Seagate unveils new NAS lines for small business

Seagate NAS Pro line includes everything from fully loaded to completely diskless for VARs who prefer to specify their own storage for customers' NASes.

Seagate NAS ProSeagate Technology has announced a new family of NAS desktop solutions aimed at the sub-50 person small business market. The new portfolio includes five NAS products: 2- and 4-bay configurations in the Seagate NAS line, and 2- 4- and 6-bay configurations in the stepped-up NAS Pro line, which have a faster processor.

Technically, these models are the refresh of the Seagate Business Storage line, which has been sold in 1-. 2- and 4-bay configurations. But the technology, and its origin, are completely different, so that they are really separate systems entirely.

“These products are a replacement for the 2- and 4-bay Business Storage line, not an update of them, and the old 1-bay product is gone,” said Patrick Ferguson, product manager at Seagate. “We have been experimenting with various types of NAS offerings over the last 7-8 years, but this is the first time we have gone out to NAS in a big way.”

The technology for the new lines comes from LaCie, which Seagate acquired in 2012. LaCie is best known for its large footprint in Apple Storage, but they also had a strong NAS line, which, unlike the Apple product, has now been entirely branded as Seagate.

“The NAS OS has been around for 10 years in the LaCie family, and went through three generations before they were acquired,” Ferguson said. “The OS was completely rebuilt for OS 3, which was on our rackmount models from last year.” The new system, NAS OS 4, which is much more intuitive than before, is the first done under Seagate, with the former LaCie software development team playing an instrumental role.

Ferguson said the new NAS and NAS Pro lines are based on a different design mentality, which reflect what Seagate sees as a move from what was allegedly the “Post-PC era” to the “PC Plus era.” By PC Plus, Ferguson said the new devices aren’t replacing people’s PCs and laptops, but are adding to them. Moreover, in this world of expanded tech portfolios, people want to be able to access all their content on all their devices.

“To deal with this PC Plus demand, we aren’t simply trying to improve on the core features of NAS, but also to allow users collaborate and access content outside the office,” he said.

One way the new NAS lines address this is that everything – drives, software and hardware – are all now made in-house by Seagate.

“This is a ready-made solution for collaboration, with the drives, hardware and software all made by us and working together,” Ferguson said. “In the past we outsourced everything except the drives. Our theme here is ‘working together works better,’ and that’s a strong message for a small business owner.” Seagate is also stressing the reliability message, that they use high quality NAS HDD drives in their product, while some competitors ship desktop drives.

Remote access is also new to Seagate’s NAS products with the new line. Seagate NAS and NAS Pro provide secure access to files by creating a private cloud on the NAS, with remote access to files through Seagate Sdrive software, which is part of OS 4. The files are fully accessible remotely through free mobile apps from smartphones and tablets.

“The Sdrive isn’t for the creation of content, but being able to view it from any device.” Ferguson said. “We have also worked hard to make its use very simple, so when it pops up, it’s just like another drive.”

NAS OS 4 also adds a new App Manager function.

“App Manager can add Seagate or third party apps based on the user’s needs,” Ferguson said. Both the Seagate NAS and NAS Pro will come equipped with five essential apps at launch, with more to be added in the future.  The Seagate ones are Seagate Antivirus, and Seagate Surveillance Manager, for IP cameras. The third party ones are: free open-source publishing platform WordPress; Own Cloud, which provides universal access to one’s files through the web, a computer or mobile devices from outside the network; and BitTorrent Sync, a tool to enable secure synching and sharing of unlimited files and folders across all trusted devices.

The OS functionality is the same in both the Seagate NAS and NAS Pro lines. The main difference between the lines is the processors. The Seagate NAS has a Marvel Dual core 1.2GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, and is designed for SOHOs with up to 25 employees.

The Seagate NAS Pro has an upgraded processor, Intel’s new dual-core 1.7GHz C2000 Series processor, which is designed to perform well in multi-user and multi-dimensional environments. It delivers enough bandwidth to support fast and frequent file sharing between employees, as well as multiple applications running simultaneously. The Seagate NAS Pro range has 2GB of RAM, and is targeted at small office environments of up to 50 employees.

“The new Intel dual-core Intel processor, is a real differentiator, since it is so new,” Ferguson said. “Their testing shows its 12% faster than the 2.13. Even though the 2.13 has a higher clock speed, the performance isn’t as great.”

All the models ship in five different SKUs, from diskless to fully populated.

“It seems odd for a drive company to ship systems without drives, but we know that’s a VAR play, that many like to pick their own drives,” Ferguson said. “60% of the market ships without drives.”

Seagate NAS lists from $USD 299.99 for the two-bay 2TB to $649.99 USD for the two-bay 10TB version. The four-bay configuration ranges from an MSRP of $599 for 4TB to 1,499.99 for 20TB.

The Seagate NAS Pro pricing ranges from 2TB for an MSRP of $USD 399.99 to 30TB capacities for $2499.99 in the 6-bay model.