In the beginning of this year I, was looking for a new NAS for my home lab. I was curious to what was possible with NAS devices these days. I had a QNAP TS110 back then so I knew something about the NAS-es and what they could do but that was home-use orientated.

So because of the search for a new NAS I thought; let’s share my research with you. And because I would blog about it; let’s do it properly and really test drive the different NASes. I approached 6 vendors that are active and known in the SOHO NAS market; Cisco, Drobo, Iomega, Netgear, QNAP and Synology. Only Drobo couldn’t help us out with a test unit in that period so they are excluded. All the other vendors were able to send us a test unit so thanks for that. Netgear even was so friendly to supply us with 4 proper disks that I could use during the tests, so kudos to Netgear for that!

This is the 3rd comparison that VirtualFuture releases. The previous 2 were comparison charts for Application Virtualization products. This is the first comparison that isn’t really virtualization based but intended for a wider audience. Because of that I’ve chosen not to release this as a whitepaper but as a series of blog posts; I hope you enjoy it!


When you start a comparison the scope is essential. The NAS devices I was looking for had to fit the following needs:

– Affordable (price range between $700 and $1300) without disks

– Must handle SATA disks, to keep the entire solution affordable

– Minimum of 4 disks (ability to do RAID 5 + hot spare)

– Minimal set of protocols: iSCSI and SMB

– Preferably Virtualization Solution certified

This still presented me with a large scope so then we had to see which vendors were mainstream (and of course were cooperative to supply me with 1 or 2 testing units). Therefore I selected the following brands (in alphabetical order) : Cisco, Iomega, Netgear, QNAP and Synology.

But then you realize that these vendors have multiple units available that fit the needs described, so at that point I approached the vendors and aimed for testdriving 4 or 6 bay units that fitted the price range. Not every vendor was able to deliver a unit with exactly these specs but that wasn’t that bad because my main concern in this comparison is the feature set. And since every vendor maintains nearly the same firmware and thus feature set for all their models, the NASes are nevertheless pretty well comparable. You’ll also discover performance tests in this comparison but that’s to give you a general idea, my main focus was feature set and SMB-readiness.

The units we eventually were able to review are:

Cisco NSS324

Iomega IX4-200d

Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 6


Synology DS1511++


Up Next

Well this is how I would like to end this teaser; stay tuned the because the next few days you can expect:

– Product descriptions/reviews
– Feature comparison
– Performance test results
– Conclusions