Seagate aims to make a splash in small-business NAS by announcing 5 new products

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By Michael Brown, PC World | July 15, 2014

Hard-drive manufacturer introduces 2-, 4-, and 6-bay NAS boxes with up to 30TB of storage.

Seagate announced five all-new network-attached storage (NAS) boxes today–the biggest product launch the company has ever mounted in this space, according to a company spokesperson. Seagate is targeting the home office denizen and small businesses with up to 50 employees, offering boxes that deliver up to 30TB of capacity.

“The industry is moving from the “post PC” era to the “PC plus” era, Seagate product manager Patrick Ferguson told me in an embargoed briefing last week. “Business users realize they like tablets for email and on-the-go access, but they need the horsepower of a laptop or more for content creation. So they’re adding to their ecosystem, rather than replacing their laptop with a tablet or smartphone. And they need to access their data quickly and efficiently from anywhere at any time.”

Ferguson said all five of the new systems–plus two rack-mount products the company announced last fall–will use the same Seagate-developed operating system: NAS OS 4. The two new Seagate NAS products are two- and four-bay boxes designed for SOHO (small office/home office) users and businesses with 1 to 25 employees. “These are very easy to set up,” said Ferguson. If you can set up email, you can set up a Seagate NAS. You don’t need an IT manager to install or maintain these systems.” Seagate NAS systems will be powered by a dual-core Marvell CPU and 512MB of memory. They come in diskless configurations starting at $169 and top out with 10TB of storage for $699.

Seagate’s three new Seagate NAS Pro boxes come in 2-, 4- and 6-bay configurations and are aimed at small businesses with up to 50 employees–but here again, the products anticipate businesses without IT departments. These higher-end boxes will run on dual-core Intel Atom C2000-series processors and 2GB of memory. They come in diskless configurations starting at $349 and top out at a 30TB model (six 5TB drives) priced at $2500.

“The NAS Pro line can take on heavier workloads,” Ferguson said. “They’re designed for creative professionals, such as video agencies. With dual gigabit Ethernet ports that support link aggregation, they can support Internet connection speeds of up to 200Mbps, eliminating the need to run fiber.”

All five products will include support for Seagate’s App Manager (for installing add-on applications from Seagate and certified third parties) and Seagate’s Sdrive (a utility for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices that enables the NAS to appear as an attached drive, even when you’re accessing the NAS from the Internet).

“You can use Sdrive over your local network or over the Internet,” Ferguson said. “It’s like having a private cloud inside your office that you don’t have to pay for again and again.” To ensure your files are secure in transit over the Internet, Sdrive encrypts the file before sending it over the network and decrypts the file when you open it.

“No one in this industry has been able to create everything themselves,” said Ferguson. “Seagate builds the drives, the chassis, and the software. Because everything is done in house, we can offer a three-year warranty.”

The new Seagate NAS and Seagate NAS Pro boxes are available now, but Seagate’s 5TB NAS drives–needed to achieve the highest storage densities–won’t be available until sometime in August.