More Capacity, Less Cost
Operating systems arent the only things that have changed in the NAS world. Competition and the declining cost of hardware components in this growing market have brought prices down significantly. The entry-level solutions weve reviewed in this story cost less than $5,000 and offer at least 480GB of RAID 5 storage and a Gigabit Ethernet interface. When we looked at NAS devices last year ("Whats in Storage For You?" April 2001), those offering the same interface options and capacities were considered midrange rather than low-end and cost about $20,000 or more.
Advances in hard drive technologies also have made it possible to build NAS devices in a 1U rack–mountable form factor and still meet or exceed 480GB in only four hard drives. Fast-ATA IDE hard drives are available in both 5400- and 7200-rpm speeds, at capacities up to 160GB. And though high-end NAS devices use hardware RAID controllers, the entry-level boxes make do with software RAID, which is free with the operating system.