boxes for small business

It's a good thing storage keeps getting less expensive because we keep needing more of it. And if you're looking for a desktop Network Attached Storage device, the current crop of NAS appliances should make you happy. Every box we tested worked well, provided boatloads of storage, and many cost less today per terabyte than they did just a few years ago.

One trend in NAS appliances is to push the boundary and try to become application servers, not just storage devices. Four of these seven units come with enough software, mostly free open source applications, to run a complete small business and provide Web hosting besides. Software options include multiple versions of popular programs like CRMs, Web servers, content management systems for those Web services, and even full accounting and HR packages. Two of them include Asterisk, so your storage box can also host VoIP server software.

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(Insider Story)
Review: 7 data recovery tools for every data disaster

Storage media is more reliable than it’s ever been. But while drive failures are fewer and further between, technology improvements do nothing to protect you from the No. 1 cause of data loss: human error. It’s devastating to lose the only copy you have of any file -- that important document or irreplaceable photo -- all because you mistakenly formatted the wrong drive or hit Delete too quickly. It’s even more infuriating when you have only yourself to blame.

The good news is that the tools for recovering data from disk drives, SSDs, SD cards, USB drives, and most every other kind of media continue to grow in power, ease, and versatility. The hardest part may not be the recovery itself, but sorting through the welter of tools available and figuring out which one is best for dealing with your particular disaster.

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(Insider Story)
SSD shootout: PCI Express blows away SATA and M.2 in throughput testing

For the better part of a decade now, the traditional interface for hard drives has been Serial ATA (SATA). With the advent of the solid state drive (SSD), new interfaces have come into play designed to speed up throughput, because the SATA interface has rapidly become the bottleneck in drive speed.

When SATA was first introduced in 2003, its 1.5Gbps of throughput seemed more than adequate for 7,200 RPM drives. The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the trade group that collectively developed SATA, has since increased throughput to 3Gbps for SATA II and then 6Gbps for SATA III.

A SATA 3.2 spec, with 16Gbps, was introduced in 2013 but has been slow to gain traction. SATA 3.2 is also known as SATA Express since it supports both the legacy SATA III interface as well as connections to PCI Express lanes on the motherboard.

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(Insider Story)
Review: Software-based NAS options for the storage do-it-yourselfer

Software-based Network Attached Storage (NAS) is perfect for the do-it-yourselfer who doesn’t want to buy a pre-packaged appliance. With software-based NAS, you load the software onto the device of your choice -- whether it's a PC, server, or virtual machine. You can even run software-based NAS in the cloud.

For this review, we looked at FreeNAS, NexentaStor, Open-E DSS V7, Openfiler, and SoftNAS Cloud and Windows Storage Server 2012 R2.

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD: VMware CEO talks about Cisco feud +

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(Insider Story)
M.2 SSD roundup: Tiny drives deliver huge performance

No, M.2 (pronounced M-dot-two) is not a government spy organization or secret project. It’s a small-form-factor (SFF) multi-purpose connector designed to replace the small mSATA and mini-PCIe slots commonly used in laptops. As such, M.2 isn’t designed strictly for storage, (it supports USB, SATA, and PCIe), but storage is a large part of what’s driving its adoption—even on the desktop.

Say what? The thing is, M.2’s PCIe connectivity has coincided nicely with the migration of SSD drives to PCIe, to sidestep the 600MBps limitation of the SATA bus. The marriage of PCIe and the SSD has resulted in uber-fast storage for your PC.

pcie versus sata

PCIe SSDs simply blow their SATA brethren out of the water in terms of sequential throughput, and in the case of NVMe, queued small writes.

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Seagate will cut 6,500 staff despite uptick in hard disk demand

Seagate Technology will cut about 6,500 jobs worldwide, or 14 percent of its workforce, with most of the cuts in manufacturing jobs, it said Monday.

The data storage maker had said in June that it was aiming to cut 1,600 employees, or 3 percent of its global workforce, by the end of the September quarter to trim costs, but the new announcement suggests that the company feels the need to reduce costs further as its hard disk drives battle in a slowing PC market amid the emergence of flash storage in devices.

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD 2016 tech industry graveyard +

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Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel meets the needs of a digital world

In the late 1800s, Mark Twain was rumored to have said, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” If Mark Twain were a technology, he would be Fibre Channel.

It seems every year some smart industry prognosticator predicts that Ethernet will obviate the need for Fibre Channel, and it will go the way of the dinosaur or the mainframe. But that hasn’t been the case at all. In fact, Fibre Channel is still around and very much alive. Why? Because it’s the best, most cost-effective technology for storage networks. And for most organizations, storage is everything. 

The Fibre Channel fabric connects business applications and users to the mission-critical data that drives the company. This is why almost every large organization that is dependent on data, such as financial services firms, healthcare institutions and retailers, depend on Fibre Channel.

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IT managers critique enterprise flash-storage products

The market for enterprise flash array storage is highly competitive, with traditional storage vendors battling against innovative startups. Tech buyers are typically looking at factors such as ease of use, improved data management, performance, deduplication algorithms, a small footprint and low power usage.

The top enterprise flash array systems on the market include HPE 3PAR, Tintri VMstore, NetApp All Flash FAS, Pure Storage, EMC VNX and Kaminario K2, according to online reviews by enterprise users in the IT Central Station community.

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(Insider Story)
Seagate built a whopping 60TB SSD that it aims ship next year

There aren't many shockers when it comes to storage capacity, but try this one on for size: Seagate has announced a 60TB SSD that may ship as early as next year.

Seagate showed the drive at the Flash Memory Summit in Silicon Valley on Tuesday. It called it a "technology demonstration," which means there could still be a few kinks to work out.

But if Seagate can deliver as planned, the drive would have close to four times the capacity of the largest SSD available currently, Samsung's PM1633a SSD.

The drive will be aimed at servers and flash arrays, where it could help meet the growing demand for storage fueled by mobile devices, online video and the emerging internet of things.

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