Are you up for looking what is NAS SSD and the most common uses of Network Attached Storage? You are at the right place to know the answer of this question.
NAS storage systems are increasingly in demand, both by home users and small businesses. These offer security, malleability, scalability and good performance to store the most important files. We will see why it is interesting to install SSD drives in a NAS.
What is NAS SSD
It is a storage system connected to a network that allows large amounts of information to be stored. A NAS (Network Attached Storage) would physically be a box to which we connect hard drives.
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NAS allow different configurations for the installed hard drives, depending on the needs. They are usually configured to generate a backup of the stored information.
When we talk about NAS systems, we talk about devices that connect to a local network via Ethernet.
These can also be accessible from outside the network, as long as we have them properly configured.
There are variations of this type of systems that lack an Ethernet connection and opt for USB or Thunderbolt connections, but are called DAS (Direct Attached Storage).
Usually the simplest NAS solutions on the market have two bays for storage drives. The more “professional” versions usually have four or more bays.
Occasionally they allow the installation of M.2 SSD drives to perform cache functions and the installation of expansion cards.
What we should know about SSDs for a NAS
Solid state storage drives are already common in laptops, desktops, Smartphones, etc. The incursion of SSDs in the NAS market for the home and small business sector is very limited. Let’s see the reasons why they are rarely used for NAS storage.
They have a finite durability
The main problem with SSDs is their limitation in terms of TBW (terabytes written). TBW tells us how many Terabytes can be written to an SSD.
For the average user, this parameter is not very relevant, since normally they will write 50-100GB/day.
The TBW limitation is critical for NAS drives. The reason is that we can perform a large number of writes per day, especially if we work with large files.
For example: If every day we write 1TB of information on the NAS because we use it to store 4K video and our unit offers 300TBW, this means that in less than 1 year we would have reached the figure set by the manufacturer.
Although the TBW are marked below what these units support, an SSD that lasts us a year is not very profitable. Due to the short durability of SSDs, HDDs are still used.
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Although if we are not going to make excessively intensive use and we want it for backup copies, we can use SSD drives.
SSD drives have a problem: the price. The larger the capacity of the drive is, the higher the price will be. A 4TB SSD can cost $400-500, while a 4TB HDD ranges from $100-150. As we can see, for the same capacity, it is more expensive to buy a mechanical hard drive.
We have seen how SSDs have increased in capacity and prices have been falling, but they are still prohibitively expensive. This is another reason why SSDs are still not commonly used in NAS storage systems.
Silent and efficient
Building a NAS system with SSDs has some advantages over HDDs. The first one is that SSDs are very quiet, come on, they do not emit any noise as they lack moving parts.
They also do not generate vibrations, precisely because they do not have moving parts such as HDDs.
Another strong point of SSDs lies in the energy efficiency of these units. HDDs have mechanical parts that have high consumption, even at rest. An SSD eliminates a large part of these consumptions in operation and at rest these units have really small consumptions.
Are there specific SSDs for NAS?
The truth is yes, Seagate offers IronWolf SSDs and Western Digital offers Red SSDs, both of which are NAS-specific.
Both Seagate and Western Digital have long experience in the NAS storage drive market with their dedicated HDD ranges.
These units are characterized by specifically designed NAND Flash memory chips. The chips are designed to withstand a large number of read and write cycles.
Western Digital Blue 500GB SSD drives support 200TBW. A WD Red of the same capacity supports 350TBW and a 480GB Seagate IronWolf supports 560TBW.
We can see the big difference between the usual drives for the average user and these specialized drives for NAS.
Uses of NAS SSD (Network Attached Storage)
Actually NAS systems are mounted with mechanical hard drives (HDD) not with SSD drives. The reason is that HDDs have higher capacities for a lower price.
The problem with mechanical hard drives lies in their slowness as they make use of moving parts that slow down the reading and writing of data. To partially solve it, SSD drives are used that perform the cache function.
Many NAS devices come with one or two slots for installing M.2 PCIe SSDs. What these units do is a cache function, allowing an increase in performance that HDD units would normally give.
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The information is written to the M.2 PCIe SSDs and then distributed to the mechanical storage units.
To perform the cache function of an M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD, any storage unit on the market is valid. Currently NAS only support M.2 PCIe 3.0, so installing an M.2 PCIe 4.0 would be pointless as it would be spending extra money for nothing.
There are specific SSD units for NAS, but due to their high cost and the writing limitations of SSDs, it is not the best option. By far the best way to use S SD drives in a NAS system is to implement them as a cache.
We will not get the same performance as mounting a system based on SSD drives, but we will get great performance.
The most important thing, if we are going to mount a NAS with SSD drives, is that they have as large a TBW as possible and have a good backup design.
Most NAS offer RAID 1, 5, 50, 100 configurations, which will allow you to back up your data if a drive fails.
Although we must always bear in mind that a good data backup configuration does not mean that we will not lose it. There could be data recovery problems or multiple drives failing at the same time.
Zahid Khan Jadoon is an Interior Decorator, Designer and a specialized Chef and loves to write about home appliances and food. Right now he is running his interior designing business along with a managing a restaurant. Also in his spare time he loves to write about home and kitchen appliances.