With the growing popularity of cloud-based storage solutions, such as the Amazon S3 and Nirvanix services, many businesses--both large and small--are eschewing traditional onsite file servers, and instead opting for offsite, third-party storage solutions. But the ongoing cost of maintaining cloud-based storage as well as the often unproven reliability of it makes it a less than ideal solution for some businesses; and this leaves those businesses with the conundrum of how to store and serve files, provide safe backups, and enable remote access, without breaking the bank.
For such businesses, maintaining an onsite Network-Attached Storage (NAS) solution is often the best answer. NAS devices are much less expensive to own and maintain than traditional file servers, and are often much easier to manage--sometimes even requiring very little networking knowhow. Business-level NAS devices typically differ from consumer-level devices (which are meant for home networking environments) in that they often offer greater data reliability in the form of RAID, and they sometimes even offer data encryption options to keep your files safe from prying eyes.
One such NAS device that is geared for small-businesses is the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440. The 440 is a four-bay NAS device that comes with four, user-serviceable, internal SATA drives, which can be configured as RAID 0, 1, 5, or 10 arrays, or as JBOD (just a bunch of disks). Depending on which RAID mode is being used, drives can be swapped out without needing to shutdown the device--commonly referred to as hot-swapping. The 440 also includes a total of four USB 2.0 ports, which can accommodate additional storage in the form of external hard drives or for attaching a USB-based printer to make the printer accessible to users over a local network. Another feature of the 440 is that it includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports for port-failover or aggregation.
Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440 NAS Device Review